Applying to MBA as a Couple
With the MBA deadlines knocking on your door, it’s time for every aspirant to get ready with their profile, finance, and target school list for a new endeavor! Among MBA aspirants, couples make up a significant student group applying for MBA at top B-Schools (well, why not?). Hence, we at MBA and Beyond are here to help them by sharing some critical MBA advice and tips for applicants considering applying to business school as a couple together!
Having a life partner working in the same or even a distinct field (or even better, a partner in your business), there comes a time when both realize that applying to MBA as a couple from a top B-school is the key that would unlock doors to new career paths. However, due to lack of clarity, awareness of the whole applications process, and the MBA admissions process, being challenging enough for one person, couples are bound to face additional obstacles as they try to figure out their priorities in life strategizing their applications. But fret not! With the right people and strong determination, you can envision yourself and your better half sitting in the classrooms of your dream b-school.
First and foremost, the most crucial step is to understand that while applying to business schools as a couple, it’s important to incorporate your partner’s needs and preferences along with your own. It would be in the best interest to avoid any kind of compromises, and any unwelcomed confrontations might damage your relationship (always remember an MBA is for a year or two, but a relationship is forever.)
Take your time! No need to rush to any decision. Sit together and start making a list of target schools and programs where you both are excited and thrilled to study. Selecting the right schools for oneself is very confusing; this process becomes more complex when you have to accommodate the needs of your partner too.
If you’d like, we are happy to hop on a 1:1 free profile evaluation session with you and your partner to help you get a 360-degree analysis of your strengths and weaknesses and recommend schools that best fit your and your partner’s profile.
After thorough research of your target B-schools B-schools, you would need to sit down with yourself and introspect your goals and profile to match the schools that best fit your profile and favor both of your post-MBA goals.
Too complex to take all that at once?
Let’s break the whole process into some major steps to simplify the equation. First of all, we would start with factors affecting school selection.
FACTORS AFFECTING SCHOOL SELECTION
There are two huge steps to building a strong school strategy.
The first step is to introspect your goals, aspirations (long term and short term), your strengths and weaknesses, the school preferences, etc. That is, to have a very good understanding of yourself (and this must be done in isolation. This is the one step that should NOT be done with your partner.
Once you are done with the introspection phase, you and your partner need to come together to brainstorm on the list of schools. And while brainstorming this, you will need to consider a range of factors like duration of the program, ROI, preferred country, etc.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, determining the region’s cities and keeping in mind a place where both would thrive can help expand your range of options. For example, NYU Stern and Columbia are in the heart of New York City, whereas schools like Wharton in nearby Philadelphia or UC Berkeley Haas in the Bay Area. Similarly, there are many other top business schools located in nearby regions over the globe.
Additionally, gathering more info or connecting with couples pursuing an MBA in your target school list could provide further insights into their own application experiences and how they created their MBA pitch (there are some important notes to consider while building your pitch when you are applying with your spouse). This could be crucial for one to understand better the sense of how open the school is in accepting joint applicants. Also, it would be a smarter option for couples to apply for identical B-schools in the upcoming Round one deadline. In case of a backup, they can select B-schools nearby to balance both their professional and personal life.
Along with selecting the right schools, couples must also consider the round and intake they want to apply to. It considerably affects your chances of selection. For ex, using in early rounds could help secure a spot at top B-schools; hence, for your reference, I would suggest you read our article on How to strengthen your MBA application for Round 1 MBA to get some beneficial insights about applying early.
APPLYING TO MBA AS A COUPLE: TIMING YOUR APPLICATIONS
It may go without saying, but you should apply to business school as a couple in the same round. This makes the decision easier when you know whether you both got in.
Also, if possible, applying to mba as a couple in the first round will leave some wiggle room, if needed. The MBA application process can become all-consuming. With two people balancing full-time jobs with test prep and essay writing, you might find that one of you is struggling and needs extra time to pull together the best possible application.
A different approach for those applying to business school as a couple who know the region or city they ultimately want to work in is stagger their MBA enrollment. One person continues to work while the other goes to business school. Then, the other person enrolls in an MBA program once their partner has graduated.
MBA FOR COUPLES: LOOP IN THE ADCOM UPFRONT
Admissions committee members are compassionate human beings, not mere number crunchers (and speaking to admissions directors every year, we know this more than anybody else!). If both applicants applying for MBA as a couple are qualified to attend and are a good fit for the program, the admissions committee will usually try to keep couples together.
Some schools explicitly ask in the application if you’re applying for MBA as a couple. But even if they don’t, it’s essential to share that information with the admissions committee. This is crucial because the rejection of one applicant means the partner wouldn’t attend if accepted. You and your partner should use the optional essay to explain that you’re part of a package deal.
Also, make the admissions team aware of your joint application intentions as early as possible. When attending events on the road or on campus (and do attend them!), touch base with representatives to explain your situation. Show them why you and your partner would make an excellent fit for their program (which you should do after a thorough introspection of yourself and finalizing the school list).,
Your relationship status will likely come into play when the admissions committee is hesitant about just one of you. If the school feels that one candidate is outstanding and knows that they will only attend if the partner also gets in, the chances are good that both will receive admissions offers.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
Pursuing an MBA is one of the most crucial decisions you would ever take in your life; it’s emotionally intense, full of new ventures, and quite an enriching experience. Watching each other grow, nurtured by this unique experience and in an environment full of enthusiasm, passion, eagerness, and knowledge, is one of the best things about attending a top B-school as a couple. From the very moment of entering the campus together to taking pride in each other’s accomplishments, an MBA does bring people closer together.
Whether it’s traveling together, studying for exams, sharing views and ideas preparing for interviews, or planning events, an MBA sets sail to a whole new chapter of your life with a new group of people and an opportunity to learn and grow and eventually become better teammates (rather the best couple!).
That’s it. I hope it will help you understand the critical aspects of applying for an MBA as a couple to different B schools. Trust us on this, going to a top business school with your partner may turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your career, individually and together!
While we hope this article has given you some good insights if you have any problem understanding any aspect of the applications process, scholarship, and selecting the right schools(which can be pretty confusing for first-time applicants) and need more in-depth information about any particular aspect of the application process, interviews, and your profile evaluation, feel free to hop on a 1:1 call with our team of experts.
We, at MBA and Beyond, dig deep into your profile to provide you with absolutely honest feedback and help you create a unique MBA pitch! Happy learning! 🙂
APPLICATION JOURNEY OF ONE OF OUR SUCCESSFUL MBA COUPLES TO ROSS-
“When my husband and I decided to apply for an MBA program together, there were a lot of apprehensions in my mind- particularly around both of us quitting workforce at the same time and undertaking a large debt for our education. However, having undergone this process and with a greater insight on the B-school programs, I have come to the realisation that it is actually better to have a partner in this journey. Most B-schools are very open to, and in some cases, even favorable towards admitting couples. All of them have a partners club, where you can connect with peer couple in you batch, or peers with families, which usually is a very supportive community.
The biggest benefit, however, is having a partner in this journey who understands the ups and downs very clearly, and can share valuable insights to make every step better through continuous feedback- be it the application process, the interview process or the MBA itself. My husband and I helped each other prep for GMAT, reviewed each other’s applications and took mock interviews for each other.”