Why the odds are good for finding a husband/wife at business school

Posted on January 30, 2011


Photo courtesy of phil_g

We hate and love to admit it, but business school is like a weird marriage-making commune.

Relationships bloom here (some in secret, at first). When we were at Kellogg, three couples that met at business school were already engaged by graduation. In the next six months, four more couples followed. It was like love dominoes.

So what’s with this phenomenon?

As one of my [married] friends exclaimed over Indian dinner during our first quarter of classes to our fellow sectionmates, “Business school is your last best chance to find a man.” Around the table, my single friends looked both panicked and enlightened.

Why is business school such good hunting grounds for a husband or wife? MBA Social has some theories:

MBAs like people. It’s no secret. Business people are social people. Half of management is cultivating [or already having] “soft skills”; to be successful, it requires understanding how people communicate, make decisions, work and play together. Social people tend to gravitate toward one another, and can skillfully manage relationships – professional or personal. We’d like to think this translates in the boardroom and in the…bedroom.

MBAs are focused equally on the social and academic aspects of graduate school. Okay, we admit this is a more tactful way of saying that business school just isn’t – or to be fair, doesn’t have to be – as academically rigorous as law school or medical school. No need to limit dates to just weekend nights. At business school, you can drink on a school night and not regret it the next day. Statistically, this means more dates, and more opportunities to find…a spouse?

MBAs are older than the average graduate/professional school student. The average business school student has 5 years of work experience under their belt, with a median age of around 27. Apart from Ph.D. programs, this is about the oldest it gets in graduate school. Many people arrive at school with husbands, wives, and kids. Seeing your peers with these kinds of relationships in their lives can definitely influence what you want, or think you should have.

MBAs students share similar goals and values. Not everyone goes to business school for the same reason, but we all go with personal goals that we hope business school will help us to achieve. MBAs understand the ambition and competitiveness of other MBAs, and can relate to one another’s personal challenges. A management consultant might call this a “success factor” when it comes to relationships. Oh, management consulting.

MBAs take other MBAs out on great dates. Let’s face it. MBAs know fine dining and raucous entertainment. And we’re not shy of cash (even with the massive debt that we incur every minute of our two years at business school). We say great dates can turn into great relationships.

There are probably more reasons for spouse-finding success in business school, but these seem like the biggies. What have we missed?

For fun, we leave you with a video short produced by the Columbia Business School Follies, making light of the adage that women go to school not for their MBA, but their “Mrs.”, with a little help from Beyoncé: