Considerations for Your Partner When Starting Your MBA

Considerations for Your Partner
Fuqua students and partners at Section Trivia Night

A Student’s Perspective

For as long as I can remember, the end of the school year felt like a time to reflect. Unlike birthdays, which seemed like an arbitrary passage of time, finishing a school year felt like a real accomplishment. Now that I’m in graduate school, I get to revel in the school schedule again, and use the summer as a time to reflect on my first year at Fuqua.

Last July, I had a big concern on my mind: How would my husband and I adjust to life at school? A year later, we’re on the other side of that phase, and I’d love to provide my insights on how to make the transition easier for any relationship.

Considerations for Your PartnerTalk about money: When you attend business school, you and your partner will feel a shift in finances. Even if you don’t have combined bank accounts, your lifestyle changes may mean that you can’t (or don’t want) to spend the way you used to. Prior to Fuqua, my husband and I talked about how we wanted to use these two years, what we were willing to forgo, and where we wanted to spend. While we didn’t have it all figured out on day one, it’s much easier to make spending choices when you’ve discussed your philosophies around spending and know how your partner feels about the many plane tickets to visit your parents, or about the bachelor party he wants to go to.

Give it time: School will be overwhelming for the first few months. Between course work, social activities, trying all the wings at Heavenly Buffaloes, and recruiting, you’ll be very busy. It may take you a while to find your new relationship groove—how you’re both managing Fuqua. Don’t be too upset if you’re not ‘doing it right.’ You can keep tweaking your schedule, talking to your partner, and figuring out what works well for you.

You do you—or why we don’t do date night: When preparing to come to school, the advice we heard the most was to plan a weekly date night. And while I’m sure that’s helpful advice for some, it just was not for us. We’re more hop-into-Target-for-eggs-come-out-with-ice-cream-and-watch-reality-TV-on-the-futon people. And that’s totally fine. You know your relationship better than anyone else—so if the advice doesn’t fit, just ignore it.

A Partner’s Perspective

Considerations for Your PartnerA partner’s journey to Fuqua is not as different from the Pilgrim’s voyage to Massachusetts as you might think. With your student, you are giving up a world that you know for a chance at a better life. You will be leaving behind friends, family, and comfort, all for the land of opportunity (Fuqua).

Unlike the Pilgrims though, there have been people who have made this journey before you.

Your experience at Fuqua will be new, unique, and a life-changing experience. As a partner, you will be supporting your student as they begin their studies, mitigating their stress and charting out your future plans. You’ll have a long discussion about where your family wants to settle after school and how much time you will want to see them while they are here. You’ll adjust to a different income, a different social life, and a different role in your family life.

All that being said, it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do. Sure, it isn’t always easy, but it’ll always be worth the investment, and
nothing can beat helping your partner’s and your family’s dreams come true.

Pro tip: Reach out to the Fuqua Partner’s network (full disclosure: I’m one of the co-presidents). They’ll be your best resource for the transition, covering everything from housing to doctors to happy hours. Way better than a 600-word blurb that references the Mayflower.

Jon White, co-president of Fuqua Partners

Jon White

Daytime MBA Partner, Class of 2018

I am originally from Rutland, Vermont, but have spent the last five years avoiding the... Read More

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Anisha White

Daytime MBA, Class of 2018

Originally from the greatest state (South Jersey), I went to college at Johns Hopkins University,... Read More

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