When students enter Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program, their partners also are welcomed into the Wharton community. They are invited to participate in school events, join the class at meals, and even to come along on the international trip. While the program is a significant time commitment for the students, many partners find that getting involved in the school is a great way to share the experience. And it’s also a great opportunity to build professional networks and make new friends.
To learn more about life as an EMBA partner, we asked two spouses of Wharton | San Francisco students to share some of their experiences as well as advice. Here’s what Roger Toguchi, whose wife Suki just graduated and works in the IT Advisory Group at Ernst & Young, had to say:
“During the last two years, I had many opportunities to come to Wharton | San Francisco for events. The school is very inclusive of families, organizing things like a 4th of July party and dinners throughout the year. And since we live in the Bay Area, we went out on a lot on Saturday nights after class weekends with Suki’s classmates and their partners.
For me, one of the highlights of the program was when I joined Suki on her international class trip to Spain. We made a big trip out of it and actually went a week early with one of her classmates and his wife. And then we met up with even more classmates the weekend before the school part began, which was a lot of fun. Through my visits to the school and events like the Spain trip, I became good friends with several other partners and definitely plan to keep in touch with them after Suki graduates.
Of course, it wasn’t easy all the time. The program takes a lot of work. I still remember that first December when I don’t think I had a chance to speak to Suki for an entire week. She’d come home from work, get right on a conference call for school, then get on another call, and when she finished it was midnight and I was asleep.
But I’m so proud of her accomplishment! It’s a great school and worth all of the time and work involved. And I got so much out of the program too by getting to know her classmates and their families.”
Mary Beth Fichter agrees. Her husband, Larry Fichter, is another newly minted Wharton MBA and VP of Operations at Bankruptcy Management Solutions. She says, “It’s been an awesome experience. Larry shared the experience with me as much as possible by inviting me to partner events, including me in what he’s learning, and brainstorming on projects. I’m going to miss all of that after he graduates!
The Wharton | San Francisco environment is really open to partners and families. I was always welcome to come to anything whether it was sponsored by the School or not. I went to a Giants game, their class prom, and even on their international class trip to Spain. There were actually about 20 spouses or partners along on that trip and we ate meals and took tours together and went out as a group when the students were busy with the school part of the trip.
I made some really good friends through the program. A couple of times, Larry and I went with them on weekends to Tahoe and Vegas. We’re already looking forward to getting together later this summer.
The biggest challenge has been the time commitment when I wouldn’t see Larry as much as normal because he was locked away in his office. And because he commuted from Orange County, he left on Thursday nights and came home on Saturday nights. But it was only a couple of nights every other week and we always made a plan to do something together on Sundays. And I tried to get up to the Bay Area from Southern California about once a month.
In the end, Wharton’s Executive MBA program was 100% worth it and I’m so proud of Larry. It’s something he talked about for years and it was so exciting when he was admitted. The best advice I can give for partners is to get involved in the School as much as possible. Try to be social and get to know everybody because it helps you share their experience more. And make a plan to see your partner or spouse when you can. It’s all about time management!”