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Applying to Business School as a “Couple”?

March 22 2016 By The MBA Exchange
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For individuals considering a top MBA education, being in a committed relationship can add pressure and complexity to an already challenging process. It’s difficult enough for one person to get admitted, let alone a couple.

From having helped dozens of couples consider, pursue and gain admission to top business schools over the years, The MBA Exchange has gained valuable insights on how to choose the right path for those in relationship.

If you’re a twosome considering the same MBA program, the immediate question is: Should we reveal in our applications that we have a serious relationship OR should we just apply as two individuals? Here are 3 key considerations to help you answer that question more confidently and comfortably:

1. Is the targeted school “right” for each of us?
Unless each partner’s background, goals and preferences align with a school’s curriculum, culture and offerings, it’s not clear that this MBA program is the best choice for either or both of you. So, do your research to confirm whether you’re likely to gain the knowledge, perspective and network that you each want and need.

2. Are both candidacies truly competitive for the targeted school?

The good news is that MBA programs tend to like having couples matriculate together. By admitting you and your significant other, the b-school figures that you’re more likely to accept their offer of admission and thus improve their yield. And couples can bring a more mature, “settled” to campus that helps to offset the party atmosphere that can negatively reflect on a school. The not-so-good news is that if one member of the couple does not a competitive candidacy, the b-school may fear that the stronger applicant will decline an offer of admission if the weaker applicant is not also admitted, thus damaging their yield.

3. Is it very important that you both attend the same business school?
Would you really turn down a more selective and prestigious school if you’re admitted but your partner is not? How would you feel if your partner faced the same dilemma? Should you both attend a less-selective school if it’s the only one that admits both of you?

If you’ve answered YES to those 3 questions, but are still unsure about applying as a couple, the best step is to visit the campus – together! As you observe classes, meet students, and experience the community, discuss your likes and dislikes openly. Confirming your feelings while listening to those of your partner will help you decide if this is the right school “for me, for you, for us, or for neither.”

Of course, there’s no big decision or commitment to make unless and until you are both offered admission to the same MBA program. So, to get a preliminary sense of your strengths and vulnerabilities for certain targets, we suggest that you get a free, expert evaluation of your candidacy. If the feedback confirms that the target school could be a good fit, then you can move forward with your applications and see whether the admissions committee concurs.