Motherhood is just the start of a new chapter. Seems these young women are living it for sure! Of the 140 new entrants to the coveted PGPX course, 31 are women. Of them, three are young mothers with toddlers left behind in the care of in-laws and domestic help. This is possibly the highest number of young mothers with children under the age of two on campus.
In a country like India where marriage is a turning point in most women’s careers, the trio is leading by example. Ask Komal Agarwal, 29, to narrate her story and she says: “First it was all about getting married and then came along the pregnancy,” recalls the Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) resident. Determined, she however, did not stop the prep. So, when in 2020, she secured a place in the much sought after one-year executive MBA for professionals, it was time to rejoice. “Except that the very next day I discovered I was pregnant,” she adds. Finally, after a year, the new mother arrived at the IIM-A campus a fortnight ago to pursue her goal, leaving her son in the care of her in-laws.
“It has been only a fortnight and I do miss my son. I connect on video-calls because sometimes, I feel he’ll forget who I am!” she speaks honestly. Komal insists that her new innings owes to her in-laws and her own parents. “All have been extremely helpful in getting him back on track. From formula milk to sleeping with Grandma. My studies are my wish as much as it will empower me to secure his future. I want to strive towards a CTO job in a tech startup or establish something on my own,” shares the confident young mother.
Echoing similar sentiments, 33-year-old Sakshi Chadda shares: “In 2016, my husband enrolled in the same course. During that time, I was with him and had fallen in love with the university. As a result, it’s a sort of homecoming for me, but the roles have been reversed. For the time being, my husband looks after my one-and-a-half-year-old boy.”
The infant has been with his mother, from preparations to interviews, whether before or after the birth. She would adjust the schedule to accommodate her baby’s timetable, but it was the drive to learn more that kept her going. “I studied digital marketing and have worked in the sector for a long time. Following PGPX, I’d like to widen my horizons into marketing profiles,” is her clear-cut agenda.
The mothers also feel that the pandemic has been more of a boon, in terms of making practical decisions about what they wanted to accomplish in their personal and professional lives. “I got the time and energy needed to prepare for the GMAT and gain admission to the top business school,” Sakshi looks back at the good of staying indoors.
Prof Vishwanath Pingali, chairperson of MBA-PGPX at IIM-A, stated that over the years, family members such as spouses and siblings have attended the course together or separately. “Because the Institute provides family-friendly facilities to help students, the experience has always been enriching,” he underlines the amenities at IIM-A.
According to Pingali, the epidemic has led people across the board to reconsider their professional ambitions and the importance of upskilling. “Informal dialogues have also indicated that women’s careers are now viewed as an equal contributor to family income security. However, there is no precise data to back this claim,” he added.
According to PGPX authorities, the batch is diverse, ranging from a defence specialist to a startup entrepreneur and a farmer’s son to an architect.