In the fall of 2014, the Harris sisters both enrolled at HBS – 27 years after their dad first stepped onto campus as a student.
For Tyler – who studied business and art history and worked as a consultant – the
choice to go to business school was pretty clear. It took Katie, who worked in investment banking and private equity in New York, a little longer to come around to the idea.
But when it came to where to go to business school, the two were unanimous. After being regaled with their dad’s stories about HBS and meeting his section E classmates over the years, there could be no place but HBS for the Harris sisters.
These days the sisters can be found comparing case notes, swapping fashion advice (they live next door to each other), and engaging in the occasional friendly game of tennis (the loser always buys the post-match wine).
Did you both know business school was part of the plan growing up?
Katie – It was always in the back of my mind, but was never a specific part of the plan. I realized more explicitly in my first year of private equity how much having an MBA would contribute to my career in the future, whether or not I wanted to stay in finance. The opportunities and the incredible network that business school opens became a lot more apparent to me after a few years in the working world.
Tyler – It was a bit clearer to me that I wanted to attend business school. After a couple years of consulting, I was ready to get back into a classroom and have more time to think about my career.
Where did you grow up?
We grew up in Richmond, Virginia and are two years apart. People often immediately ask if we’re twins, and after revealing that we’re not, we enjoy turning the question into a guessing game of who they think is older.
How are you similar? How are you different?
In many ways, our similarities and differences depend on the topic or context – sometimes we’re eerily similar and other times polar opposites. One of our biggest differences will become readily apparent as fall approaches. Katie is an avid football fan (go Giants!) and Tyler, like any good art history major, would rather trade Friday night lights for First Fridays with friends at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Was coming to HBS a joint decision?
It wasn’t – Tyler knew much earlier that she definitely wanted to go to business school and to HBS in particular. Katie was a little slower in the realization and applied after Tyler (so the pressure was on!).
Do you see much of each other here?
Being in different sections has meant that we’ve developed separate, but sometimes overlapping, groups of friends. We’re also in a few clubs together since we do have some similar interests. We see each other most frequently because our apartments are next door to each other! It was unintentional but has been a blast living next door and having the ability to conveniently walk over for family dinner, wine, or for the overly direct fashion advice only a sister will give you.
Some people realize we’re siblings, and some people don’t – it’s funny to hear people saying that they mixed us up, but it doesn’t happen often. It certainly wasn’t harder to get to know people, and it’s actually worked out well for each of us. We separately have made great friends in section, and when we’re able to combine forces and meet each other’s friends, our network becomes even larger!
What has surprised you the most about HBS?
We were both surprised at how busy life at HBS can be. Between class, speakers, club meetings, dinners with friends, etc., we sometimes wonder how often we’d see each other if we didn’t live next door.
What’s your favorite HBS memory?
There are so many. In addition to late nights sharing conversations with classmates about everything under the sun, the classroom experience in the first year was incredible.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Visit a class – the classroom atmosphere and diverse, challenging conversations that we have every day are truly unique and define the HBS academic experience.