Sunday, November 2, 2014

Business School - A Family Affair Part One

Putting your life on pause for two years to go back to school for an MBA can be pretty daunting.  For those of us with partners and/or families, it can be downright terrifying.  I remember wondering how my family of four (at the time) would survive in Chicago with no income and a hefty tuition bill.  Suffice it to say that we definitely faced some tradeoffs to make everything work out, but in the end I wouldn’t exchange my experience so far at Booth for anything.

Before I go much further, I should probably step back and introduce myself.  I’m Craig Carter and as a married father of 3 (my son was born 2 weeks into my internship last summer – another adventure for another blog post) and second year student at Booth this year, I’m going to be giving you all a glimpse into my life.  It’s not that I think my life or experiences at business school are especially remarkable, but I remember as I was looking into business schools there were loads of articles and websites about what my life would be like as a student, but not much about how this monumental decision would affect the rest of my family.  My hope is that over the course of this year, this blog will help to fill that void.  I’m planning on bringing in some unique perspectives from my classmates as well as sharing a lot of my own thoughts and experiences about Booth, living in Chicago, and MBA life in general when you’re bringing others along for your ride at business school.  Over the course of the year, I’d love to interact with any of you who have questions or field any suggestions for topics you’d like to have covered!
This is me and my family.  It is a proven statistical fact that the more children you have in a picture, the lower the probability of actually getting everyone to smile and look at the camera simultaneously.

For those of you who are still with me, I wanted to wrap up this post with a few pieces of advice I’ve learned the hard way this year.  

Tradeoffs – Realize that you will likely have different priorities than many of your single classmates coming into business school – and that’s ok!  Prioritize what’s most important to you and don’t be afraid of having to miss out on some social events or not being able to get all the studying in you think you need for straight A’s.

Support – In business school, one moment you’re being told you’re the best thing since sliced bread for even getting in, and the next your whole life seems to be shattered because some company doesn’t reciprocate your love for them.  Having a partner who can ground you when your head’s a little too big or pick you up when you’re down is a lifesaver!

Communication – It seems like this word always comes up when you’re talking about relationships, but beefing up on your communication skills so that you don’t wait until the night before to tell your partner that you have a recruiting dinner the next day and she’s going to have to stay home with the kids rather than go out with her friends (like she’s been planning for weeks) will save you lots of pain.  There are a million conflicting activities and your calendar will be full of potentially important meetings, so just be sure that there is an open dialogue so that your partner can be a part of the whole process.

That’s all of the unsolicited advice I have for this time.  Thanks for reading, and I look forward to being part of your b-school due diligence process!

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