MBA Club Builds a Community for Students’ Partners to Thrive

Thursday, December 11, 2014

As he contemplated where to attend graduate school, Zach Rhodes, ’15 MBA, sought a community where both he and his fiancée could grow and flourish. The couple considered a variety of institutions in cities across the country. According to Rhodes, the Carlson MBA program offered resources to ease the transition for his spouse – a perk that sealed the deal. 

“For students with partners, enrolling in an MBA program is a sacrifice both of you make,” he says. “It was important that my wife was getting something out of it too, and not making the sacrifice on her own.”

Enter the Carlson Partners Club, an organization comprised of more than 60 MBA students and their partners. The group fosters an inclusive community for students by involving their partners in school events, hosting special opportunities for students, partners, and children to socialize, and providing support for students and families who are relocating to the Twin Cities.

Since founding in 2011, participation in the club has doubled three years in a row.

Career services for partners

To facilitate connections between newcomers to the Twin Cities and local employers, the Partners Club offers MBA students’ partners access to the nationally ranked Carlson School Graduate Career Center.

Touted by members as an invaluable resource, the Career Center provides resume review to partners seeking jobs in their new city, with more career services being added soon.

Additionally, partners connect with MBA students and with one another, many of whom can offer tips and opportunities.

“Partners who are looking for a job are able to tap into a surprisingly large network of partners and students,” says Rhodes. “In fact, my wife interviewed for a position with the wife of a Partners Club member.”

Guidance in a new city

To help future Carlson MBAs and their partners envision living in Minneapolis, the Partners Club reaches out to prospective students as early as the recruitment process to give guidance: The Club recommends options for housing, child care, and more, all vetted by seasoned Minnesotans.

“We try to ease the transition for people who are wondering where they should be living, who the best babysitters are, any of those concerns. We connect them with partners to talk to and give recommendations,” says Rhodes.

Welcoming partners to the club

While the Club supports students relocating to the Twin Cities, native Minnesotans aren’t excluded. The Partners Club hosts no-pressure opportunities for all Carlson MBA students, partners, and their families to relax and mingle. In addition to Carlson School events, the group has held a cooking competition, visited a pumpkin patch, gone snow tubing, hosted an ugly sweater bowling party, and more.

Rhodes hopes by inviting partners to all school events, the Club can alleviate their worries that they’re the only newcomers.

“We got some feedback from MBA students that they wanted to bring their partners to events, but their partners were worried everyone else already knew each other, and they would be the only one who was new to the group,” says Rhodes. “But in reality, nobody was coming to any events because they all thought the same thing. The Partners Club fixed that.”

Rhodes is delighted to see so many new members checking out events, and is excited to see students and partners taking the initiative to organize their own gatherings.  So far, they’ve visited the zoo, gathered for playdates with the kids, and hosted monthly dinners at various partners’ homes.

“We’re trying to empower partners to not wait for us to set things up,” he says. “We can do small things to help facilitate communication in the group, and let it grow organically. Partners meet partners and everyone is happy.”

Check out photos from Carlson Partners Club events