Partners and families play an important role at HBS. Today, we want to celebrate the partners who have been an instrumental part in adding value to the lives of HBS students and their community. Together, HBS MBA student Frances and her partner Jeremy have embraced the academic life with open arms. We caught up with Frances to learn about their story and the distance they’ve traveled to support each other’s dreams.
When you know, you just know.
Jeremy and I met at Tufts University in Boston, MA as undergraduates about three months before Jeremy was due to graduate and commission into the US Army, and one year before I commissioned and joined the US Air Force. Despite all recommendations to do the contrary, we decided to give a long distance relationship a try. We logged tens of thousands of miles between Oklahoma and Boston, Florida and North Carolina, Florida and Afghanistan, and Afghanistan and Las Vegas. Finally, after four years, we hatched a plan and Jeremy moved to Las Vegas where we shared the same zip code for the first time since going to school together in Boston. After realizing that we flew over 32,390 miles just to visit each other, we shared a long-delayed revelation: when you know, you just know. In the fall of 2010, we married and stayed in Las Vegas for another three years before moving back east when I was stationed in Western Massachusetts.
I didn’t think I would get into HBS.
It was Jeremy who encouraged me to not only consider attending business school, but to apply to Harvard Business School (despite my frequent assertions that I would never get in). When I received the email to interview I immediately called him and was apparently screaming into the phone so much and so unintelligibly that he thought I had been in a car accident. I am here at HBS because my husband’s unwavering support has been incredible and enduring, including leaving his job (once again) so that we could live together in Cambridge.
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note.
Though some aspects of HBS life can be more challenging when you are married, we have found a lot of support and made some terrific friends. We have chosen to live off campus to ensure there is still a separation between school and our lives together which has worked well for us, but we also know couples that are perfectly happy on campus. The section includes Significant Others (SO) in all of the events so that partners feel just as connected. Sometimes, I tend to suspect people only invite me to things because they want Jeremy to attend! Even though Jeremy is very busy with his own career and cannot always attend events, he always feels welcome when he does.
My advice for incoming students already in a relationship is to make sure you are intentionally carving out time for the two of you to be together once school starts. First semester can be very busy and you have to deal with competing priorities. “Us” time can easily become “us-with-the-section” time or get skipped entirely. Never underestimate the power of a hand-written note tucked into a backpack or a briefcase when things get stressful. And remember: this is just one chapter in the story of your relationship. Sometimes, it’s just good to be in the same zip code.