How Neeley Embraces MBA Spouses and Significant Others

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TCU Intramural Flag Football Game

Neeley School MBA students receive an education that’s both personal and connected. Neeley's small class sizes and low faculty-to-student ratio create an intimate learning environment, and an active alumni and business network connect our students to events and opportunities they wouldn’t find elsewhere.

But our community wouldn’t be complete without our students’ spouses and significant others, who act as an extension of the Neeley School family for our married and coupled students.

“One of the reasons my fiancé picked TCU was the individualized attention and personalized program feel,” says Angela Campbell, fiancée of first-year Michael McCarter. “I think the spouses and significant others who are involved in the program are a natural extension of the community that TCU has built.”

Beginning with the START workshop at the opening of a new school year, students’ spouses and significant others are invited to connect with others over dinner and introductions, hosted by second-year spouses and significant others, followed by a tour of the building where most MBA classes are held.

“It was interesting to hear from [second-year] spouses who were continuing on with normal life during the full-time MBA program, and I think it gave me hope that this wouldn’t be a two-year program that ultimately put a halt on regular activities and the natural progression of life (for example, engagements, weddings, starting a family),” says Campbell. “In our small group of first-year full-time MBA significant others, we’ve had two engagements, one baby and one more on the way!”

Following the START workshop, Jennifer Crowther created a Facebook group for MBA spouses and significant others. They use the group to plan gatherings and outings with each other.

Though not all Neeley students are married, the Neeley School believes supportive relationships from loved ones — whether family members or significant others — are essential to a student’s success. We strive to educate spouses and significant others on the rhythm of the program and what students will experience, and how that might manifest in terms of time commitments, stress levels, etc.

“We are the support system for our spouses/significant others, so we as a group have a bond that not many can understand,” says Crowther. “The first semester for a new TCU MBA is always the hardest. I knew that I could talk to any of the spouses/significant others and they would have the same thoughts and feelings as I did. Personally, it helped me get through that first semester.”

Andres Penaherrara, husband of first-year MBA Daniela Gordillo, lives and works in Ecuador while his wife attends TCU. Amid managing a long-distance relationship, Penaherrara says his connection to other spouses and significant others helps him stay connected. “It is very valuable for me to know that the university is concerned about spouses and significant others and makes us feel as important as their students,” he says.

Penaherrara hopes to soon join the ranks of MBA students at TCU and is awaiting his acceptance into the Neeley School. “By supporting my wife and hearing from her experiences, I already feel part of the program.”

In addition to formal, structured events, many informal gatherings are initiated throughout the year, including monthly dinners out, a book club, participating in runs and sporting events, date nights and play dates for the kids.

Spouses and significant others are invited to enjoy program-sponsored events, including athletic events and football tailgate parties, our annual alumni weekend, international trips and cheering on the students in the annual first-year versus second-year flag football game.

“The TCU MBA staff does a wonderful job getting to know us on a personal level. I truly enjoy seeing Peggy and Anne at MBA social events chatting with everyone,” says Crowther. “They do a wonderful job including us in any TCU event. It’s nice getting to know the staff who spend the most time with your spouse/significant other for the next two years.”

The MBA program is strenuous and can be stressful on relationships, but by creating a warm, welcoming and supportive environment for students’ spouses and significant others, the Neeley School hopes to take some of the pressure off of relationships, allowing our students and their families to thrive during the program.

“Regardless of what TCU event we’re attending, whether it be a tailgate, dinner, book club or on our trip to Chile, I’ve never felt more welcomed,” Campbell says.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program. 

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