They coordinate their social life through their Google Calendars. They make appointments with each other for dinner. Holly and Joe Price are MBA students at the Michigan Ross School of Business. And they’re a “Consortium couple.”
Joe is a second-year student; Holly is a first-year. They met in undergraduate school at the University of Texas at Austin and married just over two years ago—Dec. 7, 2013. Joe is a startup entrepreneur who cofounded Grown Up Sports—a Houston-based clearing house for recreational sports league information—in 2011. He plans to return post MBA.
Holly was a senior technology consultant with Deloitte Consulting who was featured in a company “Where Leaders Thrive” video.
After they moved to Ann Arbor for Joe’s MBA education, Holly evaluated her own opportunities and realized an MBA would serve her goals. She earned a Forte fellowship and a Consortium membership—and enrolled a year behind Joe at Michigan.
“As first- and second-years, we are on different schedules. There’s definitely many days when we don’t see each other until 11 o’clock at night,” said Joe. “That’s a little challenging. The benefit is that we’re both actively engaged. We’re just very high-energy right now, and that does come home with us. We have so many exciting updates at the end of each day or each week.”
Though they didn’t meet as Consortium members, their joint membership in the organization—and as schoolmates—gives them additional connections as they participate together in Consortium activities on campus.
“The Ross CGSM family welcomed me from Day 1 and was a huge influence in me deciding that Ross was my top choice,” Holly said. “After I found out that I was admitted, my first question was, ‘But am I member of The Consortium?'”
Now, life is hectic. Few home-cooked meals get served in the Price household. They see each other often at extracurricular events, such as a “partners clubs,” brunches with classmates or tailgate partners for Wolverine games.
“There’s an inherent value in going through an experience together,” Joe said. Holly chimes in: “We’re tired a lot more, but we both get it.”
Holly said leaving Deloitte was a difficult decision, but the company was very supportive, even though she was on track to be promoted to manager. “They said I didn’t need to do this, but I felt like I owed it to myself to explore it.” She could return to the company if she wanted to, and she thinks consulting may yet be in her post-MBA future.
Meanwhile, Joe talks with his cofounder at Grown Up Sports two to three times a week while he runs the company. He cofounded the company while working in human resources for the city of Houston—particularly focused in the parks and recreation department. Now, he sees this as the best time in his life to jump with two feet into his startup, especially after he has his MBA.
“We learn a lot about risk in school,” Joe said. “This is the least risky time for me to go full-force into entrepreneurship. The fact that we have something that’s revenue-generating and reasonably stable, it’s the right time to go for it.”
One thing that’s not destined to happen? Joe and Holly aren’t likely to apply their MBA educations into a joint business—at least, not anytime soon.
“We need a separation of church and state. I think that’s how we’re going to work better,” Joe says, laughing. Holly again adds: “In MBA terms, we’re diversifying our risk if we’re involved in different things.”