Why Aren’t Business Schools Like Harvard Doing Case Studies About Motherhood?

Our future business leaders have the power to create a work environment that encourages more women to be moms and CEOs

Francesca Furchtgott
Published in
7 min readSep 4, 2019


Photo: Rick Friedman/Getty

WWhile I have always wanted to be a mom, I never gave much thought to how it would affect my career until the spring semester of my second year at Harvard Business School. Like many of my classmates, I was searching for that perfect post-MBA job. Unlike many of my classmates, I was pregnant. And instead of spending introspective time honing my criteria for that first job, I obsessed over when and how to tell prospective employers about my pregnancy.

My daughter is now a year old. Interviewing while pregnant was just the first of many difficult intersections between motherhood and career. Telling a prospective employer that I need to pump breast milk in the middle of an 11-hour-long interview day? Check. Taking four days off of work when my daughter was too sick to go to daycare? Check. Coordinating daycare pickups with my husband around our work schedules? Check, check, check. The seasoned moms out there have been through this and more.

These classroom discussions mask the reality that parenthood plays a different role in men and women’s work lives, starting with pregnancy.

I graduated from HBS over a year ago, and in reflecting on my time there, I keep coming back to a pair of questions: Why didn’t we ever do a case study on being a mother in the workforce? And why didn’t we ever discuss how to manage a team that includes parents, specifically moms?

A large portion of business school students are likely to become working mothers

These questions, first and foremost, are for the benefit of my female classmates, a significant number of whom will become mothers within 10 years of graduating. My HBS class of 2018 was proudly touted as being 43% female, an increase over the previous few class years. Of the over 400 women who entered Aldrich Hall in the fall of 2016, only a handful were already moms. For many of us, working while…