• The children of incoming MIT LGO graduate student Nathan McMullin — Grace (10), Anderson (7), Gibson (5) and Lilla (2) — form the letters

    The children of incoming MIT LGO graduate student Nathan McMullin — Grace (10), Anderson (7), Gibson (5) and Lilla (2) — form the letters "MIT" outside their home in Arizona.

    Photo courtesy of Nathan McMullin

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With help from LGO community, new parents juggle work and family life

The children of incoming MIT LGO graduate student Nathan McMullin — Grace (10), Anderson (7), Gibson (5) and Lilla (2) — form the letters "MIT" outside their home in Arizona.


Several students and family members in the MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program took on some extra time commitments in 2012-13 — a year that saw a bumper crop of babies born to LGO students.

"The baby has made me very deliberate in planning my class schedule and study time. I have so many new responsibilities now that I really have force myself to take the time out to study and do homework when I really just want to play with my daughter," says Matt Schlanser LGO '13, whose wife Tracy gave birth to their daughter, Evelyn Cate Schlanser, on Nov. 2, 2012.

Even before settling into a semblance of a schedule in caring for a newborn, some parents first had to grapple with unexpected arrival times. "Noah came two weeks early, which was great because he was due the first day of classes, so we weren't as ready or prepared as we would have liked to be. We ended up going to Babies R Us while I was in labor to buy a car seat," says Ashleigh Range LGO '13, whose baby was born on Jan. 25, 2013.

In a display of true dedication to LGO as well as good personal-energy forecasting ability, Range also took some time while in labor to speak on the phone with an INFORMS committee in support of LGO's bid to win the prestigious UPS George Smith Award. "I figured I would do a better job then than the following week with no sleep," she jokes. She went on to give her Knowledge Review presentation about her internship five days after giving birth and didn't even have to miss any classes due to Noah’s early arrival.

Planning ahead also came in handy for Seth White LGO '13 and his wife Kimberly, who was due to have their second child a few days after Midstream Review in October 2013. Rather than return to campus from his internship for the event, Seth participated via Skype from Thousand Oaks, Calif., where he was doing his internship project at Amgen.

"As it turned out, the day I presented remotely, my wife went into labor that evening and had our son the next morning at 2:38 a.m.," White says. "Without the extensive commitment LGO makes to its students, I would have definitively missed my son's birth, something that I would have never forgiven myself for."

Elisa Guasch was another off-campus arrival; she was born on Sept. 5, 2013, "right in the middle of my internship at Amazon in Seattle," says David Guasch Rodriguez LGO '13. "My wife went into labor while I was at work, so I had to run to the hospital, where we met right as she was being admitted. We lived two blocks away from the hospital, so she walked there."

The Schlanser’s baby had slightly better timing. "Luckily Evelyn waited to come until the end of recruiting week after I had finished about a dozen partner company interviews," Matt Schlanser says.

Erick Corona LGO '13 and his wife Liseth had a little more prep time — they arrived on campus in June 2011 when their daughter Analisse was 11 months old. "LGO as a parent is very doable — it forces you to prioritize to a higher level and degree. And yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat!" he says.

Not everyone who had babies last year were first-time parents, however. "With one child, I was still able to readily focus on school and have time for extracurricular activities and peer events," White says. "Now having two children (their older child was three when Liam was born on Oct. 4, 2012), it's quite a bit more intensive to balance such activities."

White, like the other LGO parents, was grateful for the LGO community's support at a hectic time. "Amgen and LGO were very accommodating, allowing me to start early and extend my internship as needed. My internship advisors provided a lot of mentorship and support early on during the internship so I was able to make up for planned 'lost time.' Also, the program was extremely flexible with various deliverables and on-campus activities," he says.

Undoubtedly taking the prize for the busiest LGO parents in 2012-13 are Tom Sanderson LGO '14 and his wife Carson — Cara, their fourth child, was born on March 4. Ironically, Tom's work/life balance wasn't greatly affected, at least not right away.

"We already had a pretty solid routine down with the other three. Infants are easy — they sleep a lot and stay where you put them. It's toddlers that you have to really watch out for, so in about another nine months or so, things will get more complicated," he says.

Cara's siblings are Daniel (7), Riley (5) and Audrey (3). "Cara's brothers and sisters love her to pieces and really try to help out, which is also a big benefit," Sanderson says. Making time for his family means skipping evening events away from home unless they're mandatory, and he and Carson give each other one night a week when one of them can go out while the other watches the kids.

"She often goes to the local coffee shop or out with the LGO SOs while I usually reserve my 'evening pass' for C-functions or ProSem dinners," Sanderson says. "I also try to get to LGO every day at 8:30 a.m. whether I've got class or not so I can get work done during the day. That helps make sure I don't have to do work when I'm at home while the kids are awake. After 8:30 p.m., it's ‘mommy and daddy time,’ which usually means homework and reading for me."

The Sandersons will probably have to yield the award for busiest LGO parents now that the McMullin family has joined the LGO community. Nathan McMullin LGO '15 and his wife Kristi already have four children ranging in age from two to 10 — and they already know how to collectively form the letters "MIT," which they did for the camera behind their house in Vail, Ariz., a few weeks before the family's move to Cambridge.

As they were preparing to pack up for the move, the McMullins decided to take some family photos, "and I realized that four kids is the perfect number to spell 'MIT'," Nathan says. "I was excited because it seemed like a fun way to engage the kids in our MIT adventure." He gathered the children around the computer to look at examples of other human "MIT" formations and then photographed them in the Sonoran desert behind their house.

As Hillary Rodham Clinton noted, "it takes a village," and LGOs are a tight-knit village.

"It's been a crazy semester, but I've received a ton of support from both the first- and second-year LGOs as well as my family," Ashleigh Range says. "It's because of the community supporting me that I was able to have a baby, finish my thesis, and graduate this semester. I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to come to LGO and start a family and I didn't have to choose between the two."


Topics: Graduate, postdoctoral, Leaders for Global Operations (LGO), Students, Work and family life

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