Chances are, he or she is at Happy Hour, drinking a couple of cold ones. Meanwhile, you’re at home, taking care of the bills, the laundry, the kids, work, TiVo, and holding the short end of the stick. The truly tough pill to swallow is that he or she actually needs to be at Happy Hour. Socializing is a non-negotiable part of the MBA curriculum. Your partner can skip events here and there, but he or she needs to be part of the social scene.
Recruiting-related events are mandatory, whether it’s a Sunday on the golf course or a six-course meal on a Tuesday night. And if you do get to join, your job is to make your partner look like partner material. Be an asset, not a liability. Get a little dressed up and play by the rules for the night.
4) Feel free to join in.
Most schools have significant others’ clubs or allow you to join student clubs. Give them a try, particularly if you are accompanying your partner to a new location. You can meet others in your position and become a real part of the business school community.
Talk to your partner about what events you should attend. Want to come to Happy Hour? How about organizing a dinner for the study group and their respective significant others? Participating in school life is another way to show your support–and for you to sneak in some time with your partner, too.
5) Don’t be afraid of being the CEO.
Just because so much of this time is focused on your partner, you still get to call the shots half the time. Don’t be afraid of asking for particular time to be set aside or for help in various activities. Make demands, but be reasonable. You and your happiness are every bit as important as your partner and his or her happiness.
We recognize what a huge role you play in the life of your B-schoolers and we think that he or she is incredibly lucky to have you. And you’re lucky, too….at least, most of the time. Take a deep breath and know that this is a very unique time for both of you. Good or bad, it’ll be over before you know it.
Carrie and Chris
Carrie Shuchart and Chris Ryan are the authors of “Case Studies & Cocktails: The ‘Now What?’ Guide to Surviving Business School.” This article is an adaptation from the book. Shuchart, who has an MBA from Columbia Business School, is a consultant with McKinsey & Co. in Los Angeles. Ryan, who has an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, is director of product and instructor development for ManhattanGMAT in New York. Both Carrie and Chris are also long-time instructors at Manhattan GMAT. As part of an ongoing initiative to serve its students beyond test prep, Manhattan GMAT commissioned and published this book.