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.