Sales and Operations Manager at McMaster-Carr

Kiyomi Hamilton is an experienced manager and consultant who lives with her husband and two children in Chicago. She decided to pursue her MBA to expand her professional expertise and position herself to take the next step in her career. This is her story.

“For me, career-wise, it’s always been very important to have diverse experiences. I wanted a business education that would expose me to a lot of diverse ideas and relationships, especially ones centered around becoming a better leader.”

Parenting While Pursuing an Elite MBA

With two sons, 17 and 6 years old, as well as a husband who is also back in school, Kiyomi has worked to balance a full-time job, her education and some demanding family commitments. Adjusting to such a heavy workload was a challenge for her, but she has been able to sharpen her time-management and organization skills along with her business and leadership abilities.

Throughout her time in the program, Kiyomi has leaned on the support of the UNC community. She is committed to setting an example for her sons while creating a better life for them and her family.

“I think for my sons, they’re seeing that anything is really possible. I came from one of the poorest communities in Chicago and have pushed myself to get to where I am. I want them to see the drive, understand that education is important and pursue it as a lifetime learning experience.”

Finding the Right MBA Program

As a sales operations manager who was already overseeing 15 employees, Kiyomi was not only looking for leadership development but was also seeking to absorb diverse perspectives in order to build the skills to pursue new opportunities.

At first, Kyomi was skeptical that an online program was the right choice for her.

After starting the program, she found the online tools particularly helpful both in their flexibility and their ability to expand the learning experience beyond traditional on-campus parameters.

“I wondered how they could really deliver a valuable educational experience online. Now that I’m in the program, I think it might be better than on-campus experiences I’ve had. Because of the small class sizes, there’s really no hiding whether you know your material or not. And the online tools allow me to go back and review coursework and recordings of my classes. That really helps me retain information, and I couldn’t do it in an on-campus MBA setting.”

Making It All Work

Like many MBA@UNC students, Kyomi is juggling motherhood, a full-time career and her business education. She is not only showing her children what leadership looks like, but building a better future for herself and her family.

“I think as moms or women who are thinking about this whole work-life balance thing, we tend to hold ourselves to a higher standard and feel that we have to do everything. My advice would be to know yourself and know when you are ready. Once you are, don’t hold back. Your family, your friends and your kids will forgive you if you drop the ball; have the capacity to forgive yourself so that you can achieve something really special.”

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