Our next blog post comes from Matt Boyden, a partner of a 2nd year student at IESE.
What are the challenges of being an IESE partner?
For me, the biggest challenge came during the first 6 months- getting to know people and making friends. Laura was seeing the same people all day, every day and she formed strong friendships quickly. As a remote worker, my experience was very different. I was still going to many of the IESE social events- BOWs and COWs and picnics and birthdays, but I felt a bit like an outsider initially. I’m fairly introverted so this led to me not wanting to go out as much (lesson learned: choosing to not be social when you’re having trouble making friends is a natural but self-sabotaging mindset).
Another challenge is just the time commitment of the students- they’re going to be really busy at certain times of the year and your schedule as a couple/family will be affected or thrown off.
What do you do to support her during the hard days?
I try to be a good husband on the hard days. IESE is academically (and socially) rigorous and there will be very long nights and very early mornings. When Laura is in a busy patch I’ll shoulder most of the day-to-day stuff, like grocery runs, laundry, dishes.
Additionally, as a male partner, it was important for me to realize the pressure and prejudices, large and small, that female MBAs face as part of a heavily male-dominated environment. I try to be a good listener and an ally.
What is she doing to support you?
One of the reasons we chose to move to Spain was that I want to learn Spanish. Laura is Puerto Rican and we’d like to raise our future children to be bilingual. In Barcelona she has been my #1 Spanish teacher. I joke that she’s strict with me, but honestly, the amount of patience she has shown for my verbal butchering of her first language is beyond admirable.
Also, I don’t know how anyone navigates the process of getting an apartment, a bank account, and a NIE better than Laura. The NIE process, in particular, can be very stressful, and she handled nearly all of it.
Laura’s also a great listener after I’ve had a tough day at work – the support definitely goes both ways and I think good couples know when the other party needs some help and/or they communicate that.
The icing on the cake is that she’s an amazing cook and she’s mastered a Spanish tortilla recipe!
Do you feel that you sacrificed your career for hers? If not, would you do so?
I don’t feel I’ve sacrificed my career for Laura’s. In a way, I didn’t have to. Right before she started applying to business schools I was laid off my previous job in San Francisco, CA. I made a conscious choice to find a remote company to work for, as it looked like we would be moving from the Bay Area in the near future. This worked out well – two years later I’m still with the company and I’m very happy in my role there, but at the time it was a little bit nervewracking (the Bay Area has way more job opportunities than I could find remotely and the job hunt was tough).
Would I sacrifice my career for hers? Absolutely. She would for me as well. But she is one badass lady and I’m excited to watch her career unfold after IESE.
What would you do if you couldn’t keep your job from home?
That’s a great question. If I hadn’t had my job when we arrived, I think I would have taken intensive Spanish courses, been more involved in the partners club and written a novel or something. If we were pressed for money (which we would be), I’d try to find something here (tutoring English? giving tours?) and then start interviewing again for remote work.