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Out with a group of JD-MBAs and their Joint Ventures/Co-Counsels for Korean BBQ (Heather and Drew are on the bottom left)

For my partner, Drew, and me, the road to Northwestern had been a long and challenging one.

When Drew applied to Kellogg, we were serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in Benin, a small country in West Africa. We had been waiting for the acceptance call all day when Drew came to find me and told me we needed to talk.

My heart sank.

As I opened the door after him, I looked up and saw him holding a piece of paper that read, “We’re going to Northwestern!” We both immediately started jumping up and down, hugging and laughing – reactions I hope most have.

Drew was invited to pursue a JD-MBA, a dual-degree program at Kellogg and Northwestern Law. We could not wait to get to Chicago for the start of our new adventure.

Even with limited access to the Internet in Benin, we were able to do extensive research on the program and what our lives would be like in Chicago. We soon realized that the JD-MBA program places couples in a unique situation: the first year is spent in downtown Chicago, the second in Evanston and the third back in downtown Chicago.

Since we had never been to Chicago, we had a number of questions, ranging from “How are we going to make that commute work?” to “Will we get the same support in downtown Chicago that couples get up in Evanston?”

It didn’t take many Google searches to realize that this unique commuting situation would actually work out really well! Northwestern provides students with a free daily shuttle that goes directly from the downtown campuses to the Evanston campus.

Additionally, if we decided to move after Drew’s first year, there is an amazing organization called Student Space that provides valuable (and free) housing services to Northwestern students. Student Space not only helped us find our apartment, but it also helped us sign our lease while we were finishing Peace Corps service in Benin!

Bowling with each year’s class of JD-MBAs and their Joint Ventures/Co-Counsels

We also quickly realized that we would benefit from both the Joint Ventures program at Kellogg and the Co-Counsel program at Northwestern Law. Both groups would be able to provide support, fun social events and a network of significant others who knew exactly what we were going through.

Everyone we have met has come from widely diverse backgrounds, keeping all group activities interesting and enjoyable! We have established incredible friendships and we enjoy regular game nights, movie dates, sports tournaments and happy hours with our wonderful Joint Venture and Co-Counsel friends.

The gem of Northwestern is truly the people you meet.

I am thoroughly looking forward to the next two years that will undoubtedly be full of new friends, adventures, opportunities and fun!

To my fellow and future Joint Ventures and Co-Counsels: no matter what program your partner is in, remember that you have a place at Northwestern, too.

Heather Pace is a Solutions Marketing Associate at Rocket Fuel while her partner attends Kellogg’s JD-MBA program. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from St. John’s University.