How a Married Couple Are Pursuing Their Online MBAs in Japan
With two small children and Marine Corps life in Japan, Davidson and Lexi Venancio found the magic of time management and teamwork to pursue their MBAs.
If anyone had an excuse to delay their dream of earning an MBA, it would be Lexi and Davidson Venancio.
Lexi is a stay-at-home mom to their two children under two years old, with a third on the way. Davidson is the training and anti-terrorism force protection officer for a combat logistics regiment in the U.S. Marine Corps. Both are pursuing their MBAs through Baylor’s online MBA program. And they are doing it in Japan, where they are stationed, far from their home state of Texas.
“We really did not expect to be in Japan while pursuing our MBAs, but there never really is a perfect time to get your master’s,” Davidson said. “If we were going to wait for that perfect time, it just never would have come.”
Think Creatively and Take the Leap
Moving to Japan meant Lexi had to leave her job as an AVP in business initiatives at Wells Fargo Bank for regulatory reasons. She was disappointed, but it was during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown that the busy pair could sit still a bit longer to think through some life decisions. Both envisioned earning an MBA and decided, if not now, when?
“I remember sitting in quarantine and reading each other’s essays, both of us submitting our applications and laughing to each other saying, ‘Hey, are we really going to do this?’ and then clicking that submit button and checking diligently to see if we were accepted,” Lexi recalled.
They liked that Baylor is in their home state (where they hope to move back when possible) and a top-10 school for online MBAs. They remembered calling Baylor’s admissions office and speaking with an advisor who continued to guide them throughout the application.
“She helped us out so much,” Davidson said. “I cannot even imagine being here without her help.”
Using Time You Did Not Know You Had
The Venancios were well aware of the challenges going back to school would bring. Early on, they decided two things were essential to succeed: time management and mutual support.
“Time is our biggest asset. We never have time—the minutes are sparse,” Lexi said, adding they make the most of their time by providing a structured schedule for their children. “Using our time to our advantage and being efficient by using technology has been huge.”
Studying happens in tiny pockets and bigger chunks of time throughout the day. Lexi hits the books for an hour before the children wake up at six and when they are napping. Sitting down on Sunday to plan the week ahead also helps her slot-in study time. Davidson listens to lectures and assigned readings during his 45-minute commute. His schedule is often unpredictable—each day is different from the next. He has done homework in remote areas and taken exams during lights out.
“As long as the will is there, you can pretty much pick up your laptop and do your schoolwork anywhere,” he said. “I have been stuck outside for two weeks at a time, but I can still pull up my laptop, find a quiet area somewhere in the woods, and do schoolwork.”
“At some point you just can not make excuses,” he said. “You have to find a way to do it, and there will always be a way to make it happen as long as your desire to do it is there.”
Teamwork at Home Is Critical to MBA Success
Support at home is also critical for MBA students. Since the Venancios are both in school, they can motivate each other, Lexi said. When one does not want to study, the other can be a cheerleader, coach or study buddy. And they tag team as parents, each taking the kids out of the house on runs so the other can study uninterrupted for an hour.
Davidson already sees the benefits of his studies.
“I can learn something from class and apply it immediately to my work,” he said. “I am taking strategic negotiations right now. As I am learning, I am applying it to my work and seeing those results instantly.”
Lexi, who graduates in May and is due with their third child in June, wants to encourage other moms who want to pursue their MBAs. She says that looking closely at how your time is structured —even for a relatively short period—can open up new doors. She is planning to learn Portuguese after she earns her degree, “now that I know how much I can do with my time.”
“Allowing yourself the opportunity to go out and conquer whatever your dream may be is really exciting,” she said.
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