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Why Love Blossoms At Business School

MBA students are smashing the 'divorce course' myth, showing how love can blossom at business school

Thu Feb 14 2019

BusinessBecause
For many couples, the important questions in their relationship are, ‘When do we want to get married?’ or, ‘How many children do we want?’

But for some couples, a more pressing question is, ‘How will our relationship survive an MBA?’

With its high contact hours and competitive environment, business school might not appear the kindest environment for love to blossom—the MBA in some corners is even spoken of as the ‘divorce course’.

That seems a mere myth though, and the truth sheds light on a little more optimism. This Valentine’s Day, we meet the MBA students showing why love blossoms at business school.


Sandra & Oliver, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Class of 2017

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In 2016, Sandra Perrett and Oliver Jones made the decision to move together from Australia to the UK. Oliver had been accepted to study an MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of...

, while Sandra was to begin working at Saïd as their marketing manager.

The couple was aware of the lifestyle change of an MBA student. “Oliver was very aware that the program would be long hours,” Sandra remembers, “meaning a large amount of time away from each other.”

The success of Oliver and Sandra’s relationship was down to cooperation. While Oliver’s program required a large time commitment, it was crucial that they undertook the whole process together.

Honesty was key to this. It was important to be “as open as possible about the commitment,” Sandra emphasizes, ensuring that they had a mutual understanding about the requirements of the course.

And of course, their proximity helped. “I absolutely loved the fact that I was working within the staff area at Saïd, and Oliver was just next door studying and preparing for his assignments,” Sandra beams.

In between the busy schedule of an MBA program, remembering the little romantic things is crucial. For Sandra and Oliver at Saïd, this really made the difference.

“When Olli had busy weeks,” Sandra recounts, “he’d quickly cycle seven minutes home, spend an hour with me for dinner, and then head back to school to finish off an assignment.”


Maria & Oliver , Vlerick Business School, Class of 2017

Around their time-consuming business degree at Vlerick Business School in Belgium, Maria Garcia Salmones and Oliver Regidor stuck together wherever possible.

“If there is an event where partners are allowed,” Oliver recommends, “bring your partner along so he/she can get to know some of the classmates.”

In fact, studying the same course aided their understanding of the commitment. “We understood much better than non-MBA partners what it takes to complete an MBA program,” Oliver muses.


Andrew & Helen, London Business School, 1981

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MBAs often throw together a variety of students from different professional and academic backgrounds.

The different skill-sets that an MBA brings together can also be the glue which holds together a relationship. For Andrew Maxwell and Helen Leighton, this was certainly the case.

Their paths crossed for a semester in 1981, when they were both studying on the MBA program at London Business School. Andrew, from Manchester, was in his second year, while Helen was on a semester exchange from McGill Business School in Montreal (now Desautels Faculty of Management). They're still happy together today.

“There was instant interest and attraction,” Helen recalls, “something beyond logic and science definitely happened to both of us.”

Appreciating their academic differences—Helen’s background was in psychology, while Andrew’s was in engineering—helped when it came to their relationship.

“I had developed an appreciation of how different skills and perspectives enrich relationships and create a wonderful dynamic,” Andrew notes. “This helped me really appreciate Helen’s perspectives.”


Natalya & Adrian, Imperial College Business School, Class of 2014

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All of our Valentine's Day couples reject the MBA's ‘divorce course’ reputation.

Exemplary of this are Natalya and Adrian Walker who, after meeting on their MBA at Imperial College Business School in London, went into business together.

Their shared passion for boating, along with the skills they gleaned from the MBA, led them to co-found Boataffair, a boutique boat-sharing platform.  

“We realized that we could work together […] in a very constructive way,” Adrian says, “and this, in conjunction with what we have privately, gave us a massive boost.”


So, it seems Valentine’s Day will be a busy one on business school campuses this year. MBA students can in fact find ways to keep love alight while on the program.

For many, it would seem, business school offers much more than just a business degree.

Student Reviews

Imperial College Business School

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Innovative, Immersive and an Excellent Curriculum

The MSc Strategic Marketing course opens many avenues into the business world at Imperial. The coursework consists of group-based assignments, individual reports, and sometimes, examinations. The Careers team helps you with your CV, Cover letters, and other job application support. Imperial truly lives up to its name!

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