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# Dealing with Family (and Friends)

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Intern
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13 Mar 2008, 16:39
One thing about spouses from experience:

Keep them involved!!! My wife got her MBA in 2007 and I went to all the social functions with her. Most of them were drinking oriented but they were great networking opportunities for me and my wife. We ended up making great friends together. We still see about 25 graduates regularly. I felt like I was part of the program and knew every one of her friends. We got to spend more time together and school did not hurt our marriage one bit.
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13 Mar 2008, 16:39
Quote:
How do you justify going to school when you can't make those arguments?

I guess the great part is that you don't need to justify it. Tis better to regret something you have done than something you have not done.
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13 Mar 2008, 17:10
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My family's pretty different in some sense. My dad has a PhD from a top UK university and my mom has an MBA (PT) from a 3rd tier or even 4th tier UK school, but my mother has done exceptionally well as a hr consultant.

Nevertheless, I didn't get much support from my family. My parents thought that I should just do a PT program at some god forsaken school locally (something like a franchise from a top 100 school (Financial Times)) or that I should just go back to do a degree in economics or something.

I guess given my mother's background where she's managed to make it big with a no name MBA, I suppose that she thinks anybody should be able to do it. Straight up she told me that I'm wasting my time applying to a top school, management consultants are a scam and that graduates from H/S/W are dodgy. As for my dad, he's an academic, but he thinks I should stay local and study local.

However, after a while (2 years), my parents sort of realized that I really would like to have this opportunity to study abroad, learn and experience things that I could and will never experience if I study in a PT program here. However, I don't talk to my parents about my my intended career path post-MBA as my mother still thinks it's bullshit.

I think the turning point was when they saw me take and re-take the GMAT (1.5 years) and write essay after essay even though I had straight dings in my first application year. Now they've become quite supportive but still mention that I should consider studying local. I guess a lot of things have changed since my parents' time - schools have become global, career paths have become a bit more structured, etc. they're still trying hard to understand why a 26 year old graduate from a top school could potentially earn 5x more than a 32 year old.

But my ex girlfriend. She didn't like the idea and she still doesn't like that idea - we broke up mainly because I spent most of my time and energy preparing for and doing the MBA applications. I'm still trying to get back together with her and have done everything except share that I'm still interested in an MBA and that I'm just waiting for Chicago to get back to me. If I get accepted, I guess, that I will have to say good bye to her for good. I wish she could understand, or maybe it's just me....
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13 Mar 2008, 19:36
wow, I love this thread! +10 westsider!

Anyone have stories about co-workers /friends ending their discouraging words with "just sayin".
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13 Mar 2008, 19:40
putting this thread in the knowledge vault... hrm... where should it go...
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13 Mar 2008, 21:32
I'm happy to see this thread so popular. You know, misery loves company!

acdx - that is an incredible story. It sounds like you are very motivated, and know what you want to do, so I am sure you will do well.
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13 Mar 2008, 21:35
Just noticed this. Funny you should mention...
Quote:
Anyone have stories about co-workers /friends ending their discouraging words with "just sayin".

That's how the lines about an MBA destroying my marriage (from my mom and grandmother) usually end. Ooohhhh Yeah
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14 Mar 2008, 00:21

... not a spouse but gf situation. I am going to be half way across the globe from my gf when I go for MBA and so things don't look pretty right now. She is considering whether she wants to go the US and stays with me but she has her own career to build. I also don't want her to go just because of me ... I feel that it's going to be even worst for both of us if she just go there and just hang around and take some classes. And if things really went wrong, I don't want to waste her time (and mine) and destroy a few years of her life ... I am also uncertain where I will be post-MBA. It looks like we are heading for a breakup.
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14 Mar 2008, 04:06
Praetorian wrote:
wow, I love this thread! +10 westsider!

Anyone have stories about co-workers /friends ending their discouraging words with "just sayin".

Classic work interaction:

"Hey Bob (40+ years old). I'm getting my MBA"
"Ooh, yea ? I have my MBA too."
"Oh! I didn't know that."
"Yea, got it in 04. Where you going?"
"Chicago GSB"
"Woah! Why would you go there? Isn't it like $45,000 for an MBA there?" "Yea something like that, per year." "No way man I got mine for like$6K total. I went to (insert local school in far suburbs thats basically an adult education program that has detective degrees and such"
"Yea, thats great... I'm pretty happy with my choice though."
"Yea.... \$6K man... just sayin"
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14 Mar 2008, 04:43
Praetorian wrote:
wow, I love this thread! +10 westsider!

Anyone have stories about co-workers /friends ending their discouraging words with "just sayin".

"You want to WHAT and you're going to do WHAT?! You're an artist! Why are you going over to the dark side?!!"
"I don't see it that way. I see it as giving me the tools I need to run my own production company."
"That's so stupid. You could totally hire some bean-counter to do all that for you."
"I'd rather do it myself. One of our biggest complaints as artists is losing control over our own work, and we lose it to those very same bean-counters. I'm smart enough to do this myself."
"What if you don't get in anywhere?"
"Then I will apply to part-time programs next fall, and work it out that way."
"Still think it's totally stupid. Being in school with all those soul-sucking corporate drones?! Ugh. Just sayin'."

I have been through countless renditions of this conversation, ever since I began this process. I have never had so many people question my decisions - and my sanity - in my life. And I'm not used to that, and I don't like it. It would be different, I suppose, if I were, in fact, an idiot who had a history of showing no direction and no success in my chosen profession. But that's not true.
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14 Mar 2008, 05:32
Most of the grief I have received has been from friends. Why would you spend 100k + on school is the question I receive all the time and rhyme's dialogue sounds very familiar. 40+ year old gets MBA at X school (online) and wonders why his 27 year old is his boss is going to a top-15 b-school instead of paying 6k for a piece of paper with "southeastern university of the ozark internet-based school" (not a real school but I am sure i could start the website and have people give me 6k for a piece of paper) stamped on it.

My parents have been very supportive and so has my wife. My wife has never lived outside of TN so New Haven, CT may be a culture shock but she is ready and willing to move.

Ultimately though it does not matter what other people think. Sometimes people and parents can't see the long-term benefits of doing something especially many of my fellow "US Americans" (thank you Miss S Carolina). It may have something to do with our instant gratification mentality.
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14 Mar 2008, 08:25
kryzak wrote:
putting this thread in the knowledge vault... hrm... where should it go...

I'd put it in the B-school Application section, as the lack of support of family can often stop people from applying just as easily as a bad GMAT score!
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14 Mar 2008, 09:47
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My story is a little different than most peoples. My family has been hugely supportive of my business school pursuit. Especially my dad, who went so far as to purchase the online version of US News Best Graduate schools for me and has already started purchasing "XY Business School" clothing from the schools I have been admitted to even though I have not yet made a decision on where I'm going.

My parents are two extremely intelligent people who came from disadvantaged backgrounds (mom = recent immigrant family, dad = single parent home). They worked there way through college and eventually masters degrees at local schools, and made it all the way to upper-middle class/upper class status. Now days they live in a community where everyone else went to Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Penn/etc... They are proud of what they achieved, but I think they are still a little self concious of thier roots. My mom moreso, as here sister ended up marrying a rich Wharton grad who has sent all thier children there for undergrad b-school. Consequently there was a lot of pressure on my younger sister and I to go to a top notch colleges. I dutifully complied, though I think my mom almost had a heart attach when I turned down Princeton (a real Ivy, with real live rich people) for Cornell (a psuedo-Ivy for nerdy engineering kids like me). My younger sister went the opposite route (though she is actually smarter and more accomplished than me) and attended the school see enjoyed the most on here visit - the University of Delaware.

I had the misfortune of graduating from Cornell in 2001, post-dotcom bubble and post 9/11. I struggled academically in the extremely competative environment at Cornell's engineering school and only managed a 3.0 GPA (not as bad as it sounds, 3.3 is Dean's list) which really knocked my self confidence. Though I did an engineering co-op my junior year, the dotcom company I interned at went belly up and reciended my full-time job offer before I graduated. I tried to join in on-campus recruiting, but I was too late to land one of the very few jobs available. Six months out of school I was living out of my car in Ithaca with no money and 70K plus of student loans coming due. I eventually landed an engineering job with the NY state government about eight months out.

Meanwhile in Delaware my sister was thriving. She was on full scholarship and was one of the top students in her class with a near 4.0 GPA. She graduated in 2005 and immediately went to work at as a paralegal for a large NYC law firm. In her first year she made over 80K (a bit more than I have ever made in a year as an engineer), and today is lead paralegal at the same firm. The firm has agreed to be pay a good portion of her lawschool or business school tuition (which ever she eventually decides on) if she gets into a good school next year.

Our very different undergrad experiences have made me really question the value of a top degree from a "name" school. When I started applying to b-school, I was basically only considering the affordable, local programs. My parents and my wife have been huge motivators pushing me to reach higher. Now that my b-school application process is coming to an end, I am very happy that they did push me. I've gotten in to a couple of excellent schools, and even managed some scholarships. Meeting the current students at those schools really made me realize how much I enjoyed Cornell, and begin surrounded by sharp eager minds. I'm thrilled to be headed back to school next fall.

I'm glad to have learned early in life that its me, and not my school, that has and will make me a success. Good luck to everyone next fall wherever you are headed. I know you will all do well, because though success comes from passion not pedigree, everyone here seems to have that passion and the pedigree to boot.
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14 Mar 2008, 10:09
Excellent topic. I am currently making a good living, have been in this position for about 8 years now. Everyone (friends, family, girlfriend) is wondering why I would leave this job (read: 90k/year, excellent benefits) and quit to pursue an MBA from a top notch college.

I find myself asking that Q to myself though, sometimes...
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14 Mar 2008, 10:09
That is a great story PE, nice to hear something uplifting here as well!
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14 Mar 2008, 10:27
I hear ya, TimeSquareDesi. I'm in the same situation, 7 years, own a condo, good salary and benefits, living a good life... but like someone said before, the thing that sets us apart is that burning ambition to do something that we'll love, to change society in some way or another, and to do better, however you define "better".
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14 Mar 2008, 10:27
Wow, PE, that's a terrific story. Kudos to you!

I'm making a pretty big career switch, but didn't actually get much push-back from anyone.

Actually, that's not entirely true... my parents took some time to get used to the idea. My folks have a routine. Whenever I call home, they each grab an extension so we can all talk at the same time. This is what happened when I told them about my B-school plans.

-----------

Mom: That's great. Are you going to take the attending position at (Med School X)?

Dad: No, I think he liked (Med School Y) more. Son, which one are you going with?

terry12: Neither. After a lot of consideration, I've decided to leave medicine and go to business school.

terry12: Umm... I've really given this a lot of thought, and I'm pretty excited.

terry12: Well, do you have anything to say?

Mom/Dad: (Mumbling, in a combination of Hindi- which I kinda understand- and their local dialect, which I don't understand at all. I do know that the equivalents of stupid and idiot were bandied about.)

terry12: Hello?

-----------------

And that's the way it went for quite a while. Thankfully my brother had made a roughly equivalent career switch a few years ago... so my parents eventually came around. And my friends and girlfriend have all been mightily supportive
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14 Mar 2008, 10:35
Terry, when I read you were a physician (in the profile thread) and switching fields, I was shocked! But you know how it is, all Indian parents want kids that are doctors and lawyers - NOTHING ELSE! So you can see why they were left speechless

kryzak, better is a good word for it. For me, I have this gut feeling that I can do greater things, and feel I should never settle for anything less. It's like Kaizen - the Japanese strategy - I feel the need for relentless improvement.
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14 Mar 2008, 10:56
TimeSquareDesi wrote:
But you know how it is, all Indian parents want kids that are doctors and lawyers - NOTHING ELSE! So you can see why they were left speechless

TSD - it should be doctors and engineers! Most Indian parents would like to keep their childen away from courts and the gov'mt in general
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14 Mar 2008, 11:18
Its hot off the oven. My elder brother today suggested that i quit all this "MBA thing". If not, i should look at IGNOU's (IGNOU is an open university for long distance education in India. Basically its a worthless paper degree) part time MBA correspondence course.

In general my family has never had a say in my decisions because of the fact that they have absolutely no knowledge of the outside world. My parents have no idea what an MBA is or what it can do for me. They kinda let me do my thing knowing that all decisions i have taken for me since i was 15 have worked well. I have fought all my battles alone and this one is no exception.

As far as friends and colleagues are concerned, there has been opposite effect. In the past 6 months or so, i have inspired 4-5 of my friends and colleagues and they are getting ready for the next app season.
Re: Dealing with Family   [#permalink] 14 Mar 2008, 11:18

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