My partner is going to b-school. How do I survive?
By Emily Hampton, Joint Ventures Member
The process of applying to a top business school is a complicated and stressful experience. Filling out application after application and writing essay after essay—it takes commitment. But the commitment doesn’t stop there: a Two-Year MBA program is a full-time job. Between classes, social events, networking, and recruiting, MBA students keep very busy. So where does that leave us? The moms. The dads. The husbands. The wives. The boyfriends and girlfriends. The kids. And yes, of course, the dogs! How do we survive when our partner is completing their MBA? For me, it was three things: getting connected, making friends, and remembering this is temporary.
Make connections with other partners
The first semester of business school is unlike any other time in your life. Students will be busy from dawn until dawn. Yeah, you read that right… b-school gets downright busy. Some days you may only see your student as they are dragging themselves to bed after an insane day of school and group meetings. That’s why getting connected is so important for partners. Many MBA programs have a club for partners. At Johnson, we call it Joint Ventures, or JV for short. JV hosts events for partners throughout the semester, aligning dinners and socials with the Johnson class calendar so we ensure that no one has to be sitting at home while their student is in a three-hour exam. JV also hosts play groups for Johnson Juniors, coffee chats, a book club, and encourages people to take advantage of local festivals. Needless to say, if I’m having cabin fever, I know I can reach out to my fellow JV-ers and find something fun to do.
Make new friends
Moving to a new place (or visiting every few weekends if you’re a commuting partner) definitely has its challenges. Aside from finding your favorite grocery store or a new burger joint, often times people are going to b-school without knowing anyone beforehand. It’s even harder for partners, especially if you are working remotely or are staying at home. So how can you start making that network of new friends from the get-go? Get involved! Join a club or two. Volunteer in the community. Invite your student’s classmates over for brunch. Host a game night. Get out and about. Attend the social events. That way when your student is involved in recruiting or other extracurricular activities, you feel that you have a tight-knit friend group to go grab a drink with.
Remember this is temporary
Lastly, don’t let this time go by without taking advantage of this unique opportunity. I know that sounds so cliché, but when it’s all said and done, this experience lasts ONLY two years. And it goes by so quickly. There are days that being a partner to a full-time student is difficult, but find that silver lining because you’ll miss this time when it’s finished. So, take the time to explore the new city you live in. Try out another restaurant. Plan a weekend getaway. Step back and take a nice deep breath; because before you know it, you’ll be back on the road to a new adventure.