To say that Divinity Matovu (Wharton, ’17) has had a busy year would be an understatement. In addition to juggling a full courseload, extracurricular activities, recruiting, and raising her son and daughter, Divinity finds time to run her company MBA Mama. Amidst all of her priorities, Divinity had time to talk to us about how she managed her long priority list and what she learned from her first year at Wharton.
MBASchooled: What’s the most important lesson you learned from your first year of business school?
Divinity: The most important lesson I learned this year centers on becoming better at time management. When people describe business school as “drinking from the fire hose,” it is completely true. I was so overwhelmed during my first semester trying to balance academics, recruiting, my social life with running MBA Mama and dedicating time to my children while also maintaining existing relationships. At the same time, I was meeting 10-20 phenomenal people per week in Wharton’s class of 850+. There were typically 3-4 items occupying the same time slot on my calendar. This was not sustainable.
I quickly learned that I needed to prioritize and start saying no to events, meetings, and opportunities that did not clearly align with my goals. Now, I have my calendar under control and have dubbed myself a time management queen. I make sure that I show up when I say I will and barring an emergency, I do not flake. I also ensure that mommy time goes uninterrupted and remains consistent so my daughter Nyah and my son Shafiq know they can count on me to be there for them.
MBASchooled: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Divinity: Losing my mother a few months before I started my first year of business school was a huge challenge. If I’m being honest, I am not sure that I’ve fully overcome it. I considered deferring my admission to Wharton because I was so thrown off my game when my mother passed. My mom was very young and her death was ruled a suicide which I have yet to fully accept as the truth. One year later, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the circumstances of her death.
This lack of closure has been very hard and it is not something I talk about often. I am thankful for my siblings, especially my sister Kamara who has been a source of support during this difficult time. This challenge taught me to always make sure I am actively engaging with my family and friends because you just never know what people are going through. I am still grieving but I know my mom was proud of my admission to Wharton and would be proud of my decision to push forward toward achieving my career goals.
MBASchooled: What was the most memorable or exciting experience from your first year at Wharton?
Divinity: My most exciting experience during my first year at Wharton was being a leader in a team of students who successfully lobbied Wharton’s administration for lactation rooms in our main business school building – Huntsman Hall. Mothers @ Wharton, a Wharton Women in Business initiative led the lactation room efforts. Mothers @ Wharton exists to increase the visibility of MBA moms, and help Wharton women with children and expecting mothers access resources to better navigate family and career planning during their time at Wharton and beyond.
We were joined by Out4Biz and PennNonCis who advocated for a gender neutral restroom in Huntsman Hall.
On April 19, 2016, Dean Geoff Garrett announced plans to update Wharton facilities to include four lactation suites in Huntsman Hall, the main business school building located at 3730 Walnut Street. An excerpt from the Dean’s statement is below:
The school is creating a lactation suite which will consist of four private rooms. The suite will be located on the first floor of Huntsman Hall, at the end of the main corridor, just past the undergraduate suite and to the right of the Wharton timeline. Renovations will occur over the summer, and we anticipate that it will be available at the start of the fall semester. Information about access to the suite and its full accommodations will be forthcoming.
The suite will be available only to Wharton faculty, staff, and students. Visitors who attend Wharton for conferences and other academic meetings may also request access through departmental sponsors.
Dean Garrett also confirmed that a space for the gender neutral restroom has been identified and more details about construction and timeline are forthcoming.
This is undoubtedly my most memorable and meaningful Wharton experience. It is so fulfilling to know that, in my 1st year at Wharton, I was a small part of something that will empower women at Wharton for decades to come.
MBASchooled: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?
Divinity: I would find a way to go on at least one of Wharton’s big group trips – maybe the ski trip to Breckenridge, CO or the student-led treks to places like Colombia or Japan. These trips are a great way to build relationships with classmates and I wish I had been intentional about allocating time and money to participating in at least one trip. It is definitely something I hope to do next year.
MBASchooled: What are you most looking forward to out of this summer?
Divinity: I am most excited about crowdfunding to raise $30,000 for my start-up, MBA Mama which is an online platform that helps ambitious women leverage an MBA and navigate family/career planning. My business partner, Nicole, and I are nervous and excited about this challenge, but we are also very committed to bringing an innovative childcare solution to market in the Fall. If MBA Schooled readers want to support us, they can visit mbamama.com for details about our crowdfunding campaign.
MBASchooled: What’s something you are looking forward to during your second year of business school?
Divinity: In my second year of b-school, I am looking forward to shaping key initiatives at Wharton through new leadership roles. I am the 2016-2017 Co-President of Wharton Impact Investing Partners, CTO for the Africa Student Association and Co-President of Mothers @ Wharton. In these roles, I’ll be able to do meaningful work that helps advance Wharton MBAs as thought leaders in the impact investing space, elevates the external brand of WASA and increases the visibility of Wharton MBA moms. These roles will also be a challenge for me as I am managing my peers and engaging with multiple stakeholders in some of Wharton’s most active student organizations. I look forward to the challenges and the rewards that will inevitably come my way.