Apparently this is Partners & Families Week on the EssaySnark blahg! One more post on the topic today and we’ll move on to other topics. Several years ago, an academic book on the state of graduate business education called Disrupt or Be Disrupted quoted a researcher on the impact of a student going to business…
We spoke yesterday about applying to bschool with a partner. What if you already have a family, or have plans to start one? Or what if you’re going to bschool as a single mom? (or dad – but we’ve never actually heard of a father who’s the custodial parent and is doing the MBA thing; it’s surely happened but not very common)
All schools have student clubs for partners and families so that’s the obvious first place to look, if your partner will be coming along for the adventure.
Here’s an exceedingly random collection of resources, quotes, and articles we’ve gathered for you if you’re bringing a family to bschool (with or without a partner).
Kellogg Student Discusses Motherhood
Mari Gottlieb, Kellogg Class of 2016, talks about the challenges of raising her two-year-old son and how she set priorities (note: she had a housekeeper!)
First-Year Enters Wharton Four Months Pregnant
Wharton Student Plans Pregnancy for Second Year
A slightly less crazy plan: Kristina Milyuchikhina, Wharton Class of 2014, had her son during Y2
We hear about male students whose wives have babies while they’re in bschool all the time; those stories are pretty common too. It will obviously be more or less challenging if she’s going to stay at home or if she’ll be headed back to work soon after the new baby arrives. Regardless of which situation you’re looking at, you’ll likely be able to get connected with someone who’s done it at the school that you’re considering.
Perhaps the most modern of all is this:
Chicago Students Support Each Other
The Mothers at Booth student group is exactly what it says on the tin – and we don’t recall hearing of any group like it at another top school. Talk about leaning in!
In addition, here’s some advice from students with families at top schools:
- Harvard students talk about being a parent with key advice to live on campus
- Wharton Partners talk about applying with partners and what to expect if you’re bringing your family to campus
Finally, being married and/or having children may also affect your financial aid package for need-based awards at some schools:
- If married, your income calculation will include your spouse’s income
- A few schools such as Berkeley-Haas are more likely to award scholarship grants to parents; the University of Michigan has a child care subsidy that Ross students with kids may qualify for
This is not a definitive list, it’s just offered as a starting point so that you realize that the rules may be different based on your specific situation. Be sure to ask your school’s financial aid office for the details. As far as we know, Federal loan qualification for U.S. citizens is not affected by marital status.
Doing bschool with a baby or small children is not impossible. Challenging? Yes! But it can be done.
Talk about building project management skills! 😀
UPDATE: One more post in this series went up: Is your target school partner-friendly?
Are you and your (spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance) applying to business school together? This has become more and more common over the past few years. Unless both of you have superstar profiles, it’s a tricky situation. Everyone has weaknesses in their MBA profile and a strong application strategy will minimize those weaknesses and express fit to the target…
CONGRATULATIONS! You made it into an American business school! But oh wait… What about your significant other????? Here is Part 2 of advice from the trenches, coming from an international BSer who was accepted to a great MBA program last season and then had all sorts of complications to tend to – including how to…
No this post is not talking about the challenges of attending business school while in a committed relationship – though there’s probably a whole blog that could be devoted to that topic! Today we’re talking about international applicants who get admitted to American schools and then have a very common life situation to grapple with….
Years ago, a favorite essay question among many of the top bschools was to ask you about an ethical dilemma you’ve faced. That type of question still can come up in interviews. What we’ve got today is not so much an ethical dilemma as a relationship dilemma.
It’s about applying to bschool with a partner. We’ve discussed the strategies for applying for an MBA with a partner a few times here on the blahg and we’ve even posted a Success Story of a couple who made it in to bschool together.
That’s of course the ideal outcome. But what happens when you both get in … to different schools? Or even more painfully: What happens if one of you gets in to Harvard?
And here’s another wrinkle: What happens if EssaySnark tells you point-blank – before you submit anywhere – that one of you definitely doesn’t have a chance at Harvard, but that the other one does?
What do you do THEN?!??
If you’re applying as a couple, there are so many things to consider (we go into some of them in that series on applying to grad school with a partner). This post is to encourage you to walk through all the scenarios together before you submit any apps.
How important is it for the two of you to go to the same school? Obviously this answer depends on where you’re at with your relationship. A married couple will have very different answers than a couple who’s been together for only a short time. Are you open to a long-distance relationship for two years? We’ve heard of bschool breaking up relationships. Even if your partner is not applying to bschool this year, these are important (and sometimes scary) factors to think through, separately and together, as you figure out where you’re going to apply.
If one person has a real shot at Harvard, should he pursue it?
We hear much more frequently about the woman being the “trailing spouse” – if you’re the dude in the relationship, how would you feel about “trailing” her while she pursues the MBA?
What about compromises? Maybe one of you can even put off bschool for two years. You both apply to schools that are right for you individually, where you think you each have the best shot – individually, or together if you’re both interested in the school – and then you make the decision based on who is accepted to the “best” school.
If only one of you is accepted to a Really. Good. School then it’s easy: Both of you move together to that city for Partner 1’s MBA. Two years later, the Partner 2 applies, with the knowledge that both of you will move again. There would be some juggling required when Partner 1 goes through recruiting for their post-MBA job in the Fall when Partner 2 is also submitting their MBA apps, but it’s possible to pursue opportunities with multiple location options kept open if you explain the situation to the MBA recruiters.
This may not work in practice because what if during the initial year of applying, one of you gets into Kellogg and the other gets into Columbia… which would you choose? You need to figure out the parameters by which you’d make the decision BEFORE anybody gets accepted anywhere.
Or maybe you decide to apply to multiple schools in the same city – Kellogg and Booth, Columbia and NYU (and Wharton), MIT and Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley, UCLA and USC. All of those schools are competitive (some ridiculously so) and this doesn’t guarantee anything, but certainly it could be a good option for the two of you to live together while attending different schools. Though you probably wouldn’t see each other very much!!
A smart first step in all of this is to get an honest assessment of your chances – yours, and your partner’s – so that you can make informed choices around which schools to be applying to. And you’ll need to have these honest conversations about your individual priorities and what level of sacrifice or compromise is appropriate from each side of the equation.
Do a little simulation for yourself. What would you do if you were admitted to Harvard – but your partner was not?
And do the opposite: How would you handle it if you got in to, say, Wharton, but your partner was accepted to Harvard?
Those two cities aren’t that far apart, but be honest with yourself. A long-distance setup can totally work for a lot of couples. Would it work for you?
Figure this stuff out BEFORE you submit.
It can get very sticky to work through these decisions later on if you don’t have a framework for them.
Good luck with it, Brave Supplicant!
Back in early April, we got an update email from a former Brave Supplicant – two, actually. This was a couple applying to bschool together. And boy did it make us happy to receive this. We hadn’t heard from them since like January and at that point, they had not seen much success in their joint efforts. Things apparently turned around in a huge way from there. Here’s the news they shared (posted with permission, identifying details scrubbed):
Hi Essaysnark, Our MBA application process is finally over with the last set of results we got on Friday.
I will start with some not-so-great news: I am still waitlisted at [Good School], but [my partner] got rejected. We believe it’s because of the not-so-great interview with a first year student (believe that’s rare) on campus. We both interviewed at [Top School], but got rejected. The interview went well for both of us, but maybe our profiles were not competitive enough for this year’s applicant pool.
Now to the awesome news: We BOTH have been accepted at [Amazing School], [Incredible School] and [Fantastic School]. We are extremely excited – especially because we loved everything about [Amazing School] during our visit and we are thankful to be in a dilemma of choosing between these great schools. We are leaning towards [Amazing School] (which I remember is one of your favourite schools 🙂 ), but the more we talk to [Fantastic School] students/alumni, the more confused we get. [Fantastic School] impressed us a lot when we visited as well – with its impressive students, hardworking career office and extremely friendly adcom. If you have any thoughts on [Amazing School] vs. [Fantastic School], we will appreciate it as always.
You were incredibly helpful right from the start – the comprehensive profile review, the essay reviews, decimators – everything helped us. Your advice on the blog to visit the schools was so useful – we drove 1000 miles and visited 6 schools in a week (and interviewed at 4 of them!). You taught us to fish, rather than serving us the fish – thank you! We are very (very!) grateful to you…
Shameless self-promotion: These two individuals each purchased the Complete Essay Package – that’s what they mean by the “taught us to fish” thing. They went through that process on their first applications, and then applied what they learned to the remaining apps they subsequently completed on their own. Love seeing outcomes like this! (You don’t have to pay for multiple gazillion dollar consulting packages to get into bschool.) Congrats, you two!!!!!!! Not an easy decision but an excellent place to be.
To continue with our discussion of the situation with couples jointly applying to graduate school that we started yesterday… Our original post talked about applying to different grad programs on the same campus. More frequently, we’re asked about a couple who is simultaneously applying to the same school. Here’s the deal on that: We’ve had…
We got this question recently: Good evening, EssaySnark! My name is [redacted] and I’ve been reading your blahg for the past year and a half (or two). I’ve found the blahg to be super helpful! You always seem to have some great insight and, most importantly, I feel like I can really trust the advice….