To earn her graduate degree, Nathalya Mamane MBA’21 faced a number of hurdles.
For starters, she is a mom of four children, two of whom are in middle school. To be a mom is an all-encompassing job, and Mamane wondered if she would have the time and energy needed to be a student again.
Then there was the pandemic, which brought further uncertainty, as Mamane was unsure how remote learning was going to play out, both for her children and herself.
Perhaps most daunting of all, Mamane was plagued with doubt about her academic qualifications, wondering if she could handle the rigor that the Babson MBA required. “I generally didn’t think I was smart enough to complete this thing,” she admits.
Filled with misgivings, Mamane did what she always does—she took things one step at a time. That roll-with-it attitude is something she has tried to impart to her children, as well as clients at her event-planning business. If they fret about the future, Mamane tells them not to worry about potential problems that may never materialize. Just keep moving forward and deal with issues as they arise. “We’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” she says.
This approach served Mamane well at Babson. “I just wanted to survive. That was my whole premise until my last class,” she says. “You take it one day at a time and hope it works out.”
Things certainly worked out for Mamane, as she was named the valedictorian for her class in the One-Year MBA program. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “When my name was announced, I thought, no way.” She also was named to the 2021 Best & Brightest MBA list from Poets & Quants, and she is working on an entrepreneurial venture, one she hopes will help alleviate the stress surrounding a common medical nuisance in children.
Mamane’s take-it-as-it-comes attitude is the perfect complement to the entrepreneurial mindset needed to pursue such an enterprise. “We’ll see where it goes,” she says. “I’m excited for it. I’m passionate for it.”
For years, Mamane had a longing to earn her MBA. “There was something that attracted me to learning,” she says. But then she started a family, and the children kept coming. “One turned into two, and two turned into three, and three turned into four,” she says. “I kept thinking, it’s not the time.”
Besides, she had started a busy event-planning business, NM Events, which offered her a successful career.
Then everything changed a few years ago when Mamane was confronted with a family tragedy. It was a challenging time, and it made her think about the direction of her life. She thought about her business, and she thought about that dream of an MBA. And, she thought about how she wanted to make a deeper impact on the world around her.
“I had so much energy and passion to change the world,” she says, “and I was doing parties. Not that event planning is a bad thing. I was good at it. Clients loved me and kept coming back.”
But being an event planner felt limiting to Mamane. “While I was an event planner, I thought people only saw me as that, and that was the only way I saw myself. I thought that was all I could do,” she says. “I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore.” The time for Mamane to pursue that long dreamt about MBA had finally arrived. “I needed personal growth. I wanted to learn new things,” she says. “I needed to learn something that will make impactful things happen.”
Mamane was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of Babson. She started off by pursuing a Certificate in Advanced Management at the College, and finding herself still starved for learning once it was completed, moved onto the MBA.
Being a mom and a student made for a hectic life. Mamane might have a class one night, for instance, and realize she didn’t have dinner ready for the family. “Things got really challenging,” she says. “I shed a few tears. I wasn’t calm and happy the whole time.” She is thankful for the support of her husband and children, who are 13, 15, 21, and 23. “My son is a great folder of laundry. My daughter can bake up anything,” Mamane says. “At the end of the day, it all works out.”
Mamane didn’t have any specific plans when she enrolled at Babson. She knew she wanted to pivot away from event planning, and she now is in the process of winding down her business, but she is keeping an open mind to what the future may hold for her.
Mamane had many memorable learning experiences at Babson, such as assisting Cheryl Kiser of The Lewis Institute for Social Innovation in helping partner institutions to navigate the pandemic, or working with Sinan Erzurumlu of the FutureLab on Mobility to address the issue of social isolation in older adults.
“I needed personal growth. I wanted to learn new things. I needed to learn something that will make impactful things happen.”
Nathalya Mamane MBA’21
Her business venture grew out of an opportunity she and her fellow students had to pitch a product idea to Johnson & Johnson. The idea was for an at-home test for strep throat. Typically, a strep test is administered in a doctor’s office, so an at-home test could prove a big time saver for parents. “I have gone to the doctor a million times for a strep throat,” Mamane says. “It ruins my day.”
Intrigued by the idea’s potential, Mamane has continued to pursue it. Her venture, RST, is participating in Babson’s Summer Catalyst accelerator program this year. Mamane, however, is realistic about what lies ahead and whether such an at-home strep test can ever become reality. “It’s going to be a long road,” she says.
Whatever the future brings, Mamane knows it will involve Babson. Thankful for her MBA, she wants to find a way to help support incoming students. “I have so much love and appreciation for Babson,” she says.