After hours of discussions and careful consideration, you’ve quit your job and will join your B-Schooler on a journey. “Do I stay or do I go?”—it’s a question that goes through everyone’s mind when their significant other gets accepted into a top business school.
But first—is everything in order? Have you set yourself up for success? The earlier you prepare, the easier it will be for you to feel at ease: with yourself, in your relationship, and in the B-school community. From talking to Alumni, to brainstorming for the years ahead, below are five ways in which you can set yourself up for a happier and more successful time at B-school.
Brainstorm your year ahead
What is it that you want to walk out of it with? Jump to the future, to a time that is right after the experience, and ask yourself what it is you would like to have achieved by the end of it. It could be in terms of career, family, health, travel, finances, and/or relationships. When you brainstorm and explore, you will gain more clarity on your thoughts and ideas. This can also help shape your personal goals for the year, as whatever you write down will be your raw thoughts that you can then give structure too.
Mix with people who have been there
Start by asking family and friends if they know any current students or graduates of the B-school in question and connect with them. You can also see if there are any mixers between current and past students that you can attend. These types of meet ups can really prove to be invaluable. Once you are there, look to ask people about the transition into B-school life; the program itself; how they balanced everything and managed their time; as well as the atmosphere of the B-school community. Most of the time, students, partners, and alumni are happy to talk about their experiences. You will find that hours went by and you barely felt it! This will give you a better idea of what B-school entails and how it can possibly affect your life in different aspects, and perhaps what you can do about it.
Create online connections
Most schools have a partner club, and partner clubs are now increasingly a basic feature of B-school life since they have become pivotal to the student community. Do an online search for the relevant B-school partner social media group, and request to join it. Once you are in, observe the threads and join in the conversation when relevant. If you have any worries, here would a good place to voice them out and seek advice. There may also be other networks in which the admin staff from the B-school and partners interact—find out about them and sign up. You can also connect directly with the student life staff if you have more administrative concerns.
Create a comfortable living environment
One of the biggest logistical hassles of relocating is the act of moving and finding a place to stay. So it’s important to be practical and realistic about your living arrangements. By creating a comfortable living situation that caters to your needs, you are making your life easier, from the very start. Think about the different resources and amenities that you use on a daily or weekly basis and look for the same in your new area. Some schools have resources that share information about surrounding residential areas, so tap into those too. When you do this in advance, you will be able to somewhat anticipate the things that are going to change in terms of support and resources. This will, in turn, lessen the stress of the move.
Get out of your comfort zone, from now
A large part of business school is about the friendships that form. B-schoolers are looking for authentic relationships. So, before entering the B-school bubble, look to get outside of your comfort zone socially. Start by having a meal or coffee with someone who is dissimilar to you in culture and/or personality, and get to know them. Open a conversation with someone you haven’t met before but constantly see on your daily routines. By expanding your social circle, you will not only get a chance to get to know people who are vastly different from you, but also, by the time you arrive at the beloved B-school, you would have gotten the hang of it.
Hopefully these five pointers will prove helpful in your move to B-school. For more insightful tips, you can check out the MBA Partner guidebook on Amazon. Once you’ve taken all the above steps into consideration…Now What?
Well, now—get ready for the ride of your life.
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Mona Bijjani is a Singapore-based author, entrepreneur and 18D INSEAD MBA candidate. A true third culture kid, she was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Lebanon, and has since lived in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Her book, The Unofficial Guide to Business School Partner Life, is the first book to be created in this niche genre, a cross between Success Self-Help and Business Education. Tech-geek, forever student and former 16J INSEAD Partner, Mona is also a facilitator, developing several workshops and online courses, which you can find at designyourlife.thinkific.com.