The business school experience is different for everyone. Some students come to HBS with partners, some bring their families, and some are in long distance relationships—while others are single and interested in exploring the dating scene in Boston and at HBS.
Sarina Hickey (MBA 2016) met her fiancé Drew in discussion group during their first year at HBS. We checked in with her to learn more about dating during business school, and how common it is for sparks to fly between classmates on campus.
Do many people meet potential partners at HBS?
There is a pretty significant amount of people who partner up at HBS. My fiancé and I were assigned to the same discussion group. Our other friends met in section or through social encounters. A few connected over the summer before attending HBS, or in the social activities at the start of HBS, and then throughout the two years whether on trips or through mutual friends.
I think it happens because there is a lot of alignment on the outlook of life – you want to be stimulated intellectually by your partner, and the most amazing perspectives and topics come up daily while at HBS to facilitate those conversations. It’s easy to make that intellectual connection which, I think, is harder to find outside of this academic environment.
How did you meet your fiancé?
I met Drew on the first day of class at HBS. I wasn’t immediately interested in him because I wasn’t interested in dating anyone. But as we got to know each other through our discussion group, I came to respect him greatly. We always ended up on the same side of the arguments, and whereas I could teach him Finance he excelled in Technology and Operations Management, so we complemented each other’s skillset. We also serendipitously lived a few blocks away from each other off campus, so he would pick me up on the way to discussion group, and we would walk every day to and from school. I guess that was our courting period!
I remember the moment I looked at him ‘differently’. We were sitting in Burden Auditorium waiting for a speaker and he recounted an experience he had as an Officer in the Army while flying Apaches in Afghanistan. I remember thinking – “I’ve never met anyone like this before. THIS is an amazing man.” So I took a chance and said yes to a date!
The many opportunities for travel and exploration at HBS also helped solidify our love. We are both world travelers, and have a mutual love for adventure. I’ll never forget our first international excursion together – we went with my section to Iceland. In fact, we loved it so much that that’s where we are getting married next July!
Do students date people outside the HBS community?
Yes – a good amount of people do date outside of the HBS community. From my friends it seems as if online dating is the best way to meet those people.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are single or in a relationship?
Don’t come in with any expectations! If you are single, don’t think too hard about it. If you meet a great person, great! If not, you will still create lasting, meaningful relationships. And that’s really what it’s all about.
For those in relationships, understand that both you and your partner will have to work a little harder at communication and patience. Try to bring your partner to as many events as possible, make them a part of your section, and spend the extra time it will take to explain what you are going through – socially and professionally. At the end of the day, remember they are your support network, they know you best. Don’t forget about that or take that for granted.
HBS creates confusion personally and professionally, and that’s exactly what you want out of this experience – to think and grow and challenge yourself. Your partner is the best person to help keep you grounded, to push back, and to be your cheerleader.
What’s your favorite HBS memory?
Just one?! My favorite HBS memory would be dancing all night with Drew and my friends in the middle of the desert while on a trip to Morocco. We got to our desert oasis via camels, watched the sunset over the dunes, and rocked out until sunrise.