He’s a Ross MBA, I’m a U-M Grad Student — Here’s How We Find Time for Each Other During 14-Hour Days
This is part of a series of blogs from the partners of Michigan Ross MBA students. From long-distance relationships, to finding a job in Ann Arbor, MBA partners share how they’ve experienced the Ross MBA program and how they make it work with their partners. Check out the full series.
By Karis Tzeng Wolfe, MBA Partner
When we first moved to Ann Arbor for Erik’s MBA, I was on the job hunt and planned to delay my own graduate school applications until our next move.
In the midst of networking in Ann Arbor, I ended up meeting a few people connected to the Masters in Urban and Regional Planning program at Taubman College. I started attending lectures and events at Taubman, Ford, and Ross, and I decided to apply. I actually received my acceptance call on my very first day of a new job! Spoiler alert: I chose school. With 260 degree programs in 19 schools, I think pretty much most people living in Ann Arbor have some kind of connection to the University of Michigan.
Since I started school (and maintained a part-time work schedule), Erik and I have had to be more intentional to carve out time. We’re both in class or at work, meetings, and events for 12 to 14 hours per day, so we’ve had to find better ways to meal prep, grocery shop, clean (on occasion), and keep up with life.
Here are some ways we’ve made each other a priority, even with our packed schedules:
We’ve made an effort to become friends with each other’s cohorts and connect to each other’s program. We might both go to a Ross or Taubman event, or we will go separately to respective happy hours and stop by the other’s at the beginning or end. We also prioritize and cycle between events to split our time between both programs.
Reserving together time
We save one “off” day per week to be together. We’ll often spend time with friends, cook for the week, or run errands, but we don’t schedule separate activities on that day to maximize our quality time.
I’m more inclined to find a quiet, solo corner to study, but we will sometimes work next to each other in Ross, Taubman, Literati bookstore, or the local library.
We’ve shared interests, knowledge, and resources from each other’s programs. We forward along emails about lectures, opportunities, and courses; share class discussions; and pass along professional development and career services activities. We proofread each other’s papers and share design (me) or Excel (Erik) skills.
We coordinate to wake up and go to bed at the same times, aside from a few late nights to meet deadlines. We wake up early enough to eat breakfast and drink our coffee together in the morning and have at least a few minutes at the end of the day to debrief our days. On Fridays or weekends, we try to match our availability and schedule group meetings, study groups, workshops, or other events during the same times.
Between classes, student organizations, and job responsibilities, we are maximizing our opportunities and education from the University of Michigan. But we’ve found that prioritizing our relationship is just as essential and further enriches our graduate school experience.
Karis Tzeng Wolfe
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hiking; Cooking and eating; Exploring local shops, craft stores, bookstores, and coffee shops
What was the best event you attended at Ross in the last year?
Every Risky Business (the MBA student band) show is great!
Any other fun fact you think we should know?
This summer, I nurtured a community garden with my partner, Erik, and I think we're officially gardeners now!