Moving to London and doing a Masters programme is an exciting life change. It’s typical that a student’s partner and family will move with them as they embark on this journey. Students coming to the UK to study are permitted to bring certain family members with them as dependents. Dependents are able to work full time, or study full time in the UK. We spoke with current MiF and MBA students, and their partners, to gain some perspective on what that experience is like.
Behrin Naidoo, MiFFT 2022
I moved to London from South Africa, and after speaking to a few other LBS South African alumni I knew LBS and London would offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Personally I’m a very curious and adventurous person. The biggest draw for me applying to LBS was the education the school could offer, career progression as well as meeting new people from different cultures – which would hopefully help me to grow and learn more about myself as a person. I had previously considered studying overseas but never felt the timing was exactly right for me in my career. The biggest influence and support I found in finally leaving my home country and career track for LBS was the support of my partner. I know I’ve been one of the lucky few that has been able to come across with their partner.
Whilst at LBS I’ve immersed myself in everything the school has to offer. From joining various clubs and societies, working with fellow students to try and start a business, as well as, making the most of networking by attending “LBS’ Sundowners” and other social events the school offers.
I often get the question – “How are you able to do all of it and still have time for your relationship?”
Yes, at first glance this is a very rational question, but to me the answer is quite easy. LBS creates an environment of inclusivity. If you give the school and community your energy and they will receive you with open arms.
My partner has allowed me to fully integrate into the LBS community. Furthermore, she herself has become very invested. Sometimes I get the questions, “Is she also a student?”, or even the cheekier, “Am I Max’s partner?”. London is a one of the world’s great cities and there is always so much to do from cultural events, to sporting events or even just the breath-taking beauty of running through Regents Park. I would recommend this journey for anyone contemplating joining LBS with their partner.
Max – Behrin’s partner
Joining my partner at LBS and moving to London was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made in life. I was excited to start a new adventure and it helped that my husband and I had the same mindset about our future and the goals that we want to achieve so the relocation was seamless. I was luckily able to continue working remotely for my company back at home so this made the job transition easy for me. LBS has been so welcoming and inclusive in terms of making partners feel like a part of the community.
As a partner, you can attend events with the students such as Sundowners; you can join most of the clubs and attend their talks and conferences; you can join the club events such as parties and international travel treks and the list goes on. This level of inclusivity has made me feel like I am part of the LBS family from day one. I personally decided that I wanted to be very involved in the school and I joined the Partners Club and am now the Co-President of the club. The aim of the club is to bring partners together from across all the LBS programmes and create a community where we can meet and help each other.
Most partners are new to London so having a group of people who you can meet and speak to from the first day you arrive is very comforting. I’ve met amazing people from the Partners Club and made really good friends with the students who are equally welcoming and accepting. The best advice I can give someone is to really make this experience your own and fully participate in everything. The school and the LBS community has a lot to offer and if you are open and jump in with both feet, then you will be rewarded with great new friends from all over the world and amazing experiences (career, travel, events) that will change your life. Make the most of it and join the clubs and attend the events as much as you possibly can because it will make your transition to London feel a lot less daunting because you will be with like-minded people who are experiencing the same things that you are.
Manuel Dieguez, MBA 2022
When I started my MBA I was already married to Valentina. One of the real highlights of my MBA has been how smooth and open LBS has been with partners in our cohort.
At LBS the question is how much do you want to be involved as a partner, not whether the community will welcome you. In Vale’s case, she’s been very much involved, both socially and at club level, driven by her own interest in pursuing an MBA. Vale was a junior Executive Committee of the Women in Business Club (WiB) in my first year, and this year she took the great responsibility of leading WiB’s EQUALL Conference (largest at LBS) alongside 2 MBA 2022s. Vale has now been accepted to join LBS this year, as an MBA 2024 student.
People from other schools are usually surprised by how much partners are involved at LBS. I think there are 2 main explanations for why that is the case: Firstly, the reality is that London is generally more welcoming to partners that wish to continue focusing on their careers. That means more students come with partners, and partners naturally end up being a central aspect of the LBS MBA. Whilst other international cities might provide a similar level of work opportunities, they might limit international partners without visas. Secondly, LBS is truly diverse, and diversity means people are usually more open and welcoming.
The MBA is an intense experience where you need to keep both feet on the ground and remember your life priorities. My advice is to not underestimate how important is to balance your personal commitments with career commitments. Thus, if you are in a relationship, I truly recommend having LBS and London very high on your list.
Nicolette Bell, MiFFT 2022
I relocated to London with my husband and my 3-year-old son. My husband was very nervous about moving as it meant that we would have both been unemployed at the same time. This was quite challenging particularly since our 3 year was attending nursery which is quite pricey in London, and we would have to live off our savings until my husband found a job which I am pleased to say he has! My advice to people who have partners who also plan to work in London, is to start looking for jobs early. We found that having an updated LinkedIn profile was very useful as recruiters would reach out directly to my husband via LinkedIn. Relocating with a partner is a life transforming experience and it seems quite scary at first, but it will change your life in unimaginable ways as growth happens when we go outside of our comfort zone.