May 12, 2020
Accelerate Joins Tepper Partners Club on Coaching Events
Tepper Partners Club invites MBA students and their partners to come together for personal and professional development opportunities.
For the spouse or partner of an MBA student, the two years spent in a transitional period can be especially challenging. "Often we’re uprooting our lives for our partner," said Kate Doshi, the wife of second-year Tepper School of Business MBA student Ankur Doshi. "It's tough to keep things in perspective during these two years, so having a community that creates that larger perspective is incredibly valuable for the success of the partner and the student."
At the Tepper School, that community is built with the support of the Tepper Partners Club. "We are a club that provides inclusive support and specific resources that really help partners, as well as their students, to thrive," said Doshi, who is the organization's president this year. "The value is in the community, the resources, and the inclusion that we provide in a time that can be confusing for the partner."
Uprooting Their Lives
Doshi and her husband moved from the Philadelphia area to Pittsburgh during the summer of 2018 so that he could complete his studies at the Tepper School. The move required Doshi to find a new job as a physician assistant in Pittsburgh. "Luckily, there are a lot of health care opportunities in Pittsburgh, so I was able to do that."
While she was researching about the city and the school, Doshi found the website for the Tepper Partners Club. One of the members happened to be a nurse practitioner at UPMC, so Doshi reached out. She was also able to connect with another partner who was a realtor, so that she could find out more about living in the city. "I was in frequent communication with them," she said, "and that kept up when I started here."
It was important to Doshi that while she was here to support her husband's education, she was able to invest in her own development as well. "Being able to keep my identity as a professional was important when my husband and I were deciding whether or not he was going to pursue business school," she said. "Keeping my strong sense of identity as not just a partner, but as a person who is crucial to my husband's experience, is important."
Building a Community
As soon as the couple arrived at Tepper, Doshi immersed herself in the culture of the school and of the Partners Club. BaseCamp offered her the opportunity to attend social events and meet her husband's classmates and some of their partners. Throughout her first year in Pittsburgh, Doshi participated with the club in informal social gatherings and structured information and education sessions designed to help partners of MBA students to acclimate to life in Pittsburgh and form a social network in a new city.
"I like being busy, and I loved the idea of the Partners Club and the community it created," Doshi said, so she became the organization's president this fall. For the group's first event this year, she helped to organize a welcome brunch with the Tepper Parents Club, a similar organization created in 2016 to support MBA students raising families while they are at the Tepper School.
The Partners Club hosted other social events throughout the fall, including a Thanksgiving event with more than 50 attendees who remained in the city for the holiday. Like most of the club’s events, it welcomed both partners and MBA students, including those who don't have partners living in Pittsburgh. They also volunteered at Family House, a nonprofit that houses families of hospital patients during long-term stays.
In addition to social opportunities, the Partners Club offers professional development activities, such as a webinar hosted by a second-year MBA student on interview tactics like STAR stories. One of Doshi's goals this year is to increase the number of virtual events like the webinar, to open the organization to members outside of Pittsburgh. "We're trying to coordinate partner meetups on the east and west coasts to spread that sense of community to those that aren’t able to be on campus," she said.
Power of Partnership
Recently, the Partners Club has been collaborating with the Accelerate Leadership Center on events aimed at MBA students and their partners to help them navigate the transition after Tepper. "It speaks volumes that Accelerate is interested in partnering with us," Doshi said. "It demonstrates that they have a great understanding of the importance of focusing on the interests, talents, and strengths of both the student and the partner."
The collaboration started last fall with the Power of Partnership event, where students and their partners took a StrengthsFinder assessment and spoke with Accelerate coaches about their results. "We learned how we could use each of our individual strengths to build a better partnership, which was fun and interesting," Doshi said. With the help of Accelerate staff, she organized the same event this year.
Doshi said that one of the partners was unable to attend the event this year, so Accelerate offered to have the student and his partner come back for an individual session. "The staff at Accelerate have been incredible and so open to our ideas and to working with us," Doshi said. "They've been awesome."
Last spring, she attended an event titled Navigating Dual Careers, where Accelerate coaches helped couples to develop strategies for making decisions together about their career paths as they prepare for graduation. "Making those decisions is kind of fun, but also challenging," Doshi said. "So having a formal framework to help with that is a really cool resource that I didn't know was available prior to working with Accelerate."