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Wait, Move Where? MBA Considerations for Partners

When describing my MBA experience to friends and family over the Christmas holiday, the same words kept popping up: tight-knit, close, communal. As an MBA student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in Hanover, NH, I’ve left city life for the pleasures of a small town. While it’s been a wonderful change for many of the students, it’s also been a major life adjustment for many of the Tuck partners. With a married population of about 30%, Tuck is known as an extremely partner-friendly school. Partners audit classes and an active partners’ club help partners become highly involved in Tuck life. However, many partners who choose to move to Hanover also must confront building new networks and finding a job in a limited market.

Whether you and your partner will make a move for school or will remain in your current location, your new life as a student will be an adjustment for both of you. Consider the following questions before you make your final decision:

  • Does my partner want to be an active part of my MBA experience?
  • Do the schools I am considering have specific resources offered to partners?
  • Are partners welcomed into the social life of the school?
  • Is there a social divide between single students and students with partners?
  • Will my partner be changing jobs?
  • What are the job opportunities around my school?
  • What financial decisions will we have to make?
  • We have children. Is there a network of students with children or support for stay-at-home parents? Does the school offer childcare?
  • MBA students are extremely busy. What opportunities exist for my partner to build connections beyond my new network?
  • Are my partner and I willing to live apart for some or all of my time at school?

Your return to school will be a transition for you and your partner. Make sure that you both do your research and lay out all of your options so that you can come to a mutually-informed and positive decision.

Stephanie O’Brien, Forté Fellow
MBA 2014, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

One Response to “Wait, Move Where? MBA Considerations for Partners”

  1. Marcus Jameson

    My wife was admitted to Fuqua on a Forte Fellowship as well. Fuqua’s support of partners was a big selling point, and we feel the school is an excellent fit. My problem as a partner moving across the country is focused on career. I am 4 years post-MBA and an institutional portfolio manager on the west coast. The area around Duke is not as full of institutional asset management, and much of the movement is internally networked where people swap firms locally every now and again. It’s a frustrating experience, as I’m put in the situation of being away from my new wife or taking a significant (~60%) pay cut to a role I could have filled pre-MBA. These are tough decisions that will test the mettle of a relationship regardless the outcome. I am afraid it will take forever for anything substantial to open up, then she will have to move again for post-MBA job, causing another major adjustment. Not easy conversations!