Moving across continents is hard. Moving across continents with your spouse and 8-week-old daughter is even harder! In August 2017, we prepared to move from London to Boston to begin our 2-year journey in the MBA program as I joined the HBS MBA Class of 2019. It felt like a crazy idea and one that we would have to figure out as we went along. I could have never anticipated the support we would get once we arrived on HBS campus. 

I quickly found out that I have 900+ classmates to call on as a resource when faced with almost any challenge – 90 of which are section mates who constantly offer their assistance when I need it. 

I will share a few anecdotes from our time here, and with any luck, this will give you a flavor of what it’s like to move here with your nearest and dearest. 

Admitted Student Welcome (ASW) 

ASW is where we met our newly-admitted classmates and their partners. Over lunch, I mentioned that we were expecting a baby over the summer. A few weeks after returning to London, we found a package in the mail from one of my new classmates and his fiancée – a perfect newborn sized “Harvard” onesie! Naturally we were touched by the unexpected generosity and couldn’t wait to move to Boston and build strong relationships with our new friends. 

Setting up our house and making a home on campus 

Moving with a family can be challenging in any circumstance if you do it on your own, but we were fortunate enough to find ourselves surrounded by new friends and neighbors who didn’t hesitate to lend a hand. One classmate was kind enough to rent a van and drive me to IKEA for furniture. Another classmate insisted on helping with some of our DIY furniture – he built our bed! I will never forget how indebted I felt toward him. All the help we received made the process infinitely easier.  

During Thanksgiving, one of my classmates invited us to their house for a spectacular dinner before leaving campus to spend the holiday with their family. We also signed up for the Thanksgiving Host Program where international students and their families could join the family of faculty or staff to enjoy the true hospitality of an American Thanksgiving! 

School can be a family affair 

Early in the school year, I was prompted to reflect in a FIELD Foundations class as to how I want to spend my time at HBS. I decided that in order to be successful I would be 100% present whenever I’m with my section mates and 100% present whenever I’m with my family. This has really helped guide me throughout my time here. 

There are also plenty of families on campus so there are lots of opportunities to share experiences. On numerous occasions, section mates and partners help with babysitting when my wife and I have a date night, and section retreats have also been a great opportunity to combine family time with classmates.  

Living on campus 

This is one of the best decisions we ever made. The convenience of on-campus housing is outstanding – it allows us to engage in student and club activities and provides the flexibility to switch gears very quickly with such a rigorous schedule. We have also benefitted from activity days with the Graduate Commons Program (GCP), which builds community by hosting events that connect neighbors in Harvard University Housing. For instance, the GCP recently organised a fun family trip to the New England Aquarium! 

Joining Crimson Parents 

Joining the community of parents on campus is essential! Crimson Parents, the club for all families at HBS, sponsors activities for everyone. There are weekly toddler classes for kids and parents, as well as frequent family friendly events and trips. Every year the Dean invites all the families to his house for a check-in meal to see how we’re doing and generously opens his house for family occasions throughout the year. 

Overall, the support my family and I have found in this community is unparalleled and has made our MBA journey as parents more manageable and enjoyable than we ever anticipated!