How to Earn your MBA When your Spouse is also a Student
December 15, 2022
When you decide to pursue an MBA or other graduate degree, there are many questions to explore:
- Full-time or part-time program?
- Online or in-person classes?
- How will you balance coursework with other obligations?
The Online and Evening MBA programs allow students to work full-time while attending classes and completing coursework during evenings and weekends. Both programs are designed for busy working professionals in every stage of life.
At Virginia Tech, our MBA cohorts are diverse and filled with students from various backgrounds and life situations. Many have spouses, families, full-time jobs, and other important responsibilities. We even see couples who are attending grad school at the same time — couples like Benji and Kelsey.
Benji, a financial advisor and graduate of the Professional MBA, was a student in the program while Kelsey attended Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine. She is now a resident physician at Carilion Clinic. While both attended Virginia Tech for their undergrad education, Benji said Virginia Tech’s MBA program was an easy choice when he decided to pursue his MBA degree.
“Virginia Tech has become a second home to my wife and me,” he said.
Although it can be challenging to balance graduate-level coursework, career obligations, and family time, Benji and Kelsey are proof that it can work.
HOW TO BALANCE GRADUATE SCHOOL WITH FAMILY AND WORK RESPONSIBILITIES
These resources and skills can help you juggle your many responsibilities while maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
USE GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
“Time management is key,” Benji shared. “During the MBA program, the last ‘to-do’ on my calendar every day was ‘plan the next day.’” He recommends taking time on Sundays to plan for the week ahead, especially noting due dates for bigger assignments and preparing for upcoming meetings and other work-related obligations.
“I wanted to ensure I knew what I needed to do well before the day arrived so I could adequately prepare.”
MAKE AN EFFORT TO CONNECT WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND FAMILY
During busier times in your life, it's hard to find balance. Benji said he used the Sunday planning sessions to find pockets of time for rest, relaxation, and family.
“Take care of yourself,” he urges. “Being able to step away and refresh yourself will help bring the best you back to the table.” Add leisure time to your calendar just like you would any other important commitment.
CONNECT WITH YOUR COHORT
The other students in the MBA program understand the pressure of juggling many responsibilities and can be a great source of support.
“Make good relationships with the others in your MBA cohort,” Benji advises. “Virginia Tech did a great job of bringing a diverse group to the program, and I felt that I made friendships that will be long-lasting. Having others that you can bounce ideas off of, or just get their perspective on the topics discussed in class, can help tremendously.”
LOOK FOR A GRADUATE PROGRAM THAT SUPPORTS YOUR EDUCATIONAL AND PERSONAL GOALS
It's one thing to earn your MBA — it's another to make real progress toward lifelong goals in the process. Choose a graduate school and program that aligns with your personal values and goals.
Benji said he experienced “multiple layers of support” as he earned his MBA. The administrative staff was responsive and eager to answer questions, and the professors were flexible when it came to deadlines and scheduling conflicts.
“It truly felt that everyone involved was willing to help any way that they could.”
MAKING IT WORK
With the right pieces in place, it's possible to earn your MBA while balancing work commitments, family responsibilities, and time with your partner — even if your partner is also a grad student. Learn more about the MBA programs at Virginia Tech.