Reputation is a top priority for most students during business school. Let's face it - you're all paying 200K+ for not only the degree but also the network that you work so hard to build. Why else would you explain your background 1,000+ times (sometimes 2-3x to the same person)? Anything that you do that could put your network and reputation at risk should require some careful thought and evaluation.
"Reputation is a Top Priority... during Business School"
This is why dating in business school can be really tricky. You might be interested in someone, but you also don't want to ruin the relationship and potentially have trickle-down effects on your friendship (or worse, friend group) if things go south!
Because we know how tricky things can be, we put together some useful tips (or food for thought) when considering dating in MBA school:
Start with being friends first: as much as you want to take things further, you have to be prudent. Nothing is worse than dating someone and then breaking up just to see them on campus next semester and trying to avoid eye contact... you're in school. You can't avoid them.
See how they act during recruiting: recruiting is a stressful time, and that's a great time to assess a potential mate's ability to cope with stress. Are they helpful or are they selfish? Are they able to put aside their stress and still be present? Are they able to be a support? How well do you cope together with stress?
Be respectful and... an adult about it: some MBAs tend to act like high schoolers, raging at parties like there's no tomorrow, or skipping classes like it's some kind of badge of honor. But when it comes to relationships, we should act like adults. Many of us are in our late-20's/early-30's -- it's time to treat relationships like adults. If you are interested in someone, be straightforward, and don't dance around the topic. It doesn't help you or the other person to be guessing. It will only build resentment and confusion.
Think 3-5 steps ahead before you act: think about how your actions today might have serious implications on your reputation in school over time. Rumors spread. The gossip-town is vibrant so trust us, people will know. We know there is a lot of temptations and cuffing season is here, but think carefully before you act. Don't do anything that you might regret later.
Have conversations about your values: don't judge people based on how fun they are at parties. That's the initial attraction that doesn't last past MBA. What's more important is having the same values - do you have the same family values? Do you have similar needs? What are your love languages? Are you a spender or a saver? As you look for a more serious relationship, it is important to discuss these questions early on before you commit.
"Dating in business school can be really tricky"
And here is a graph that summarizes the problem pretty nicely...