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MBA after marriage

Most MBA applicants aiming for the regular 2 year MBA programs finish their MBA before marriage. When you are single, life isn’t as complex. But if you are among the few lurking on our website looking for GMAT tips or MBA admissions advice, chances are you have reached the age where your parents / society, your first grey hair and concerns about your diminishing sperm count make you wonder whether an MBA after marriage is a good idea. Or should you finish your MBA before marriage and then think about ‘settling down’.

For those who haven’t married yet, and are struggling with the decision, we published this article a long time ago – MBA, Career or Marriage? Welcome to the ugly desi dilemma!

This time we try to empathise with those who’ve already bitten the dust. The big question to answer is whether an MBA after marriage is still worth it.

Without stretching the suspense, the quick answer is – yes an MBA after marriage can make a lot of sense if you plan for it well.

But do spend some time getting to know about how things will be different for you compared to those lucky single (ready to mingle, while making their bank accounts jingle) classmates of yours.

Why even consider an MBA after marriage?

The most common answer is that the mid-career crisis is probably going to hit you, not 1-3 years after graduation, but when you are closer to 10 years into your professional career. ‘Mid’ doesn’t really do justice to it, because you have a long career that’s still waiting for you. But that stagnation and the frustration levels definitely start peaking around that time. The key reasons are:

– You got into your undergraduate degree (engineering, commerce, science etc) when you were too naive. And the jobs that came your way were all in the same discipline. Now that you are more mature, you’ve realised that this isn’t exactly what you had in mind when uncles and aunties asked you – Beta, what do you want to be when you grow up?

– The other reason could be that you are among the fortunate few who got into the stream that you like, but your undergraduate qualifications are just not sufficient to give your career the fillip it requires to zoom into the next (management) cadre.

– Maybe you love the job and your boss and your colleagues. But you’d also like to get some dhinchak photos of Disneyland and Eiffel Tower on your facebook page, just like the rest of your classmates from engineering days do.

These are all justified reasons for you to consider an MBA after marriage.

What are the big challenges when you start an MBA after marriage?

Assuming you are taking your spouse (and kids?) with you, the biggest challenge is the expense. The tuition doesn’t vary of course. But the rest of your MBA costs will need to be bumped up. When your salary has stopped saying it’s monthly hello to you, every single cent (ok ok, paisa) you spend can pinch.

Your wife (or husband) may have a fantastic career here. So if you have both decided to bid adieu to your employer, there’s the other complication of whether s/he will find a good job in the new country.

When your buddies in class are planning to go out for a movie, or party or a sporting event, you may not always be in a position to drop everything and join them. You will need to prioritise. And that means you will need to make some sacrifices.

What if I go alone?

You may decide to leave your wife / husband / kids behind for 1 – 2 years, especially when there are personal, professional and financial constraints. But if you have the flexibility, it’ll be great to take your partner with you to experience the joys and pains of being in another country to re-boot your career.

Your spouse can be your biggest support system when you are feeling low (and there’ll be plenty of those moments during your MBA journey).

Then there are also cases where couples decide to go for an MBA together. There are other risks and rewards there. If there is enough interest in that topic we’ll cover it separately.

We recently helped a newly married couple get into the same university with a partial MBA scholarship. It’ll be interesting to see them competing against each other in the class (for team events, presentations).

Incidentally they got their MBA admits one day before marriage along with the scholarship decision. So it was a nice marriage gift to them from the MBA Crystal Ball team. If I can convince them to share their story on our blog (and I’ve been trying) you’d read their experience soon.

Edit: Here’s the story we promised about the MBA application for married couple from India.

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

13 thoughts on “MBA after marriage”

  1. Thank you so much for this article Sameer. You are doing a great job.

    I know, I will be doing my MBA after marriage and can very well co-relate to this article. Right now, I am planning to get done with my GMAT before my marriage next year. I will be going for one year executive MBA from India.

    Though, if you feel like, would you mind posting something a case where both husband and wife plan to do MBA after marriage and that’s also together. I know, this can be very financially challenging.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best Regards,
    Rahul Sehgal

  2. Very nice have boosted my morale quite a bit. i am a civil engineer from Pakistan currently working in Qatar in a multinational geotechnical contractor company. i did my MSc in constr. mgmt from UK and have an experience of around 6 years. i just got fed up of pure engineering a month back and now i am going nuts to pursue my MBA. i had given my GRE in 2007 and got a 1200 score. I have started preparing for my GMAT but i get quite tipsy when i realize that i cannot afford to finance my MBA with a wife and kid to support. Really looking forward for some advice from you.

  3. @Jibran: You will not be the only one to attend an international MBA program with your wife and kid.

    In fact, the guy typing this response was in those shoes some time back. Also, in Cambridge, I had a classmate from Pakistan who came with his wife and two kids. There were students from other countries who came in with a few kids and graduated with an extra kid. It’s all about time management and juggling your studies with family life.

    On a serious note, your family can be your strongest support system when you are working hard to give them a good life.

  4. I have plan to pursue my MBA next year. I got married recently. Not much financial back up although my wife is working. I will have 5 years of experience next year. Kindly suggest is it a good idea for 2 year MBA or should i wait one more year and go for 1 year executive MBA? Kindly suggest.

  5. Tough for anyone to suggest what you should do, Sumit.

    Some folks we’ve worked with have taken their wives along for the MBA, which means the alternate source of income stops. Other spouses have stayed back rather than disrupt a career that’s been going well.

    Comes down to what you and your wife are comfortable with.

  6. Sure, you can, Mary.

    However, you’d need to ensure that you have the relevant support system in place (like schooling, daycare etc) to ensure that your kid has an academic and social life there as well. Specially when you’ll be spending a significant amount of time away from home.

    Facilities within the campus would be cheaper than private services.

  7. Hey Sameer,

    My fiancee is preparing for GMAT and planning to got abroad. I want to go with him. Is it possible. I mean we are not offically married yet.

  8. I have plan to pursue my MBA next year. I got married recently. I have a good financial back up . I have 8 years of experience . Kindly suggest is it a good idea for 2 year MBA or should i wait one more year and go for 1 year executive MBA? Kindly suggest.

  9. My wife plans to pursue my MBA next year. She has 4+ years of experience . Kindly suggest is it a good idea for 2 year MBA or go for 1 year executive MBA? Kindly suggest.


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