Balancing Family and Education

The Executive MBA program at Goizueta works with students balancing an immense load. From work commitments, to family, to classwork EMBA hopefuls can face more than their share of stress.

To help preserve ties with family and friend, the program recently instituted a separate cohort just for its students’ partners.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), associate dean Steve Walton talked about the importance of sharing understanding about the workload and commitment required in an EMBA program.

Walton said the school wanted to lower stress, particularly that between couples, and increase patience from both parties. Activities for spouses and partners were added in January complete with orientation and other procedures designed for an entering EMBA student.

“The goal is to recreate a portion of what the students go through so they have a shared experience,” Walton told The Wall Street Journal.

The partners cohort continues to grow with new activities planned for the coming months.

Finding the Work-School-Life Balance

Stress Curve

The EMBA program uses a stress curve to show some of the particularly stressful points of the program. PHOTO: Emory University

As technology makes the world smaller and more things possible, time becomes a premium commodity.

Executive MBA students traditionally have demanding jobs. Throw in a family and the additional work required to get a degree (maybe 20-30 hours a week according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal) and there’s a recipe for intense stress.

“The intensity of the program — it’s almost like Marine Corps boot camp,” Goizueta’s Steve Walton told The Wall Street Journal. ” [Students] form an extremely close bond with their classmates… the program risks becoming a point of separation between two people who have dedicated their lives to each other.”

Walton, the Associate Dean of Executive MBA Programs, has worked with his staff to pay attention to family stresses that come from going back to school for a fast-paced degree program.

Families are given a  sample “stress curve” to show when to expect an up-tick in work and, perhaps, additional pressure.

And there’s help to making it work.

Goizueta instituted a “partners cohort” in January 2010 designed to let families into some of the course work and be involved in social aspects of the program.

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Will eReader Moves Pay Off?

Barnes & NobleEDITOR’S NOTE: This piece, formed by the Knowledge@Emory Staff, originally appeared here. For more on business news and faculty research, be sure to check out the Knowledge@Emory homepage.

Since 1971, when a young New York University dropout and textbook dealer named Leonard Riggio bought a venerable but sleepy college textbook store named Barnes & Noble, the company has often been at the cutting edge of bookselling: The first to offer discounts on best sellers in the US. The first to build a national brand out of what had been a local business. The first to sell books in a big box venue that offered more selection and lower prices than the competition. And the first bookstore chain in the US to think not only about price but also about ambiance, recognizing the advantages of promoting book-browsing as a leisure activity.

But after decades of remarkable growth, during which its 720 green-fronted superstores and 637 college bookstores have become a familiar part of the American landscape, Barnes & Noble faces two formidable challenges. First, more and more people are buying their books online, more often from Amazon than Barnes & Noble, and second, e-book reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad are taking millions of customers out of the market for physical books altogether.

“The store model is under pressure, whichever way you look at it,” the 69-year-old chairman of the New York company told reporters recently.

The most immediate danger is Amazon. The Internet giant claims to be “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” and not just in terms of volumes for sale but volumes sold. According to book sales statistics collected by Foner Books, more books are sold now on Amazon both in the US and abroad than by any other single outlet anywhere.

Foner Books’ statistics on the North American book market note that in 2009, Amazon’s media sales (including books, music, and DVDs) totaled $5.96 billion. By comparison, the big green machine sold $4.3 billion, plus $573 million online through Nor does the balance seem to be stabilizing. In media sales alone, Amazon’s North American sales have risen by an average of nearly 15 percent per year over the last 9 years, compared to about 3.12 percent for Barnes & Noble and 4.75 percent for (at least as of 2008). Internationally too, where Barnes & Noble is not active—and in fact doesn’t even sell e-books—Amazon media sales are growing even faster. In 2009 Amazon’s international media sales reached $6.81 billion.

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