Today and every day, we celebrate our student parents who balance academic requirements, career pursuits, and family life while at HBS. Our campus is a community, and we strive to create a welcome and inspiring environment not just for our MBA students, but for their partners, children, and families as well.

In honor of Father’s Day, we interviewed four HBS fathers – three students and one recent graduate—to learn more about what it is like to be (or become!) a father at HBS.

Zach McNally

Graduation Year: 2023

Dad of: Thomas, 2 years old

Post-HBS Industry or Current Internship: Bain & Company

What is it like being a parent at HBS? Being a parent at HBS is such a unique and incredible experience. The entire community, from the staff and faculty to the other students, is so welcoming and supportive – my wife and son truly feel like they are full members of the community as well. Every member of my section knows my son’s name and they’re so excited when he comes to section events. I’ve always said that being a student at HBS is slightly more difficult with kids than without, but HBS is the best place to be a kid!

What is the best part of being a dad at HBS? The best part of being a dad at HBS is how much time I get to spend with my family. I’m only in class for three to four hours each day and I can plan the rest of my commitments around family time. Before HBS, I never spent an hour at the park in the afternoon or ate lunch with my family, but those are daily occurrences now. At first, it will seem like you don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything, but you’ll quickly learn that your schedule is freer than you think.

What is the parent community at HBS like? The Crimson Parents Club and the community at HBS is incredible. The community is small enough that you’re able to know everybody and big enough that there’s always someone available to lend a hand! The parent’s club is always planning great events for the kids (and parents!), but the small daily interactions at the park and in the playroom are actually the best part of the community.

What advice do you have for prospective student dads? Your calendar will fill up fast and you’ll feel overwhelmed, but most of the pain is self-inflicted. It might sound crazy, but block off family time on your calendar so you don’t commit to something else. You can spend a ton of time each day with your family, but if you don’t prioritize it and set aside the time, you’ll quickly fill the gaps with other things.

Chris Ricks

Graduation Year: 2022

Dad of: Benjamin, 4, and Ella, 3

Post-HBS Industry or Current Internship: Fintech

What is the parent community at HBS like? The HBS parent community looks out for each other. I’m incredibly thankful for the HBS families who helped us navigate getting to Boston. In the spring of 2020, the pandemic had just started, so trying to arrange housing, childcare, and all the family-specific aspects of school would have been extremely stressful without the parent community at HBS. After you have such a positive experience, you want to pay it forward to other families, which I believe makes the parent community at HBS so special. Regardless of the situation, the parent community and broader HBS community always show up for each other!

What advice do you have for prospective student dads? Take full advantage of living in the Northeast. From day trips with the family to Portland, Maine to date nights in the North End of Boston, the area has a wide variety of places to explore and make new memories.

How are you celebrating Father’s Day? Hanging out with family, grilling, and enjoying the time off before I start work.

Patrick Lupfer

Graduation Year: 2023

Dad of: Raegan (daughter, 6 months)

Post-HBS Industry or Current Internship: United States Army (Active-Duty Engineer Officer serving as an Instructor at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York)

What is it like being a parent at HBS? Being a parent at HBS is challenging, empowering, and enjoyable all at the same time. Although there are endless competing demands such as spending time with family, socializing with classmates, reading cases, and participating in student clubs, your experience is the result of how you choose to prioritize them. As a new dad, I have decided to prioritize time with family at the very top of my list and it has been great! I am confident that I will look back years from now and appreciate all the opportunities HBS afforded me, especially the time I have been able to spend with my wife and daughter.

What is the parent community at HBS like? The parent community at HBS is amazing and has been one of the best parts of the MBA experience so far! My wife, Ashley, and I felt unbelievably supported by the Crimson Parents Club as we welcomed our first child, Raegan, to the world last December. They quickly organized a meal train to assist us during the first couple of months and their generosity was awesome. It is so wonderful to have such a cohesive community who can relate to both the challenges and joys of being a student parent.

What advice do you have for prospective student dads? The best advice I can give prospective student dads is to set 2-3 clear priorities for yourself upon enrollment and to make sure spending time with your family is one of them. All MBA students feel overwhelmed and experience “FOMO” – that’s the Fear of Missing Out for you dads out there who don’t know – and adding the demands of being a parent only creates one more layer of complexity. Regardless of your industry, the opportunity to spend as much time with family as you can while in school is rare and you should not take it for granted. Although you will spend unbelievable amounts of time with your Section both in and out of the classroom, make sure you forge the strongest relationships while at school with the people who will be there for you every day for the rest of your life: your family.

How are you celebrating Father’s Day? Ashley, Raegan, and I are celebrating my first Father’s Day by attending the final round of the US Open Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, MA. Ashley and I have enjoyed golfing together over the years and we look forward to getting Raegan out on the course as soon as she can swing a golf club. I cannot think of a better way to spend my first Father’s Day than by introducing Raegan to the game of golf while watching such a historic event. For many people it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and Raegan will be lucky enough to attend it within her first year of life!

Nick Kerr

Graduation Year: 2023

Dad of: Penelope (3.5) + Evangeline (coming soon!)

Post-HBS Industry or Current Internship: Search Fund Entrepreneurship

What is it like being a parent at HBS? It’s an absolute blast! It can be hard to find balance at times, but it’s also been a great forcing mechanism for me to be intentional about what my priorities really are. Plus, the community of families here is amazing and is the source of some of my closest relationships.

What is the best part of being a dad at HBS? Having someone who loves me and wants to go to the playground with me regardless of how many dumb comments I made in class that day. Plus, it’s a ton of fun seeing my daughter make new friends with other kids from a huge range of backgrounds.

What advice do you have for prospective student dads? Set non-negotiable blocks of time with your family and stick to them. It doesn’t need to be a ton of time every day—some days, even 15 minutes of undistracted quality time can be a struggle—but decide what will work for you and don’t budge. For example, I would take my daughter out on a “daddy-daughter date” once a week (usually Friday afternoons), and it was great for our relationship. Because I knew that was a priority, I was able to keep that time on my calendar clear.

How are you celebrating Father’s Day? Taking a cruise along the Charles River with my family. I’m sure there will be some time at the Soldiers Field Park playground thrown in the mix there too.