Contrary to popular belief, it is becoming more commonplace to have significant others follow their women to b-school. Therefore, if you have not yet done so, start having the difficult conversations with your partner regarding your b-school journey and how your partner can be a part of it.
Following are three critical considerations for your research:
1. Your Partner’s Career
Determine whether your partner’s job could be relocated to a commutable area near your target schools or could be done remotely. If not, start researching available jobs in the area. This requires you to become intimately familiar with your partner’s professional background and career interests. Leverage the schools’ network to identify any available career opportunities. Ask admission representatives about available opportunities in the area and for any referrals to people who may be able to help.
2. Your Partner’s Social Life
Learn about activities at and around the school that meet your partners’ interests. Most schools have a partners’ club or network so reach out to them to learn more about what they have to offer. This information may also be available online depending on how active partners are with the schools. Admissions representatives come prepared with information regarding partners so definitely use them as a resource.
3. Other Partner-specific Circumstances
Lastly for matters that do not neatly fall within your partner’s career or social life, such as familial obligations or certain health needs, obtain information about relevant resources at the schools and surrounding area, and again, don’t hesitate to reach out to the schools’ partner network and to use admission representatives.
These considerations should help you make your b-school journey not just about you but also about your partner. As you progress in your research, continue to keep your partner engaged in the process – have your partner assist you with creating your list of schools to pursue; take your partner with you to school visits; look at housing options together; review any offers together. The earlier you can integrate your partner in your b-school journey the easier it will be to pull the trigger on your school of choice and to make the transition.
Shaw-chin Ioana Chiu, Forté Fellow
MBA 2014, The Fuqua School of Business at Duke