Your significant other has been accepted to business school, so what does that mean for you? How can you get involved and take advantage of the community and its resources?
Personally, I don’t think I could have gotten any more involved during my husband’s two years at Harvard Business School. In fact, some days, I was busier than he was. Here is how I got involved:
Work On Campus
Working on campus in the MBA program administration as a project manager was the best scenario for my student and me. We walked to campus everyday together and had lunch together in the dining hall a few times a week. I really valued the convenience of working on campus and seeing my husband during the day. I also got an insider’s view of the MBA program and was able to contribute to the MBA experience in my own way.
Working on campus is not feasible for all partners though, and you should consider whether or not your skills and experience make you a qualified candidate for a job on campus. Reach out to the Human Resources Office at the business school for any information or resources they have for partners.
Know you are not alone. There were over 300 partners and families at HBS in addition to myself. There was even a Partners Club for the significant others of students that served as a social network and support group. We planned monthly events around Boston, hosted book clubs and cooking clubs, watched TV shows and had game nights. During the second year of school, I was President of the Club.
Join a Student Club
At HBS, partners were able to join over 70+ student clubs. I joined the Retail & Luxury Goods Club and even served as the Marketing Director of their annual conference. This allowed me to pursue my interests and build my marketing experience on my resume outside of my full-time job. I also networked with other students and partners interested in this industry and one connection led to a job interview after graduation.
Take a Class
Harvard has an evening school for people in the community to take classes and pursue their interests. I took a class one night a week in web design. It allowed me to expand my professional knowledge and pursue my interest in web design. I had other friends who earned degrees by taking night classes or took classes just for fun like “Exploring Vampires in Fiction”. Some business schools may let you also audit a class.
Go to School Events
Significant others are welcomed at social events hosted by the student government such as formal dances, ski retreats, Friday happy hours, small group dinners, and talent shows. I also attended speaker events on campus, with speakers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Diane Von Furstenberg, and the founders of Rent the Runway. This is a great way to also meet other students. Those in a long distance relationship always came out for the big events too, so it was nice to get to know the partners who we didn’t see every day.
I volunteered to write for the student newspaper for a year. I wrote a column about partner life. It was a resume builder and another way to get involved on campus. Other partners wrote about international life, cooking and resumes, or travel too.
MBA students love going on trips together on long weekends. I had the opportunity to travel with my husband and his friends and even other partners to Montreal, Toronto, Cape Cod, Vermont, Maine, Panama, India, Mexico, and Colorado. The only hard part was when I didn’t have time off from my full-time job and my husband still wanted to travel with friends. Some partners don’t have much time off, so they would save their vacation time to go on the big spring break or winter break trips.
Take Advantage of Benefits Offered by the School
Partners at HBS have access to the gym, the library, shuttle buses, student lounges, and the dining hall. Partners often took advantage of campus resources and facilities such as hosting a birthday party in a student lounge on campus. I also was able to access the MBA Career & Professional Development office for a career coach meeting and to discuss my resume.
Travel photo courtesy Northwest Rafting Company (Flickr).
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You might also like from MBAsocial:
- When the Significant Other is a Guy by Ashly Grzyb
- Significant Others: Don’t Believe the Relationship Rumors by Anri Wheeler
- Especially For…Significant Others