This strategy is most popular among working couples who have steady jobs as the opportunity cost associated with two MBA programmes is very high.
Consultants said if just one of the two wants to study in a country like the US, it's difficult for the spouse to find employment. Most couples want to study together because they don’t want a separation.
A private equity professional became an eleventh-hour MBA applicant last year, desperately reaching out to Mumbai-based consultant Vibha Kagzi, when the Round 2 (R2, in MBA parlance) application season had begun in the US. Her fiancé was trying his luck at Ivy League business schools for an MBA and she faced a tough choice — spend two years in a long-distance relationship, or sacrifice the job in Mumbai and head to the US for her own MBA.
The consultant put her through a gruelling training schedule ahead of the R2 deadlines. At the end, the couple had to settle for MBAs in two different schools.
Another couple decided to pursue its US MBA dreams together while working at a multinational corporation last year.
Numbers are going up
Amit Sharma (not his real name), 30, is waiting to hear back from INSEAD (France) on his wife’s application for a seat at the graduate business school with campuses at France’s Fontainebleau, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi. Sharma is already at the school that offers one of the world’s most competitive one-year MBA programmes, and his wife is evaluating his experience and opportunity costs before deciding to apply for a seat at the school soon after her husband graduates.
Arun Jagannathan, co-founder of the Bengaluru-based CrackVerbal consultancy, told the Economic Times his company deals with at least five such couples a year.
The numbers have gone up. Student visas are much easier to get than work visas. It is easier to get through a good school than to wangle a work permit. People come in the same year, but we also see an increase in referrals — of one partner recommending the other in the next year.
Rajiv Ganjoo, president of Leverage Edtech, said he has seen several newly-married couples who want to join a business school together. Recently, a couple came to him to ask how to apply to B-schools together. Cost is a deterrent sometimes and there are instances when one of them drops out.
New Delhi-based consultant Mansie Dewan told the Economic Times that couples targeting international schools together look for global careers. She said that:
The MBA has practically become a pre-requisite to move ahead in senior-level management roles. So, for couples with similar experience, it is often a prudent choice. Some do it one after the other, so that one can fund the other's education.
Consultants said sometimes the big draw is an easier US work-visa for alumni of US schools. The newly-weds are not the only sets of couples reading the basics of grammar for the GMAT, the standardised MBA test: Many of those applying have been married for anywhere between four and ten years, said Jatin Bhandari, CEO of PythaGurus.
In the past one year, I have seen at least six couples who have opted to study abroad, with a lag of just one year between them.
That way, one gets to earn and the other to study. And the next one starts out on his/her MBA journey when the spouse is back at work again.
Source: The Economic Times