Business schools aren’t the best places to meet a partner because they have more students than other schools. According to some reports, the average student at business school is 27 years old. However, most students in professional schools are in their early twenties. Twenty one is the average age for first-year students.
One third of students attending business school are married or involved in serious relationships. Going to business school can often be a major life change. It is not uncommon to have two jobs with two pay checks and now only one. This can put a strain on the family’s budget, especially if you add children.
Students can get more money by applying for scholarships, bursaries and student loans. However, even these aren’t guaranteed. Plus, there’s the emotional rollercoaster of uncertainty about whether the student will be eligible.
Research shows that the first year of a degree is the most difficult for relationships. This is due to the fact that there is only half the amount of money and the 24 hour nature of the full-time MBA program. The problem with going back to college is the after-class pub crawls and the return at 2 a.m. This can be very stressful for relationships. It is not uncommon for adults to revert to their early 20’s attitudes and fall into the “meeting with the boys after a late-night basketball game and a beer” mentality. This is often a problem for the partner who stays at home with the kids and brings in the paycheck. This is why an MBA is often called the “Divorce Degree”.
Many times, the support partner, particularly women, enters the first year believing that the lifestyle change of their spouse returning to school full-time will make them happier in the long term. They will also accept the inconveniences that come with a spouse returning to school. They may have to move to a different city, lose their friends, or spend less time together.
This can lead to anger and depression, as their lives are put on hold while their partner’s live goes full throttle ahead. This can lead to jealousy over the exciting new school. It is easy to see how the partner who stays at home with their children and goes to work full-time feels compared to his peers who are learning, traveling, or taking exciting courses. They will often worry about their partner’s new peers who are more attractive and outgoing than the one staying home with the children and changing diapers.
It may seem like the partner working with you is the only one feeling this way. However, there are ways to alleviate and diffuse the frustrations associated with this lifestyle change. Communication is the most important thing on your list of “to-do” things. Prior to school, partners had been used to seeing each others every day and shared common interests.
Many couples reserve one night per week for a date. This allows them to re-bond and discuss their week. It ensures that each partner knows what the other is up to and makes them feel less alone. You can also schedule a time to enjoy a hobby or sport together. A common activity is for the partner to get involved in school-related activities. Most schools offer many activities that are suitable both for working partners.
It is important to ensure that your partner stays at home and sets goals independent of the partner who attends school full-time. This will increase self-worth and help to dispel feelings such as jealousy and inadequacy.
Going back to school for a MBA can cause stress in a relationship. However, if you are able to communicate and continue to enjoy the time you have together, it doesn’t have to be the end. It can actually be the beginning of something new.