About a year ago Zach started thinking about going to business school. It's a move he'd contemplated before, though never very seriously. But he was unhappy with his job, with the lack of options he found while looking for a new one, and with his career trajectory ahead. So for the first time, business school became a serious option to consider. Over the summer he took on his new job in San Francisco, which in a way worked nicely in that it was intended as a one year commitment-- ending just in time to start school in the fall of 2012.
He spent much of the past 6 months researching schools, studying for and then taking the GMAT, and filling out applications. He applied to five schools and got into three: UT, Dartmouth, and UCLA (Stanford turned him down, or "dinged" him as you're apparently supposed to say is business-speak; and we haven't technically heard back from Berkeley yet but they announce their decisions in the 12th and never called for an interview so that's probably a "no").
The two top choices were Dartmouth (aka Tuck School of Business, in Hanover, New Hampshire) and UT (aka McCombs School of Business, in Austin, TX). I could go on for a while on the pros & cons of each school (some of you have read that diatribe) but it boiles down to this: Dartmouth/Tuck has almost every advantage, except that Texas/McCombs would mean living in the same city as our parents and thus having incredible family support.
I'll be honest here: when we first started talking about an MBA and Zach mentioned UT as a possible school choice, I felt excited by the possibility but I never really believed we'd go there. UT's business school is good, but it's not a top-ranked school. Three of the schools he applied to are in the top 10 list for MBAs (Berkeley, Stanford, Dartmouth) and I figured he'd get into at least one of them and it would be too difficult to turn that down. And though we didn't want to admit it and still spent several weeks mulling everything over and feeling nearly every possible emotion about all of this, I think we both knew as soon as he got that call from Tuck that we'd end up in New Hampshire.
So there you have it. Looks like we're moving to New Hampshire this summer. I have mixed feelings about it all. I'm excited about a lot of things-- Tuck is known for having a very family-friendly program and community (Zach has a friend who's there now and can attest that they really do put their money where their mouth is on that claim). Hanover is apparently a gorgeous town and really great place to live, everyone we've talked to who has spent time there has said they loved it. It's also exciting to think of living someplace that gets all four seasons for real.
I am, however, a little apprehensive about the winters. I think snow will be fun, but knowing me I'll probably tire of it, and the cold, pretty quickly (did you know that the average HIGH temp during the entire month of January is BELOW freezing?). I think Zach and the boys will LOVE it, especially the snow and easy access to winter activities like snowshoeing. At least it's for a specific period of time and then we know we'll be out of there. In a way it'll be good to experience it and know for sure how I feel about living someplace that cold.
Moving cross-country is also not an exciting thought, nor is leaving the friends we've made here. The biggest source of anxiety, though, and the thing we keep going over and over again, is the financial investment. Through a bit of good planning and a lot of good luck we've been pretty financially stable the past several years. It is SCARY to give that up and sink such a large sum of money on school. But life's been good to us so far, and we have to hope it will work out in the end. We've talked and thought this decision over (and under, and through, and every which way possible) and it really does feel like the best path ahead.
So. More big changes. A cross-country move. New friends to meet, new climate to experience, beautiful sights to photograph. How is it that we keep getting roped into these wild adventures? I guess that's what happens when you marry a really smart, talented, and ambitious guy like Zach. ; )