A Manager Mom's Very Busy Day

This Boston MBA's typical day involves meetings, planning for presentations, and keeping an eye on the day-care pickup schedule

I am the vice-president of media operations for 360i, a Search Informed Marketing company. We serve as a strategic adviser to companies such as Google (GOOG), Yahoo! Search Marketing (YHOO), and MSN (MSFT). Based in Atlanta, I oversee media operations across all of my company's offices, which currently include New York and Atlanta. At 360i, we analyze Internet and multimedia users' search behavior. From there, strategic advisers or teams develop customized online marketing campaigns for clients.

As vice-president of media services, I manage the growth and expansion of 360i's media department, overseeing a team of 25 people. I ensure that search engine marketing strategies are flawlessly executed for clients. I lead the integration of search strategies with online display advertising. I assess new opportunities and ensure efficiency and quality control in my unit.

I did not originally intend to pursue an MBA on a full-time basis. But when I learned of Boston University's MS MBA program, where I could gain both an MS in information systems and an MBA in two years, it was hard to resist. I never wanted to be a chief technology officer or any role like that. I pursued the MS in info systems because I needed to speak more intelligently about technology in marketing and operations. This joint degree is more for business professionals who need to be more fluent in technology, just as technology professionals need to know about business.

Tech and Business Savvy

Experience had taught me a lot about running a department and managing people. However, when words like "database," "data warehouse," or (this is embarrassing…) "Ethernet" came up, I let others do the talking. Then I'd sit back and, well, not listen. Remember how all the adults sounded on the Peanuts cartoons? That's what the conversations sounded like to me. And I was a manager at a digital marketing firm!

From earning my MS, I gained the confidence to have intelligent conversations about the technology that is a driving force behind marketing initiatives today. The MBA training provided me with the theory to make better business decisions. Before the MBA, I could tell you what worked based on my experience. Today, I can tell you why things work.

MBA students often look for a big jump in job responsibilities after earning their degrees. Although this is possible for many, students should not underestimate the value of their MBA after they've landed their post-MBA job. My MBA training continues to pay off every time I approach a problem.

Here's a sample of my typical workday:

6:50 a.m.—Alarm goes off. I used to be able to get ready in 45 minutes—including breakfast. But with a 2-year-old who attends day care and who may have a tantrum over getting dressed, putting on shoes, or leaving the breakfast table, I've learned to leave LOTS of extra time (see BusinessWeek.com, 5/11/06, "Return of the MBA Mom").

8:30 a.m.—My husband, Michael, drops off Zoe at day care, and I'll pick her up tonight. I clean up the disaster of Cheerios left in the kitchen and head to work. I'm at the office in less than 10 minutes. We chose to live close to work because we both have jobs that often require 50- to 60-hour weeks and time commuting is wasted time. I grab a cup of coffee and comb through a dozen e-mails that came in overnight. (We're all in the same time zone…don't these people sleep?)...

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