The accompanying partner: how to use your time abroad to improve your skills

The accompanying partner: how to use your time abroad to improve your skills


Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), is one of Europe’s leading business schools and offers a portfolio of top-ranking programmes.

Brandon Kirby, Director of MBA Marketing & Admissions at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, writes about accompanying partners who are not in the workforce, and how they can use their time abroad to improve their business and leadership skills.

Relocating outside of your home country for a job or assignment can be exciting as well as stressful, especially for the accompanying partner (often referred to as the trailing partner).

Often the assignment is a multi-year engagement and in those instances, it’s not uncommon for the accompanying person to leave the workforce during their time abroad.

How about pursuing an MBA?

One idea might be to consider during this time is going back to school and pursuing an MBA. That suggestion might sound crazy, but here are three reasons to consider getting an MBA as an accompanying partner:

Avoid employment gap years

When reviewing a CV, employers or recruiters always seem to question why someone isn’t currently working or has been out of work for an extended period of time. It might be easy to explain your situation if you get the chance to speak with a hiring manager, but what if you don't?

Going back to school is a perfect way to proactively utilise your time away from work. Plus, should you decide to re-enter the workforce, it shows that you took initiative during your time away.

Instant network

One of the biggest challenges in moving to another country is that it’s very likely you won’t know anyone. Your partner has the advantage of meeting plenty of colleagues at their workplace, but it can be a challenge meeting people from both a personal and professional standpoint when arriving in a new country.

By enrolling in an MBA programme, you will have the opportunity to get to know new people. These new connections might be the key to your next position, so there are both professional and personal benefits.

 Retain your professional identity

Going from working full-time to no longer working can be challenging in many ways, especially since many people tend to spend more time at work than they do at home.

By focussing on improving your business and leadership skills, it is easier to maintain the focus needed for on-the-job success. In addition, maintaining your professional identity through education could increase your satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

Using your time effectively can make all the difference

So, what to do if you find yourself in the position of relocating and not working? It’s great to explore your new home and to do some sightseeing, but taking a gap year (or two) to learn and improve your skillset will help you to remain sharp while meeting a lot of great people and could prove rewarding.

Your time away from work can be a gift with the right perspective, and using that time effectively could really make the difference when you decide to go back to work.

Visit the RSM Open Day on March 25, 2017

If you wish to make an informed choice about your MBA, visit the RSM Open Day. RSM’s staff, students and alumni will gladly share their knowledge of MBA life on campus with you.
› Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017
› Time: 10am - 2pm
› Location: Bayle (J) Building
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam, Netherlands

Sign up for the RSM open day

Interested in more information or have questions about an MBA programme? Contact Brandon Kirby, Director of MBA Admissions and Marketing:
› RSM official website
› Tel: +31 (0)1 040 82 222
› Email: [email protected]
› Address: Burgemeester Oudlaan 50 - Bayle building, 3062 PA Rotterdam




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