MBA, Career or Marriage? Welcome to the ugly desi dilemma!

MBA vs Marriage

What would you choose – Marriage or MBA or Career? Each of these options fall in the ‘tremendously important’ category for us. And unfortunately for a whole lot of Indian candidates, all 3 seem to collide at the most inappropriate time.

The average age for the top MBA programs is around 26-27. And that’s when most Indians start thinking about marriage and (ahem) settling down. But there’s also that keeda gnawing in the background about getting a massst international degree before (sorry again) settling down.

And to add to the confusion, this is also the time when their careers are just on the verge of taking off. Management roles start beckoning after having put in several years of grunge work. So what do you do? 

A good friend forwarded an email. I usually junk forwarded mails, but the timing for this one was just right. I was addressing an MBA applicant’s query about timing.

The mail had the famous 30-second speech by Coca-Cola’s former CEO Brian Dyson. Lump ‘marriage’ into ‘family’ as you read it.

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass.

If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same.

You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

Whenever you face a dilemma again, think about this and see if it helps put things in perspective.

If there are other ways you’ve sorted out your dilemma, share your stories with us. Anonymous comments are more than welcome, if you don’t want your Gajodhar chacha to find out about your dharam-sankat.

Read these related posts:
MBA application for married couple from India
MBA after marriage
30 Signs that prove you’ve married an MBA
How this MBA applicant worked his marriage plans in the midst of rejections in MBA applications

Pic Source: Lifehacker

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// Sameer Kamat
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube


  1. Chaitanya Shah says:

    Superlike!!! The typical Indian/Male dilemma :)

  2. Reve says:

    So true..! I am 28 and I have been facing this situation since past 1 year.. Alas! :(

  3. Avinanda Dutta says:

    Sir the post is absolutely right , career can be resurrected but the rest cannot.

  4. Rohit Gupta says:

    I just loved the last two lines! :D
    I think slowly but surely, a shift is bound to happen when it won’t be a necessity to marry at an age defined by the prevalent norms of society. And yeah, the art of work-life balance is surely a mandatory one to master!

  5. Sameer Kamat says:

    Rohit: From the kind of applicant profiles we’ve been getting over the last few years, I think the shift has already started.

    Btw, saw your blog. You write really well. Author in hiding?

  6. Abhishek says:

    Hi Sameer,

    buddy you are magician. u read the dilemma i m going through. I am 28. I am software developer for the past 4 years.i have been thinking of doing MBA but i suppose i cant do before marriage as you very well mentioned in your article. But i want to grab it somehow.

    please clear my some doubts if possible , it would be helpful.
    Should i think of MBA now (Regular ) or after 10 years of experience which is executive MBA.?
    Difference between the above two.?
    How to manage finance in that period?


  7. Sameer Kamat says:

    Abhishek: You don’t need to wait for too long. We’ve had 2 Indian couples who went for US MBA this season for their respective degrees. That’s more difficult. If only one of the two has MBA plans, it’s a bit easier.

    • ramesh says:

      thanks sameer for the great article.You said if one of a couple has mba plans its easier.But suppose if one has mba plans and other one doesn’t accept or if the other one wants to be with you through mba program , how can it be done. especially when you are leaving a secure job with a family and dont have enough finances
      is it entirely the couples’ burden to bear with or are their universities who go extra mile to help married couples in getting through and completing mba

      • Sameer Kamat says:

        Ramesh, It’s pretty much the couple’s responsibility to manage. Don’t expect the university to make things easier after you get there.

        Plan in advance. If you don’t have the financial resources to host 2 people in a foreign country for 2 years, better not to strain yourself.

  8. Neeta says:

    Hi I m 28,I m software developer. Last one year was thinking to go for part time mba course. But some how could not manage. Now I got the admission in my field and also my parent forcing me and l would also like to go for marriage. Is it OK of I looking forward for guy who give me permission and support to complete my MBA an simultaneously I will Stat my course. Or I have to go with my parents and settled down without mba. Please suggest your valuable decision.

  9. Onkar says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Came across this article at the right time.

    I am 27 now and have been applying to colleges (2018-19 class and with 730 GMAT) since last year and was dinged by all of them.

    I had promised my parents that after a 1 year/17 months MBA program (such as ISB, NTU, HKU MBA), I will get married in 2019.

    Now as per my promise, I will have to get married no matter whether I secure an admit next year in (2019).

    Most confusing time of my life.

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