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I came across this term just yesterday, courtesy of a fellow INSEADer who updated me about INSEAD’s dubious reputation. I always knew there were hook-ups and break-ups, but never knew that a name had been connoted as well. Sample this statistic: there were apparently 14 divorces in the previous year (!!).

It’s sad to think that nearly 30-something year-olds do not have the maturity to realize that they are no longer undergrads, nor are they at some frat-party, and be more sensitive to their partners. How can they forget all those days when their significant other would have goaded them on to do the GMAT, write those applications, prepare for the interviews, wait nervously in eager anticipation for that acceptance call? How can they forget the loving empathy the partners extended when that dreaded ding(s) came? How can they forget all that encouragement and support their partners (at the expense of their time and energy) extended to keep propping up their egos each time it got bruised like a rotten apple?

Partners, IMO, go through more than the applicants/ students during this whole b-school process. They have to deal with the insecurity of leaving their jobs, relocating to an alien location, keeping themselves busy when their partners are at school, waiting eagerly at home to see their partners in the evening (which would in all probability be the high-point of their day), listening patiently to their partners as they rant about their day at school, everyday. And, I’m talking only about those partners who move with their partners. Long-distance relationship is even harder. The insecurities the non-studying partner has to bear are immense. They would always be worried about drifting apart, as the b-school bubble consumes the student more and more.

B-school can be crazy, but students have to remember all those years that brought them to b-school in the first place. One or two years should never change a person to the point where they don’t care about hurting their loved ones. B-school will end and reality will bite. Who do they turn to at that point?

I dedicate this post to all the partners of b-school admits. You go through more than anyone gives you credit for and you need to be applauded for that. And, to all those insufferable pricks who are selfish enough to forget that, remember that what goes around comes around and b-school is and can never be an excuse to end a marriage/ relationship. Grow up and act the part of a mature student at an elite b-school.


20 Responses

  1. I would love to see your comments on this topic after 8-10 months. I think it is too early to speak for you now.

    • Care to explain why?

      • Coz you seem to think that you know-it-all and the funny things is you have not started your MBA yet (sitting on the high ground and judging divorced families).

        • It’s funny how a couple of people have become so sensitive. The majority of my post was a tribute to partners and I should know their trials as I have one too. No doubt that there might have been pre-existing cracks in a relationship (which relationship does not have it?) which could have led to broken relationships. However, if those cracks were so wide, the relationship would have ended during the application phase itself as that is intense enough to cause rifts. My only point in this whole thing is for studying partners to be more sensitive and a little more self-aware before taking life decisions in the rarefied atmosphere of b-school. If that’s called know-it-all and judging families, you’ve misread the entire purport of the post and seem to be taking things out of context.

  2. Or maybe the whole MBA experience, with all it’s stresses, just exposes pre-existing problems?
    You seem to have a lot of pre-conceptions what the whole experience is going to be like. Why not just go into it with an open mind, and enjoy the experience?

    • The only pre-conception I have expressed here about b-school is that it will be extremely hectic, which has been borne out by countless student experiences. I’m all for the open mind and enjoying the experience; there’s no other way to enter school. However, there’s a difference between having an open mind and being outright irresponsible.

      • You’ve just rendered moral judgement on at least 14 people who you’ve never met, and whose circumstances you’re not familiar with. You claim they’re immature, insensitive, selfish, short-sighted and irresponsible.

        Did the possibility that they chose to divorce for perfectly valid reasons not even cross you mind? Seems preconceived to me…

        • I don’t think the original post was to render moral judgement. It really just echoes the fears and thoughts of partners..Thank you OMJ. It is a difficult decision to uproot life as you know it and watch your partner get headlong into something you can never be a part of only to watch from the sidelines. It surely will put your relationship through the acid test, and really the OP just reiterates how one must be sensitive to this.
          If the term ‘DIVORSEAD’ is what is causing this furore, I believe this has been wrongly addressed here as this is clearly not what the writer coined. I do agree that it sure is a catchy term though!!

  3. INSEAD states 30% of almost 900 students are married. 14 divorces out of 270 couples ie 5% divorce rate is much lower than in most countries. so nothing out of the ordinary here

    • OP has some valid points, but its true that we don’t know how such a high intensity experience can change us – maybe people just become more confident to express themselves after INSEAD – sometimes even for the better.

      However, the divorce rates analysis mentioned by dejavu is skewed – the per capita per year divorce rate of the United States is 0.74%.

      5% thus becomes 600% over the norm, which IS substantial.

      • Mate, the 5% rate is not per capita (insead population) but on the married population (270). you need to look at divorce rates of married population to do an apples to apples comparison. This rate in the U.S is around 35%.!

        • Great point. My bad. I should have checked my sources.

          Nonetheless, 35% of married people in the US get divorced over the entire period of their marriage (several years), and not just over a one year period…

  4. […] and finished his TA responsibilities.  INSEAD ‘10 Out of My  Jeans provided his opinion on relationships in business school. Fuqua ‘10 Syed needed to take two exams over three […]

  5. I am one of the few casualties from your senior batch and I do think that it is presumptous to stand on a moral high ground and comment on other people’s marriages, whether you are an incoming batch or just talking about your friends.

    What I can say is that the INSEAD experience often brings out problems in a relationship that probably existed even before the MBA, and it magnifies them tremendously as both parties are going through different experiences. It is then up to the couple whether to confront it or leave it.

    • This post is getting all the wrong sort of attention when I never intended it. My main purpose here was to applaud the partner who sometimes gets neglected in the process, both in real-life and blogs.

      However, I agree that the INSEAD experience is probably very very different for both parties, and I agree that school magnifies any pre-existing differences and it’s solely up to the couple to sort it out. I wish you the best of luck for the future.

      • OMJ,

        I am not sure if this is the case with INSEAD alone, but many times during the sessions i have attended b/w alumni and prospective students, this is indeed a topic. Alumni stresses on how intense the MBA experience can be, with no time for partners etc- this is not just people from INSEAD- i guess it is more of an MBA phenomenon.

        But then , many of us do go through more difficult times and hard work, and come out stronger in our relationships- its just a matter of what you prioritize. And in that sense, i stand by OMJ’s point.

  6. Your wife forced you to write this post. Admit it! :-)

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