I am often asked the question, “How do you get through business school with a family?” I might give a light-hearted reply, but what I really want to say is, “How do you get through without one?” Here at HBS with me is my incredible wife, Abby, and our two wonderful daughters, Sophie and Margot. Though my classroom experience may look similar to any other student, it’s in that extracurricular time that the differences come to life. Sure, I don’t attend as many social events as the average student, but it’s not a major loss when I have a small fan club of my own at home. I don’t sleep in on the weekends, but it’s because I’m busy making waffles with my two best little friends. I might be seen jumping off a Zoom meeting in a hurry, but it’s only because some “owies” are only made better by dad. There are compromises, to be sure, but the joy I get from having my kids in my life far outweighs the difficulties. They are a greater source of confidence, reassurance, and purpose than anything I could muster on my own.

To help explain why I believe fatherhood is so important, I want to share a bit of context. From age 0-7, I was raised by a stay-at-home dad who himself was raised by a single mom. I can look back at times in my childhood and see where he was making up parenting as he went, but then again, who isn’t? Rather than shirk the responsibility, he rose to the occasion and gave me the role model that he never had himself, and I am deeply thankful. His conviction that he needed to be a part of my life was deeply rooted in the experience of his own life, and it’s only in recent years that I’ve begun to understand the sacrifice and commitment involved with that.

As such, I feel a solemn responsibility to underscore the critical role that fathers play in the lives of their children. The annals of HBS are filled with people who underestimated this fact and left a broken home in the wake of a successful career. Being an engaged father doesn’t always mean forgoing professional opportunities, but it does mean making decisions that help children know that they are a priority. The quality of time with your family is far more important than the quantity. I won’t belabor this point too long, but it is sufficient to say that HBS students today have it in their power to set a higher bar on fatherhood for the benefit of their own lives and society as a whole.

I am thankful for the environment that HBS fosters to making this possible. The staff, resources, the Crimson Parents club, and, most importantly, Section E have led the way for including all the members of my family in this experience. I am thankful to be part of a generation that is more encouraging than ever of a father’s place in the home. I hope that every one of us will take a moment to say thank you to the fathers and father-figures that were a part of our lives on this special day - and commit to becoming good ones ourselves- whether now or in the future.