A few days ago, one of my friends from Paris called me frantically out of the blue. She and her boyfriend had been in a successful long-distance relationship for several years, and now he was finally moving to France! He has been accepted at INSEAD.
On the one hand, she was ecstatic that finally, they could live under one roof, but on the other hand, she was terrified. She had heard of messy break-up stories, ugly ends to relationships, and the notorious label of DIVORSEAD. Suddenly, her insecurities were taking over and she almost regretted the decision of encouraging him to apply to INSEAD.
Gladly though, by the time she hung up forty minutes later, she was quite reassured and excited about planning their move to Fontainebleau.
With my own experience of being here as a married student, with the privilege of having my husband living a few hours away, and spending almost every weekend with him, I had shared my extremely positive experiences with her. After all, I have (so far) survived P1 and nearing the end of P2, so this should feel legitimate.
My partner is always my priority. All my classmates with partners share a common feeling, that even in this year of new friendships and continuous change, there’s one constant which is the most significant, the partner.
In my case, I applied to INSEAD just two months into being married. If it weren’t for my husband, I wouldn’t be here. He keeps me sane every day in this rollercoaster ride. In another example, one of my classmates recognizes how much of a sacrifice his wife has made with her career, taking a year off from work, and happily moving all the way to the sleepy little French village of Fontainebleau to be by his side. I feel confident to speak on behalf of my classmates that we are grateful to our partners for letting us live our dream. I know all of us are juggling with intense academics and competitive career development plans, fostering our network and developing new bonds, but for each one of us, our partner is our priority. I have a classmate who flew for a weekend to New York to see her fiancé, another one who’s planning a romantic wedding proposal for his girlfriend over Christmas, and a third one who commutes every day from Paris so his wife can continue to work and live her Parisian life.
You, as a partner, always have a choice. You can choose to move here to INSEAD or visit when you can. Different things work for different people. I see partners who have taken the year off to live in Fontainebleau and travel in Europe or learn French. I also see partners who continue with their work lives and visit every now and then. There are others who sign up for education in Paris and use the year to strengthen their own academic ambitions or professional qualifications. You have the opportunity to create something extraordinary out of this year.
MBA for two-for-the-price of one. I love this idea! INSEAD offers an expansive range of options to ensure a well-rounded engagement and inclusion of the partners. I often spot partners in my Marketing or Strategy class. I go to yoga classes with them or catch them in the library. I meet them at parties or over weekends. It is one big welcoming community! As a partner, you have access to all the resources that INSEAD has to offer to its students. You can access a selection of classroom experiences as well. The life-long network you create and the friendships you build are a collective experience with your B-schooler, and it only strengthens your relationship and enriches your life as a couple.
The INSEAD environment is addictive and contagious! It is a humbling and transformative experience and a lot of partners end up becoming INSEAD graduates themselves.
Don’t freak out about the upcoming changes and continue to offer support and share enthusiasm if your partner is accepted into one of the leading business schools of the world. Trust in the relationship you have with them, and how far you have come together.
One intense crazy year will not break your bond. It will only make it richer!