03 May

The Business School Offer

Posted by Jenna, Under School

Toward the end of That Husband’s paternity leave he came in one day and told me that he was going to be taking a call from work. My first response was “What!?!??! They are not supposed to be using up part of your time off to put your nose to the grindstone.” When he told me what the call was for, my attitude rapidly changed. It was that call, the one that would determine our financial future for the next few years, and possibly would determine whether we packed up all of our belongings and moved to Chicago for business school this Fall. Exciting!

Source

TH’s work has what is known as the business school offer, which means they will help with the cost of business school if the employee in question will agree to come back and work for the company for a set period of time after they graduate. They only extend offers for those who are attending specific MBA programs, so TH was very careful in his decision regarding where to apply to school, focusing his energy on the applications that were most likely to lead to an offer from Company X where he works.

When the University of Chicago gave him a “yes”, we knew that the offer was more likely but nothing was for sure until it was for sure. I lay down for a nap, and when I woke up TH came in and told me that he had received the offer. TH will walk away from his MBA experience with a degree in hand and no debt to weigh us down and stress us out awe will be able to cover all of the costs with a combination of the offer from Company X and our savings. In return for this generous offer he agrees to return to Company X and work for a few years. As I understand it they are willing to do this because it means they are able to have employees who have not only an MBA but significant experience in consulting.

If this offer had not been extended we were still undecided whether we would go for sure, as taking on the amount of debt required to earn an MBA was something we really wanted to avoid. Between the offer and our savings TH will be able to stop working completely for two years, focusing solely on school, and hopefully acting as babysitter every once in awhile while I venture out of the house on Jenna Cole shoots (okay I haven’t told him I’m hoping for that part yet but it might work, right?). We consider ourselves very lucky to be in this situation and we are really looking forward to enjoying our time as a family in a new city without the pressure of TH attempting to balance school and work life while I try to juggle the waters of motherhood and owning (and building!) my own business.

So now I can say it’s officially official. This August, we are absolutely moving to Chicago!

52 Comments


  1. I remember reading the news on facebook I think. I’m really thrilled for you both. It must be such a huge relief. And it’s great that it covers more than just the school costs!
    Hopefully your business will expend and you’ll be able to offer your family some extras.

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  2. you will LOVE chicago. It is a great place to live… Lots of walking paths, and parks for T1. There’s a couple Trader Joe’s and Whole foods within walking distance, and lots of cheap food places to eat (some expensive too) I’m sure you’ll be looking for a place to live, if not in the dorms. Most places in the near north side are very safe (other than where cabrini-green used to be). River north, gold coast, and streeterville are a tad expensive, but are in a great area! Pretty close to the buisness district too.. Make sure you live on the north side.. or northwest, anything west or south of the city is not as safe.

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  3. Oh yay congratulations!! Chicago is a fabulous city and I know you’ll love it there :)

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  4. Such exciting news! Chicago is only a couple hours from me, I love it up there!

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  5. Congrats! As a law student, I envy my fellow male students who have wives and babies at home, because they get to spend so much more time with them than they would if they were working a regular job. I hope business school offers TH similar scheduling flexibility and you get to spend plenty of time together with your little one!

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  6. Congratulations! That has to be a huge relief for you. Glad everything is going well!

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  7. That is great! Getting an MBA degree without any debt is huge!

    also, your mention of Jenna Cole photography made me realize that you will be in my neighborhood – meaning that one of your amazing duet photo shoots is a possibility.. hmmmm.. :)

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    Jenna Reply:

    I love that idea!

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  8. This is a rando pet peeve, but I like to mention it when I can since it’s a relatively common trope — if TH takes care of T1, he’s not babysitting. He’s a father taking care of his own child. You may watch T1 a lot more than he does, but that doesn’t mean that he’s the babysitter!

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    Mary Reply:

    Yes! Thank you. I don’t understand referring to the father as a babysitter! I see and hear a lot of mothers say that about their husband’s and I just don’t get it.

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    Hannah Reply:

    Maybe it is because a lot of men see it that way?

    I can’t believe that criticism of Jenna has reached these heights of nitpicking.

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    Sophia Reply:

    I didn’t pick up on the use of the term on first read, but I have to agree with the other commenters that it is also a pet peeve of mine how woman parent and men babysit, or rather, how we specify “babysitting” with men but not with women when it comes to children. However, I went back and read it twice, and the way Jenna framed the sentence made it seem like she was asking him act as babysitter, in other words “hey, I’m a stay at home mom, so *I’m* usually acting as babysitter, but since you’ll be home too sometimes *you’ll* be acting as babysitter”. In other words, Jenna sees her childcaring duties as babysitting just as much as TH’s childcaring duties as babysitting.

    To me, it was just a reference to the literal role of babysitter that Jenna plays and that TH also plays.

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    Liz Reply:

    I was going to say something similar. It’s just parenting, not babysitting.

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    Jenna Reply:

    I was going to ignore this thread but I think it’s going to continue building if I don’t say something.

    Notice I didn’t call him the “babysitter” I said he would be babysitting, as in, in the act of caring for the child. What word would you suggest instead? “Watching T1″ or “taking care of T1″ seems a bit superfluous to say each time IMO. To babysit is to care for a child, which is what he would be doing, no? Interestingly, the words babysitter, nanny, au pair, mother, father, custodian, and nurse are all actually synonymous for the phrase “person caring for child”.

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  9. What an amazing offer! You guys are quite lucky, but I know you’re already counting your blessings. :)

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  10. Wow that is so great!!! Chicago is great! Make sure you get some thermal underwear! No debt is amazing, trust me the debt is very stressful.

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  11. Marissa C says:

    That’s wonderful! My fiance got into a medical school with very cheap tuition (go Texas education!) and a scholarship, so I know how you are feeling–it’s a relief!

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  12. Yay I can’t wait for you to come to Chicago in August!

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  13. That’s so awesome! Grad school is so expensive. I paid off my loan a few years back and we’re still working on my husband’s even though he had a good scholarship. It’s nice having one less thing to stress about when you are in school.

    Congrats!

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  14. Yay! Congratulations Jenna! That is such an amazing opportunity for all 3 of you!

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  15. Congrats!

    I’d say it sounds completely reasonable for TH to be able to take on a more active role while he’s a student.

    I have heard that as far as law school goes, law student fathers have more time with their children while they are students than when they graduate and join the full-time (and then some) ranks.

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  16. So exciting! What a great opportunity.

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  17. Awesome! We will be moving soon too for the same reason! My husband’s company has a similar program, but they are not specific about the school. They pay a set amount of “refund” – so we’ll pay the school first and then they’ll reimburse us. They he just has to work for them for another two years.

    Congrats!

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    Jenna Reply:

    Congrats to you as well! Fun to know someone else is experiencing the same thing we are right now. Where are you moving?

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    Jessica - One Shiny Star Reply:

    We’re one step behind you – still applying and waiting for acceptance letters. We’re looking at John Hopkins U in Baltimore because you don’t need to take the GRE to apply, and B-man is well qualified for the program. He’s also going to apply to a few schools closer to “home” – not where we live right now, but were our families live in VA. I guess it’s just a waiting game for now!

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  18. Wow, that’s so fantastic! Just the idea of grad school with no debt makes me all starry eyed. It’s the best fairy tale I can conceive of right now. Major congratulations.

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  19. Congratulations to you and TH! What a wonderful opportunity this will be for you all! And to be debt free – what a tremendous blessing.

    So happy for you and your family.

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  20. Congrats!!! Chicago is a great city and that is just awesome that TH will be able to focus on school only! It will be such a great family time for the 3 of you!!

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  21. That’s such a huge relief! Congrats to you and TH!

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  22. That’s so exciting! What a blessing. Congratulations on everything!

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  23. It’s great when things in life work out like this! TW in Chicago-that will be fun to read about!

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  24. Congrats on the certainty! That’s exciting.

    I have to point out that this comment –
    “Make sure you live on the north side.. or northwest, anything west or south of the city is not as safe” – is frustrating as well as being both biased and untrue.

    If you’re going to join the U of Chicago community, you should at least consider living in Hyde Park. We’ve lived in Hyde Park for over 3 years (Hubs has lived here over 4 – he’s a PhD student at U of C). We have nice neighbors, the area is good for families, the grad student building we live in is well-maintained and affordable, there’s plenty of other rental options beyond student housing, there’s a large and active LDS population (we’re not LDS, but we kind of like having LDS neighbors!), etc. I think all three members of That Family would like Hyde Park. (If TH has to go downtown, the commute from Hyde Park is faster than from most other places via the Metra train. I have a TWELVE MINUTE commute to the Loop. It’s nuts.)

    We live down the street from the frickin’ Obama house, people. It’s actually quite safe.

    For the record, I’ve lived in Chicago 10 years and have also lived on the north and the west sides. People who make these blanket “South Side is unsafe” statements haven’t spent time in the south side and don’t know what the actually dangerous neighborhoods are.

    I’ve made these kind of comments before, so I’ll try to stop cluttering your blog with “I heart Hyde Park” comments. It just bothers me.

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    Anne Reply:

    Agreed, 100%. My husband and I live in Ravenswood and love it, but he worked for UofC for two years and LOVED Hyde Park. It’s so beautiful, and very family friendly.

    Another neighborhood that is south of downtown and really great is the South Loop. We have friends that live near UIC, and they have a fantastic place for super cheap! Tons of families around there as well.

    There are great areas and not so great areas north of the city (HELLO! Wilson and Broadway, anyone?), and the same is true of the south side.

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    Turtle Reply:

    Glad you chimed in here– totally agree with these two comments.

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  25. Lucky ducky! We’ll be in a lot of debt by the time we’re both done with school… but I feel it is worth it — but I wish we weren’t!

    I’m working and going to MBA school — I have no time whatsoever in my life.

    BUT – husband has been going to law school full time and he’s way less busy than I ever was just working full time. He does all the grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. He just has time to do it and doesn’t want to wait for me!

    And I did come on here to make a comment about the “babysitting” too. Dad’s dad. They don’t babysit. But it mostly bugs me when people are all “my husband was so gracious to watch the baby tonight!” — as if it never happens.

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  26. Erin Marie says:

    Wow! How amazing! What a wonderful way to start a new life together as a family! Congratulations to TH!

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  27. Jessica says:

    I live in Chicago and it is WONDERFUL! I hope you love it as much as me. I agree with the above commenter that parts of Hyde Park are safe. Do your own research. The neighborhoods are all different — just figure out which one suits you and your family!

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  28. Congratulations! Grad school debt is seriously stressful and you guys are going to love, love, love not having any! I feel guilty every day that I’m not making more money so I can pay my law school debt off faster.

    And moving! Three cheers for a new city!

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  29. Congrats to you and your family. Wishing many many more successes!

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  30. WooHoo!!! You are in for a happy surprise – TH will actually be home, and not working, a lot more once he is in school full time. You two are going to have a wonderful two years in Chicago!

    I visit Chicago A LOT (I lived there for 5 years) so hopefully once there is finally a bun in my oven, I can come to Chicago for a maternity shoot!!! Exciting!!

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  31. Lindsay says:

    My husband and I met at U of C while in business school :) You guys have a great adventure to look forward to! We loved our experience at Chicago, and it has been awesome for both of us, career-wise. And of course personally, since it also resulted in us getting married and starting a family!

    Me, I’m looking forward to reading your birth story. I gave birth au naturale to a little girl in February, and it was the most amazing, empowering experience of my life. Totally a natural birth junkie/proselytizer now!

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  32. What a fun wonderful move!
    My husband just started his MBA program as well, also with tuition assitance from his business, except we don’t get to move anywhere fun! He had to find a school in the area (or online).

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  33. Sweet! That is very exciting!

    Too bad they don’t pay for med school;)

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    Jenna Reply:

    Haha, would F have come back to work for Uncle B if they did?

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    Rebecca Reply:

    Yes, you would think a few docs on staff would help lower insurance costs no?

    Also, Jenna…why not trade some photo sessions for free babysitting? The perfect person is surely out there:)

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  34. Rachael says:

    Congrats!

    What a stellar opportunity! Surely, TH has received this offer because he has shown how valuable and hard-working he is. :)

    And what a great city for you to grow the Jenna Cole brand name.

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  35. Congrats again!! What an amazing opportunity, so glad for you both. And yay for moving, that’s always fun :)

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  36. Congratulations. That is such good news.

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  37. Um, I would love to watch T1 when you need someone! ;) CAN’T WAIT!!

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  38. Wow, what a great situation for you guys to be in! Congrats to TH for being accepted. You’ll have fun in Chicago!

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  39. Don’t remember how I found your site, but I’m officially hooked :) you seem like such a sweet and genuine person! Greetings from Chicago as well :)

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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