The Pursuit of an MBA is a life changing experience for every person who has ever taken up the challenge. My time here has created lifelong friendships, stretched my vision of what is possible, exposed me to concepts and opportunities that I had never known of before, and challenged me to grow as a friend and as a leader. The thing that has most defined my Wharton experience, however, has not been my time in class, travelling with friends, in a small group dinner or even the myriad of club positions that many of us hold dearly. When I think about Wharton, I think about my wife and our first two years of marriage.
I showed up to pre-term my first year two days after my wedding with a head full of dreams, a car full of stuff and not much else. Having just been admitted off of the waitlist two weeks before, we had no time for a honeymoon, or to hunt for an apartment so I came alone and slept on a friend’s floor for ten days until we got an apartment. Once my wife finally did arrive in Philadelphia, there was little opportunity to make up for lost time. We needed to learn how to be a married couple in parallel with the experiential pressures of business school. Demands from my time at Wharton evolved from full class schedules, late night learning team meetings, Focused Recruiting Period (FRP) and a summer as a management consultant to a second year as a Leadership Fellow, WGA executive, and a leader in the AAMBAA community to say nothing of the constant need to attend social events. As each new challenge presented itself, my wife acted as my proverbial front line of defense encouraging me, praising me, and more often than not, giving me a very necessary kick in the ass to get things done.
As the sprint that was my life as an MBA student draws to a close, it is crystal clear to me that each and every success and failure that I’ve had here has been defined by my wife running by my side and in some cases, carrying me to the finish line. This is not just true for me but for hundreds of other Wharton partners. Some have run the proverbial race through extremely long distance relationships and parenthood. Others have put careers on hold and subordinated their own professional aspirations. Almost all have struggled in some way with the duplicity of having one foot in the Wharton MBA life and another in the real world. We needn’t look any further than the first year Thanksgiving relationship status purge or the popularity of terms like “married but available” to see how the gauntlet run by partners can be more difficult than a student’s time here. For my family, earning a Wharton MBA has been a job for two. I offer a humbled “thank you” to my wife and every other member of the Partner community. You’re all the Real MVPs.