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MBA = Long Distance Relationship

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MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2009, 11:28
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Hi Everyone,

So I'm reaching a point where I think it's time to apply to some schools. The only problem is my wife loves her job and her Company has offered to pay for her to do a part-time MBA which is a pretty sweet deal, but it definitely locks her into the SF Bay Area for several years to come. I'm wanting to do a FT program, and although there's two great schools to choose from out here, I'm sure that I'll need a bigger sample of apps to stand a chance of getting into a decent school... which leads us to the long distance option.

Has anyone done this in school, or know people who have? Is it fairly common in b-school for married ppl to move off on their own? My wife sounds totally okay with it, and is really supportive of whatever I want to do (maybe i should be worried :roll: ). This nice thing is this would free me up to apply to some of my dream schools that are in locations that I know she would hate (Dartmouth, Chicago,...). But I'm just wondering if it's going to be totally miserable doing the LDR thing for 2 yrs (less internship perhaps).

Any thoughts would be awesome! Thanks.
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 30 Jul 2009, 12:53
I'm just getting ready to do this -- my wife is moving to start work while I stay in NC to do my MBA at Duke.

I get the impression there are a handful of married couples who do this every year. I've spoken to a few folks in my class who are in this situation and a few in previous classes. It seems doable, but it really depends on the kind of relationship you have. My wife and I have spent several summers on opposite sides of the Atlantic for her to study and work, and I've worked on long-term engagements abroad where I was gone for 2-3 weeks and home for 2-3 weeks, rotating back and forth. We knew we could handle it, and because of her flexible schedule and the distance, we'll be able to see each other 2-3 times a month.

I think for us the decision came down to a pretty simple calculus -- our relationship is really solid, so we can leverage that to get what we want done. It's best for both of us that I do this degree, and the schools where she's working aren't an option.

I would look carefully at how you're going to manage the relationship day to day and month to month, though. We visited Tuck and decided no right away because of the isolation and (especially) the distance from her to an airport with direct flights to Manchester, and then the distance from Manchester to Hanover. It just wasn't doable for us.

So that might play into it for you. There are direct flights from Chicago to San Francisco, so it might be doable for you to hop down to Midway from Hyde Park and head out for a weekend. Or you might decide Central or East Coast to Pacific is too many time zones to work out good times to talk online or by phone. Very personal choices. But in principle, it's doable and is done by a minority of b-school students. In your case, the fact that you'll both be doing MBAs might strengthen the relationship, too -- more to talk about, more compassion for each other going through the same challenges, etc.

Best of luck!
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2009, 00:27
I can definitely relate to this topic because it's something that I'm considering too. From what I've heard the first year of bschool is pretty consuming and I'm concerned about how that might affect my wife if she doesn't end up finding a job wherever we end up. With her good job and friends in our current location, I'm having a hard time convincing her that moving at all is a good idea. We've been through prolonged periods apart before which is a double edged sword; on one hand we know it can be managed but at the same time we also know how difficult it can be. I think that all that can be done is to apply to schools and see what happens with acceptances. As Skitalets mentioned though, there are certain arrangements that are probably set up for success, in terms of time zones and airport locations. Even just considering doing long distance does take a bit of relationship soul searching, but I'm confident that all will work out for the best.
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2009, 08:33
I am in a similar situation, unfortunately. :( My gf is going to pharmacy school for 4 yrs. I am looking at a long distance relationship for the next four year and possibly even longer. It's depressing. What I have putting into consideration is not only how close will bschool be, but also the price of the airfare from different airport. Lets say

City A, distance 350 miles, airfare $400
City B, distance 480 miles, airfare $200
City C, distance 200 miles, airfare $250

Then combine these consideration with the ranking and profile of different school. This also might be a recruiting advantage or disavandage depend on where you try to be. True, it's a pain, but I guess it's just part of what life throws at ya.
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2009, 09:33
Yeah, thanks guys. Skitalets, what you said about Tuck makes sense. It is awfully remote so it would be difficult to take a three day weekend and fly out the west coast. I know it's probably not worth worrying about too much until I get accepted somewhere, but it's just such a pain to write a bunch of essays and solicit recs if it's a bad solution for us. Sometimes I just wish I married a less ambitious girl... if only she could be a couch potato it would make these decisions so much easier...

Anyways, best of luck to you guys. Maybe we'll meet in some airport someday while going to visit our better halves. Skitalets, have fun @ Duke, should be a great time.
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2009, 13:28
How bad it is depends on your relationship. I know people who are halfway around the world apart from their spouse and some who are 2 or 3 hours by car. Some people make it work amazingly well...others not so much. Its definitely a huge strain so dont think its going to be easy. Just for the summer during internships its tough on people, I have heard some interesting tales of complaints about lack of time together. During the year you probably wont want to be traveling every weekend since there are so many fun things going on at school and if she/he is working fulltime they probably wont want to always be doing the travel. If your relationship is great then it wont be a huge issue but every little issue will be magnified 10,000 times. Marriages are much more likely to survive, it seems the majority of dating relationships end and sadly some marriages end or are damaged beyond repair. I do have a friend who is no longer married, so take a long hard look in the mirror.

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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 31 Jul 2009, 13:42
I think what River said is true. Partly I think is due to the lack of understanding and expectations from spouse/partners. Obviously, school and companies want you to bond and form relationships with your classmates and co-wokers during internships. The social networking burden put a lot of strains on a relationship, even more so when people are further apart.
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 11:19
billyjeans, you bring up a really good point. My wife and I were talking about the whole bschool topic recently and she asked me straight up what my priorities would be during school. I said that I felt school activities fell into either requirements like class, meetings, and recruiting or into non-essential like clubs, parties, etc. I tried to relate that while school requirements would take up a lot of time, that she would still come first before the non-essential stuff. However, as current students have related, all the non-required networking and socializing is a huge part of the experience. So the question I'm asking myself now is, how can one's significant other fit into the whole business school life in a positive way so that it's better than doing long distance. The tough part is that there's so many variables like can he or she find a job in the new location, the local environment, meeting new friends, and so forth. This is wrecking havoc on my school choices and application strategy, but unfortunately there are no easy answers . . .
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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2009, 15:05
Picking the right school can make a huge difference in how your significant other deals with school. Some programs have great reputations and others not so much. I definitely recommend factoring that into you decision, I know my marriage was way more important than any degree. If they are going to school with you that should definitely be something to think about. If there isnt access to a good airport it could quickly sink visits. Attending Tuck is probably not a great idea if you are going to be doing long distance...traveling to Hanover isnt exactly the easiest thing for a weekend and will probably result in some fights for most couples.

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Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2009, 20:44
Yeah, everything you guys are saying makes a lot of sense. I just got back from a week away from home and it was pretty bad, I'm beginning to think I may be delusional to even consider a 2yr LDR. We've only been married two years so I think I might be asking a bit too much at this pt. In any case, I'll be putting all my efforts into Haas and Stanford for the time being and will hope for a miracle. Thanks again guys!
Re: MBA = Long Distance Relationship   [#permalink] 09 Aug 2009, 20:44
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