HBS is a diverse place – and not just in terms of the countries our students hail from; some students are single, some come here with partners, and some bring the whole family.
In the past we’ve discussed what it’s like to be a partner at HBS, but we haven’t talked about what it’s like to be a parent at HBS. We recently connected with Debbie Nichols and Aubrey Chavez – members of the HBS Crimson Parents Club – to learn more. Here’s a round-up of what they thought parents should know about HBS.
1. Don’t worry about being isolated: families are integrated into the HBS community
Aubrey: Partners were invited to all the section events and the kids were welcome to just about everything that happened before bedtime too. We participated in intramural sports (as players and fans respectively) and felt like part of the section family from the beginning. HBS also held a special partners' case night so we could all experience the case method first hand. They have really made an effort to show that partners and families are a valuable part of the community.
2. Join the Crimson Parents Club when you arrive on campus
Debbie: Crimson Parents has been a key factor to our experience here. It is an amazing club that brings families together because of their natural thing in common (kids). This club provides a way for partners and their children to interact, provide support, and learn together. The club provides enriching events for the children (music, soccer, karate, swimming, yoga, craft time, field trips) as well as for the partners (speaking series, “book club,” “documentary club,” cooking demonstrations).
In addition, since many of us had to move to Boston, partners are able to share resources with each other (navigating Boston with children, babysitting, parenting books, etc.). Since our student-partners are busy all day and some evenings with school and recruiting efforts, Crimson Parents is a way to give the partners an equally enriching experience.
Aubrey: We love Crimson Parents! This club is the very best way to meet other families. Some of the highlights for us were the holiday parties all through the year, the playgroups for children of every age, and the weekly girls' nights. Crimson Parents has really enriched our experience and connected us with families that became our very best friends.
3. Keep in mind living on campus can be a benefit if you have kids
Debbie: Living on campus allows you to be close to the events and happenings, both for the Crimson Parents club and HBS events. We are able to utilize the campus facilities for playgroups and such. During the winter we even let the kids walk the underground tunnels to get their energy out since the playground was covered in snow. The winter can be very challenging with kids – just pushing a stroller alone in the snow can prove very difficult! If you live on campus, all of the sidewalks are plowed for you and there is underground parking available. I honestly feel like that saved us during the winter! We were advised to live on campus so we didn’t even consider living off campus, although I suppose some of the merits are that you can save money, have a pet (if that is an issue) and you may be able to get more space!
4. HBS is an experience for the whole family – enjoy every moment!
Debbie: Anyone who has kids should have no reservations whatsoever about coming here with a family. Through the HBS community and clubs, partners and children can have just as meaningful an experience as their student spouse/parent. When you get here you’ll fill your calendar with more events than you can even attend, and you’ll have instant friends for yourself and your children.
Aubrey: Just jump in and experience everything you can here. This has been the most enriching experiences of our lives. Not just for my husband, but for all of us. We're sad it can only last two years.