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Meet The Couples Whose Love Survived Business School

It's said you should never mix business with pleasure but your MBA return on investment need not be limited to your professional life

Wed Feb 14 2024

Business school has been the backdrop for many relationships—most famously, Prime Minister of the UK, Rishi Sunak, and his wife, Akshata Murty, first met during their Stanford MBA degree. 

This Valentine’s Day, we spoke to three couples who met before or during their studies, to take a closer look at love at business school.

From venturing into joint entrepreneurship to moving across the world together, we explore how business school has shaped their personal and professional journeys. 

If you’re contemplating an MBA or business master's with your partner and are looking for some advice, read on for some valuable lessons in love. 

Greta and Diego, MBA 2024, ESMT Berlin

Greta and Diego, together for six years, are in the final stage of their MBA degrees at ESMT Berlin. Originally from Peru, Greta worked in tech and Diego worked in supply chain management before moving to Germany. Their plans for after business school are to pursue careers in tech and retail in Germany.  aa872447d03fac26e488fdb0f58ad7724bf245c0.jpg

Studying an MBA abroad was Greta’s long-term dream. While Diego didn’t initially have MBA ambitions of his own, careful research into the career and networking prospects of the degree led him to reconsider.

Despite not speaking German before they arrived, the practicality of the ESMT MBA program enabled Greta and Diego to tailor it to their individual goals. With family connections in the city, abundant career prospects post-MBA, and scholarship opportunities, the program provides high return on investment at a competitive cost, explains Greta.

On the benefit of facing their MBA together, Diego explains: “Living with your partner who is your emotional support is very valuable. It’s also useful to compare results, share different points of view about a specific course or a specific company, and to divide labor in the home.” 

“Diego has been my biggest cheerleader and support,” adds Greta.

Their advice for couples moving abroad to an MBA? Live together first. Establishing everyday roles of creating a financial plan and organizing household roles are essential, particularly with the added stress of an intensive course and a new environment. 

“Both of you need to be on the same page in terms of not only the MBA program, but in the long term. What are your expectations after the MBA? Where do you want to be? What do you want to do?” says Greta.

Vitor and Leandro, International Business Postgraduate Program 2023, Porto Business School

Vitor and Leandro met in their native Brazil and moved to Porto together to complete the International Business Postgraduate Program. Leandro works in marketing and Vitor is a financial advisor to startups. After their studies, they lived in Paris for a while before settling in Lisbon.  e76a7ed0476ef1dc292c3539c5f0d3c23fb5b3f4.jpg

Initially planning on pursuing business school separately, the International Business Program at Porto aligned well with their respective industries: marketing and finance.

To reap the career benefits of the same program without compromising on networking prospects in separate sectors, they kept one rule: never stay in the same group. 

They knew each other’s professional goals more than anyone else.

“It was great because we could connect each other with some people in my group network that might be interested to talk to Leandro, and vice-versa,” says Vitor.

On the emotional benefits, Leandro adds: “When I was doing my final project, even if Vitor wasn’t in the same group or even close to me, to know that he was in the room motivated me and gave me more confidence.”

Starting afresh without friends or family is romantic, but certainly challenging. Their advice for going through a program abroad without an external support system is to take care of your mental health and relationship.

Much like their separate networking strategy, their top tips for couples are to establish rules and manage expectations as business school can be difficult to navigate.   

“You have to challenge yourself to do the best you can and to make the best of this time. In the end, it was a really nice thing to do together,” says Leandro. 

Céline and Victor, Master in Management 2012, NEOMA Business School

45-minutes from the city of love, Céline and Victor met in the sports association at NEOMA Business School. Married since 2020, they are co-founders of the last minute activity booking platform Hati Hati. Victor works in the company full-time, and Céline works in marketing.

Driven by her ambitions to advance her marketing career, Céline did not cross paths with the commercially oriented Victor in class. The pair became a romantic couple a few years after business school, but the roots of their entrepreneurial journey can be traced back to the student sports association where they first met.

On his time as president of the association, Victor says: “It’s a good way to discover how to manage projects, to respect all timings, to know all the strengths and weaknesses of the team. You have many responsibilities with a small team, so you have to find good ideas with small budgets.”

During their one-month stay in New Zealand some years later, the couple were inspired by a New Zealand-based app that allowed them to book activities. Back in Paris, they wanted to create a similar service for last minute activity booking. Bringing together their complementary expertise in marketing and commercial development, Céline and Victor created Hati Hati.

On becoming co-founders as a couple, Céline highlights the advantage of knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s a real advantage, because you can move forward even faster than with other people,” she says.  

Victor advises couples looking to embark on a similar experience together—whether as co-founders or business students—that they must love spending time together.

“Just keep in mind that [a joint business] will change a lot of things in your life,” he adds.

It’s important to be realistic about the challenges, but a strong partnership makes the risk worth the reward.

“It’s a beautiful adventure. It’s not easy, but that’s life,” Céline concludes.