London Tawfik in a grad cap and gown pose with her daughter and husband
London Tawfik with her daughter, Elise, and husband, Morad, at her Executive MBA commencement ceremony.

Mastering motherhood and an MBA

When London Tawfik (Executive MBA ’18) was searching for an MBA program, she was interested in finding one that encouraged teamwork among students, provided a great return on investment, and offered flexibility so she could continue her job in test engineering and automation.

After looking at programs in the Tampa area where she lives, she ultimately decided the UF Executive MBA program in Gainesville was the right choice for her. It wasn’t until after her orientation that she would realize how important the manageability the once-a-month weekend class schedule would be.

“I found out I was pregnant after my EMBA orientation, and my husband was on his way to Afghanistan for the next four months,” she said.

After completing the first term of the program, alone at home in her first sickly trimester and working full-time, London decided she needed to hit pause on the UF MBA program.

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, the daughter of immigrants originally from Laos, and the youngest of four brothers and a sister, London’s determination pushed her to quickly return to pursuing her Executive MBA at the University of Florida.

“I re-joined the program where I left off the following year,” she said. “I only took seven months off from school between being pregnant and having the baby!”

While London admits it was still a challenge to continue with school while also being a new mother and working full-time, she credits her strong support system for helping her make it through.

“Oh, the struggle was real!” she said with a laugh. “Juggling so many hats, I was only good at tiredly wearing one of them a day. Having a strong support system was what really helped me, my husband mainly and occasionally asking friends and family to help with the baby.”

London said that giving herself a schedule, actively managing her non-work hours, and taking things one day at a time allowed her to balance everything going on in her life.

“My priorities were set per day,” she said. “If I didn’t accomplish them, then it rolled into the next day, or late nights, until it was completed.”

London Tawfik

London, Elise and Morad.

After months of a rigorous schedule, on April 15, 2018 London walked across the commencement stage, officially having completed the 20-month UF Executive MBA program and just one day after her daughter Elise’s second birthday.

While she’s proud of her accomplishment, London said completing the UF Executive MBA program feels bitter-sweet.

“I’m totally relieved it’s done, but at the same time, I will miss seeing my team and classmates every month. You really do develop friendships for life in this program.

“For me, this is a great goal. I always wanted to continue higher learning, to improve myself professionally but also its something my daughter can look up to as well. I need to be at my best before I can be the best for her.”

Having successfully completed her goal of obtaining an MBA and doing so while working full-time and raising her daughter with her husband, Morad, London had this advice for other women with similar lifestyles who might be considering an MBA.

“If this is something you really want, make it your priority and everything and everyone will support you through this journey,” she said. “And it’s okay to ask for help. You will get it and you will get it done. Men don’t have this problem, why should you?”

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Warrington College of Business celebrates all of the mothers among its students, alumni, faculty and staff.

For those interested in an MBA from the University of Florida, request information about program options and discover the one that’s right for you.