Kimberly Arnold-Robinson finally checks an MBA off her bucket list without compromising her family and career values
When Kimberly Arnold-Robinson accompanied her son to a career fair in 2019, she found herself networking with Mathew Jacobson, founder of the Ducere Global Business School. Ironically, she was the one who left with a life-changing opportunity, as she decided to enroll in Ducere’s MBA program with the University of Wales.
According to Kimberly, her dedication to her family has always come first. Though going back to school for her MBA had been on her bucket list, she was unsure when she would be able to check it off because of her busy schedule and financial obligations.
Nearing her seventh year as an Independent Sales Development Specialist, volunteering her time as a cheer director for her daughter’s team and caring for her five children and grandson, kept her on her toes.
Time to put herself first
Prior to enrolling in Ducere, Kimberly graduated in 1996 from Vanguard University of Southern California with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Two decades later, she found herself returning to school for a certificate in Internet Marketing from the University of California, Irvine in 2015.
“The MBA was always on the ‘to do’ list after my undergrad but life got busy,” she says. She got married, had her son, got divorced and during this time was focused on making money to support her and her son.
Since then, not only has her family dynamic dramatically shifted, but so has the goal driving her through her first year with Ducere. Though she is still just as determined, her values are different. “The MBA in the early part of my life was money- and career-driven. Now, it's to invest in who I am as a person,” she says.
Kimberly shared that she had put her career on pause in the past in order to raise her family. “When I had twins it was, ‘Do I have my VP career, hire a nanny and continue to travel around the world, or do I put aside a six-figure career to raise my kids? I chose the mom path.”
Selecting an MBA that met her needs
However, by going back to school, she was not completely setting aside family life and her professional career. This is why she ultimately chose Ducere over the two other MBA programs she got accepted into— Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University.
Kimberly pointed out that although not as well known, it doesn’t mean that Ducere is not challenging.
Each week, Kimberly finds time to balance her studies with her family’s needs and her own wellness. She starts her mornings in her garden with coffee before heading to her home office. In between work for her job and Ducere, she helps with her children’s extracurricular activities by driving them and volunteering as the cheer director.
Though devoting her time to all her roles can be difficult, Kimberly says she is able to work whenever is best for her. Additionally, she was able to apply her work with Ducere to other aspects of her career.
Specifically, Kimberly notes how her classes helped her catalyze organizational change in her workplace. “I was unhappy with my current work environment, but I didn’t know how to define it. With Ducere, I was able to really identify it and move forward with how to approach that job,” she says.
Networking around the globe from home
Other than her ability to maintain her family and career, Kimberly says Ducere suits other characteristics of her lifestyle. “Ducere is smaller and there was obviously a lot going on with my family. I also liked the idea that it was a global program because that was the environment I was working in with global sales so it seemed like a natural progression,” she says.
The diverse interactions are Kimberly's favorite part of the program. “I love the people. I am a people person,” she says.
“I get amazing insight from people around the world. I am convinced that one of my cohorts, Kevin, is my brother from another mother. You have similar experiences, but everybody's outcome will be a little different and to be aware of that is a huge skill and a huge advantage. Being open to possibilities and diverse viewpoints will make you a stronger leader,” Kimberly says.
When she graduates in 2022, Kimberly might get to meet her foreign cohorts in person. “I am not sure the UK will be open, but if so, that means I get to walk in Wales for graduation. It will be my graduation present to myself,” she says.
And the best present of all? Her kids will be there too. “Everyone around me is so proud and wants to be there in Wales when I graduate. It warms my heart that I have that support from my kids,” Kimberly says.
One of her supporters is her eldest son who she took to the career fair. Kimberly says that she had tried to convince him to do the MBA program with her when she applied though he ultimately decided it wasn’t the right time. However, a year later, after witnessing his mom go after her goal, he is inspired to do the same. According to Kimberly, Ducere should be expecting her son in the coming years.