It was in late 2012 when Sanil (my husband) was accepted to Kellogg’s full-time program. We were overjoyed that his hard work had paid off and his dream to achieve a master’s degree from one of the world’s best business school appeared more of a reality. Secretly, I was apprehensive to undertake the ordeal of a student life with two little kids.
Despite all hesitation, he accepted the offer, and before we knew it we were on a flight to Evanston from Abu Dhabi.
Our initial days were spent exploring the neighborhood and enrolling the kids in preschool. Evanston has many choices when it comes to preschools and daycare, providing something that fits most people’s needs.
Soon after, as I glanced over Sanil’s schedule for the CIM (orientation) week, he handed me one of my own. It listed a number of activities specifically marked out for me, the spouse, or in Kellogg language, the ‘Joint Venture (JV).’ It included a host of activities from JV orientation to fun stuff like pottery, painting and cocktail socials. Additionally, by being a Kellogg Mom, I was welcomed by the Kellogg Kids Club, a group that had its own activities like ice cream socials, playground play dates, pizza Fridays and other events for incoming families.
Kellogg had it all planned out, ensuring full inclusion for families.
As a JV, you have certain privileges, like an opportunity to audit classes — even the highly desired ones that can be difficult for your student to enroll in. You can attend a number of educational and entertainment events at Kellogg. Many JVs also enroll in short skills courses at Northwestern, such as baking, wine tasting, playing musical instruments, etc. For those seeking more involvement in the community, JVs have the opportunity to hold leadership positions in most non-career clubs, and JVs also have the chance to participate in performance events like ‘Bollywood Bash’ and ‘Special K.’
As a mother, involvement in my children’s learning was important to me. I took up a key position in the governing board of my son’s preschool. This helped us connect with families outside of Kellogg and increased our engagement with the local community. Evanston is a great place to raise a young family. The city has a fabulous public library a short walk from campus, beautiful playgrounds in close proximity and several park district locations with a range of activities to choose from. For example, my kids enjoy learning swimming at our local YMCA, ballet and gymnastics at the park district, and Bollywood dance and Spanish at other private establishments.
With graduation so close, as I reflect on the past two years, I am actually sad to be leaving behind the moments we have had here and the friendships we have nurtured. As we begin a new chapter in our lives, I can confidently say our experience at Kellogg has been very fulfilling.
For families that share our apprehensions about going back to school with children in tow, clearly there are adjustments to make. The support structure at Kellogg, however, makes it an enriching experience for the whole family.
Rashmi Juneja takes care of her husband and two children in Evanston. Prior to coming to the U.S., Rashmi held multiple managerial positions in sales and marketing with P&G in Europe and Asia. Rashmi is a graduate of the State University of New York. Her husband attends Kellogg’s Full Time Two-Year MBA program.