Daniel Hunt and his wife and two daughter sit in a field for a family photo.
Daniel Hunt with his wife, Adrijana (MBA '18), and their daughters, Hailey and Audrey.

MBA: Master of Business Administration or Master of the Balancing Act?

By Daniel Hunt, MBA ’20, Vice President at Hunt Bros. Cooperative

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and especially to those who have decided to bite the bullet and tackle the MBA and fatherhood simultaneously. It can be done, albeit with some sacrifices, as students both male and female seem to be pairing parenthood with the rigors of business school more and more these days.

For me, there are four reasons that make being an MBA Dad a no-brainer…

1. Fulfillment of higher order motivation
As a fourth generation Florida Gator and fourth generation Florida Citrus grower, it is my long-term goal to become an officer of my family’s business. Current leadership is approaching retirement age and it is critical for me to prepare now for the transition. With a BS in Industrial & Systems Engineering, I currently manage our fresh citrus packinghouse; selling oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines to retailers in the eastern U.S. and as far off as Japan and Taiwan. It is my expectation that an Executive MBA from UF will equip me with the tools necessary to sustain and grow the company my great-grandfather built.

2. The instant support group
The nice thing about the Executive MBA program is that there are lots of other dads and moms in your cohort. This commonality provides an immediate connection point as we can empathize on the unique challenges of juggling kids, work and school. In addition, UF has done a great job of selecting students.  Everyone has such an impressive background and has been a delight to get to know. It is my hope to stay in touch with many of them long term.

3. The reminder to maintain an attitude of gratitude
Getting an MBA is a big undertaking for any student, especially for one with a family at home. The increased share of time spent on school fundamentally requires a smaller share of time at home, work, etc. Subsequently, your family, and potentially even coworkers, are often the ones picking up your slack. Before I became an MBA Dad, I was an MBA Spouse. In this role I took on much of the parenting and household duties to support my wife in her pursuit of an Executive MBA. Some weeks were tougher than others, and I wasn’t entirely certain we could do it another two years, but her fondness for the program and encouragement inspired me to enroll last fall. I am glad I did!

There have been some tough choices made, like missing events for my daughters due to date conflicts or having to hire a lawn service just to keep up (wishing I had done this years ago!). The important thing to remember is to always keep an attitude of gratitude. While it may be your name on the diploma, the pride felt in this accomplishment will be shared by so many around you who have sacrificed and contributed in their own ways to help you achieve success.

4. The opportunity to practice what you preach
As parents, we want our children to embrace their current opportunity for education and to recognize the value that continuous education will have on their lives – no matter the age. Our motto is, if you’re not learning, you will be left behind. Seeing Dad go back to school (in addition to their mom) has made a lasting impression on our two daughters, Hailey, 12, and Audrey, 10. From this experience, I hope they will always remember that homework is not just for kids, backpacks are cool at every age and we absolutely are never too old to learn.

To conclude, Happy Father’s Day to all my Dad classmates and to all those considering a return to the classroom. I hope I am not alone in saying an MBA is a lot to take on, but anything worth doing typically is.

Ready to take on your MBA? Request information about UF MBA today to get started.