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In this post, Huma talks about life as an MBA spouse. Huma’s husband, Dilshad is a student in the Class of 2010 at Chicago Booth.
Name: Huma Shabbir
Country of residence before Chicago: United Kingdom
Life before Chicago Booth | I did my undergrad from the UK, while studying I met my husband, Dilshad and we got married. I was working for SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) for their Major Businesses Sales & Marketing division as a manager before moving to Chicago in August '08.
Are you considering any career options while at Chicago? | Given my work experience and background, I had expected some promising options here, but but because I am on F1 (dependant of student) visa there is a restriction on obtaining any work unless a company sponsors me for a work permit (H1-B) which is generally difficult, and has proven to be even more so in this economic environment.
How did both of you decide on Booth? | We decided on Booth mainly because it suited my husband's criteria, as he was after a finance driven program and Booth is well known as a top finance school with very strong academic rigor and flexible curriculum and secondly because of it's location, as we are "big city people" and Chicago met our requirements well.
How do you like Chicago? | Chicago was a pleasant surprise. It was our first visit to the US so we were excited and didn't know what to expect. The whole process from the first entry to settling in to our accommodation downtown was very smooth. We felt at home instantly as Chicago gives you the privileges of city living yet it has quieter parts like the lake-side and its beautiful parks. So while my student is away on campus there are plenty of things to keep me busy in the city. I found the public transport to be reasonably convenient too as we don't have a car.
How are facilities at Chicago Booth for partners? | The Harper center is very accessible to partners; you can sit there to do your work and there are plenty of weekly events like the LPF on Fridays (which is an evening gathering that gives you a chance to meet other students and partners over food and drinks). There is also a Partners Club, which I joined as soon as we arrived. They have various events such as parties, dinners, day-outs for kids and their mums etc. They have been fairly active so far and the events give you an opportunity to meet partners in similar situations and make friends!
What other activities are you involved in? | On top of Partners Club activities and LPFs, the main activities you would engage in are the Thursday Night Drinking Club (TNDC) - a fun Thursday evening outing to a bar/pub. There are also other social clubs like the Epicurean club (which organizes dinners, potlucks, farmers markets), Rhythmix (teaching salsa, tango etc and have dancing events) which partners can join in. There are also volunteering opportunities (tutoring, animal shelter etc) in the city as well as the university which you can participate in. I guess in the end it is a personal choice as to how busy and engaged you want to be.
What do you like and dislike about the city/experience? | So far I like the city, the diversity of the student body and campus facilities for us which makes our life very convenient. The only thing I'm not a fan of is the weather! :) No amount of warning prepares you for 0F! However, you'd be surprised at how quickly one learns to acclimatize and carry on with life.
Any advice for partners in choosing a school/ pursuing life with an MBA spouse? | Think about all aspects before you choose a school: location, facilities, social clubs etc, and balance these with your “student's” academic requirements; it’s very important that you both are happy with this crucial change in your lives. I think Chicago Booth was the right choice for us and so far we have enjoyed the experience.Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago Booth Discussion Forums