Two years ago, before my First Day, I wasn’t sure why my wife would want to go with to First Day. After all, my wife and I were already living in Chicago and she was working at the University of Chicago Hospital. We felt like we knew the city and we knew the U of C, so at the time, we didn’t see the benefits. However, if for no other reason than getting an MBA is a huge investment for both of us, she came with me. We were pleasantly surprised how much we both ended up getting out of the event as partners.
Most of the events your partner will go to are run by the Partner’s Club at Booth. This name is incredibly apt, as you and your partner will be dealing with loads when you both join the Booth community. This club is basically a “must-join” for all partners coming into our community. You probably don’t see it now, but this community is a great resource and support network for your partner. For example, first years in the Partner’s Club all get together while their Boothies are away at the 3-day LOR retreat. More helpful is the support everyone gets during recruiting. As a student in the midst of recruiting, it’s hard to see how the stress of recruiting can impact the people around you. Luckily, the Partner’s Club helps provide a network of others dealing with their partner’s weekly 5-straight-of-classes-study-groups-and-recruiting-events marathon.
There’re also some under-appreciated benefits to being partnered at Booth. The “buzzword” way of looking at things is that getting an MBA is at least partially about your network, and having a partner at Booth helps you expand your network. While this is probably true, it’s also incredibly callous. The reality is that many of the closest friends I’ve made in business school were actual mutually-generated, where I would meet the student and my wife would meet the partner. There were even times when Rachel introduced me to some now-close friends where the relationship was instigated because of the partners’ relationship.
If, unlike us, you don’t already live in Chicago, you’ll get even more out of the experience. One afternoon of First Day will be devoted to touring neighborhoods in Chicago and seeing where Boothies actually live. Sure, I could tell you that most partnered students live in the South Loop, many families live in Hyde Park and most single students live in Lakeshore East, but there are exceptions to every trend. You and your partner should both be here to explore the neighborhoods yourselves and to ask the types of questions you should be asking before moving to a new city or neighborhood.
As a last-ditch effort to convince you both to come, I should also point out that there were some incredibly fun events at First Day. The picture accompanying this post was from our First Day. The last night, Booth hosted everyone at the Art Institute, providing us with appetizers, wine and some of the most fantastic artwork in the country. The event moves each year, and I don’t want to spoil any surprises. Just know that it will be a fantastic capstone to the weekend.
The benefits to coming to First Day as a student should be pretty obvious. You’ll get a great taste of what Booth is like and you’ll start meeting your classmates. While the benefits for your partner may be less obvious, the payoffs to coming are huge. Your partner will also start to get a taste of what your life in B-school will be, and you’ll both start meeting your extended support network for the next two years. Hopefully, Rachel and I will be seeing you around the Harper Center in a few weeks!