Lai “Laura” Zhang - MBA Class of 2015, Marketing and Business Analytics major
|Laura with her sons|
Laura, mother of a 16-year-old and a 6-year-old, began her MBA this year with the support of her parents who moved to Bloomington with her. The decision to pursue MBA was not only a commitment for Laura herself but also one for her parents. To support Laura pursue her dreams, her parents followed her to Bloomington moving from the 13-million-population metropolitan city of Guangzhou, China.
Laura and her family found Bloomington to have two virtues -the serenity of a college town and the convenience of a larger city. Having always lived in a big city, Laura’s parents were pleasantly amazed by the quietness of Bloomington but found that they never had to compromise on nice shopping locations, comforts that reminded them of home (two Chinese specialty supermarkets and readily available Chinese-language magazines), and most importantly a very welcoming community; they were invited to the community needlework group where they met several like-minded individuals. Her parents were almost never home-sick and lonely as they had a pretty active social life and they helped Laura take good care of the kids so she could concentrate on her MBA. Laura’s sons quickly adapted to the new environment and enjoyed MBA family-friendly events such as tailgates, MBA Cohort War, Business Marketing Academy Christmas Parties, and more; these events enabled the boys to meet and befriend other MBA kids. But what was more important for the boys was building a diverse outlook by witnessing their mom's classmates who came from very different backgrounds and ethnicity.
Laura found excellent services provided by the city, the community, and the K-12 schooling here in Bloomington. She seldom worried about her family members and was able to focus on her own MBA priorities. Her MBA classmates' and staff’s support and care was crucial throughout her first year at Kelley!
Laura recalls that her team members have been very understanding of her family situation and have been ever so eager to accommodate and work around her family commitments. It has become a no-questions-asked team ground rule of which Laura is extremely appreciative. When Laura’s parent role takes precedence (things such as attending “Halloween Parade” at her younger son’s class) and she has to miss a group discussion, her team mates proactively back her up and divide tasks in such a way that she is able to contribute offline during flexible time-slots. Gale Gold Nichols, MBA Director of Student Service and Global Program, has voluntarily asked Laura how her family has settled in Bloomington and has introduced Laura to other Kelley Moms.
Laura is very appreciative of all the help she has received from her Kelley family!