For many prospective students, attending business school is a joint venture. 30% of our students come to HBS with partners, and the school recognizes these spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and life partners as an integral part of the HBS community.

Cait, a second year student, is attending HBS while her husband Spencer is enrolled at Harvard Law. We checked in with her to find out what tips she could offer to incoming students with partners. 

1.      Make sure your partner knows he/she will be included in the HBS community

Partners are integrated into almost every part of HBS beside the actual class taking part (but that does not mean they cannot still come to a class or two!). They join in for all social events, join clubs, and participate on our intramural sports teams. A partner in our section was one of our highest scoring intramural football stars and if it wasn’t for him I don’t think our section would have won! Spencer has faced no challenges being accepted and liked by the section. He has made some great friends and has always felt welcomed.

2.      Think carefully about whether you want to live on or off campus

We were living in Cambridge before I applied to HBS so we stayed in our apartment off campus, which is about halfway between the business and law school. You can definitely still live on campus if you have a partner or children – the only housing not available to you is the dorms. There are multi-bedroom apartments in a variety of buildings.

Some couples prefer to be totally immersed in the HBS experience, while others prefer to maintain some distance from it. Many partners need to commute to different parts of the city, so some couples choose to live in a location that is convenient for both parties.  There’s no right or wrong place to live - it’s just whatever works the best for your family.

3.      You might have to schedule your together time

I would say the biggest challenge Spencer has faced is me having such a busy schedule and feeling like we did not have enough time together. Something important to remember! And really think about what your partner would want – is he or she the very social type or do they need their down time?

Pay attention to your partner's life outside of HBS and make time for the two of you. Calendar invites are a life saver! HBS is a high intensity, crazy, but really amazing experience and you will be in it all the time from Day 1.

Your partner will join you for a lot of the adventure, but they also will likely have a life outside of it. Take time to do things with their friends or co-workers even if it means missing some amazing party or talk on campus. Their lives are important too!