Each student at HBS brings their own experiences, style, and perspective to every aspect of the MBA experience. Today, we are celebrating the unique perspectives of new mothers at HBS. Each of these women not only were pregnant during their first (RC) or second (EC) year of HBS, but they also brought new life into the world during their time here. Find out how they juggled class time, cases, social lives, and motherhood through each of their amazing stories. 

Ally Wagner (MBA 2019) Pregnant RC | Delivery EC | Newborn during EC 


It takes a village. Or, in my case, it takes a class full of compassionate, selfless students and faculty. 

Giving birth at the beginning of my EC (second) year while my husband, a military officer, was stationed 3,000 miles away from me was not part of my plan. But after years of struggling with infertility and worrying I would never experience motherhood, my joy of realizing my miracle pregnancy eclipsed the fear of being a geographically-single mommy at HBS. 

Nevertheless, being a new mom at HBS was extremely challenging. Yet, this wonderfully difficult period allowed me to fully experience the true meaning of community. My amazing classmates took care of me and my son—bringing us food, keeping us company, and offering encouragement and/or babysitting on days I needed them the most. These incredible individuals demonstrated the beauty of humanity, teaching me to be vulnerable and inspiring me to pay their kindness forward. Perhaps of all the lessons I’ve learned at HBS, discovering the profound power a community can have on a life is perhaps the most important.

I will receive my diploma later this month not because of my hard work alone, but also thanks to the support of my HBS community. It truly takes a village and, unequivocally, I have the best one at HBS. 

Anna Marie Wagner (MBA 2017) Perspective on having a baby at HBS vs. outside of HBS 

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I often joke that HBS was my “two-year maternity leave.”  My son Jonathan was born 12 weeks to the day before the first day of RC (first) year and baby James was born three weeks after graduation (the robes hide the belly nicely!).  I worked in PE, was sponsored at HBS, and figured that business school would be a great time to have kids given the easier schedule compared to the world of finance.  While nothing about having kids ever goes quite as imagined, HBS did give me the gift of time with Jonathan. I could take advantage of free afternoons to nurse him at daycare and my schedule was totally predictable, allowing me to always be there to pick him up.  But more than anything, HBS gave me peace of mind that I wasn’t throwing my career off track to have kids (which for too many women at many firms is still a major risk).  

HBS did pose its own unique challenges. Pumping was the worst… One of the biggest adjustments in coming to HBS was the rigidity of the schedule (don’t even think about being late to class!). Figuring out how to pump effectively in the 20-minute breaks between classes (or on a bus in Lima during FIELD 2!) was my particular challenge – and I regret losing that casual social time with section-mates.  But it was clear to me throughout that the HBS community wanted me to thrive and I always felt supported by professors, the team at Student Academic Services (SAS) which helped get more mothers’ rooms in Aldrich and Spangler  (the main student buildings, and the other parents on campus (who would watch the kids when our daycare was closed). 

While there’s never an easy time to have kids, HBS was as ideal as they come.  The challenge becomes an extension of the biggest challenge at HBS broadly: what do you focus your time on?  There are so many options – classes, fun, networking, entrepreneurship, job searches, family, etc. – and it’s impossible to be good at more than a couple of those.  I chose classes and family and while I did regret missing out on some weekend trips or crazy startups, I had an incredibly rich experience at HBS. Remember that everyone is making tradeoffs (the folks who are busy trying to get a job in PE aren’t having much fun or starting companies either!) and use your time at HBS to really reflect upon what it is you care about and what you’re willing to sacrifice (or as Strategy puts it: choose what to be bad at).  

Kate LeBeau (MBA 2019) Pregnant EC | Delivery EC 


How has being at HBS shaped your experience during pregnancy/delivery/early motherhood? 

HBS provided me an actual village of support – from female faculty providing personal experience as a mom in the business world, fellow moms helping me navigate school and day-to-day responsibilities, and my section mates celebrating and loving on my baby like family. I couldn’t imagine a more concentrated and close-by support network sharing similar life experiences.   

What do you wish you knew before coming to HBS? 

The multiple ways HBS supports student moms; I went in with the mentality that I would have to solve most of the “logistical” issues myself.  From classes, exam planning, Harvard Health Services, and lactation support; HBS has gone out of its way to ensure new mothers have the resources they need.  If something is missing, SAS is there to help. 

What advice would you give to a student/partner going through a similar moment? 

Be proactive – have a plan and speak up with questions.   

Erin Kaivan (MBA 2020) Pregnant RC | Delivery RC 


How has being at HBS shaped your experience during pregnancy/delivery/early motherhood? 

I would re-phrase the question to how pregnancy/delivery/early motherhood shaped my HBS experience. Being a mother is now a much bigger part of my identity! The biggest reward is that my daughter, Odette, now has the most exceptional group of 93+ uncles and aunts to help guide and mentor her as she grows up! It was also a great reminder of how much you can accomplish if you set clear goals for yourself. 

What do you wish you knew before coming to HBS? 

Before matriculation in the fall of 2018, I was worried starting HBS while five and a half months pregnant would mean that no one would want to be my friend or take the time to get to know me beyond my status as “pregnant". This fear was nowhere close to the reality I experienced. I was absolutely blown away by the warmth and excitement espoused by everyone in my section - I could not have asked for a more welcoming environment.  

What advice would you give to a student/partner going through a similar moment? 

HBS can be completely all consuming of every second of your time if you let it! Whether it is trying to figure out what a DCF is in finance, being involved in clubs, attending section events, and even just trying to sleep – it is absolutely imperative to ruthlessly prioritize your time. Know what you want to get out of this amazing experience before you start and ensure you set check ins with yourself along the way to stay on track. Don’t buy into the myth of “FOMO”, do what you need to do and remember why you are here!

Carolina Perry (MBA 2019) Pregnant EC | Delivery Post-graduation


How has being at HBS shaped your experience during pregnancy/delivery/early motherhood? 

HBS is such a supportive community. Everyone was so excited when we shared the news that we were expecting. I had friends offering me their on-campus apartment to take a quick nap between classes if I was tired, others organizing the cutest baby shower for the baby, professors asking me how I was feeling, and I have so many examples of successful professional moms sharing their advice with me on how to manage career and family.  I cannot imagine a more supportive environment during pregnancy and I’m incredibly grateful for it. 

What do you wish you knew before coming to HBS? 

The openness of HBS to help and to change things, if needed. When I came, little information was available to support moms. By engaging in deep and thoughtful conversations with the MBA administration and faculty, a lot of things have changed: SAS currently offers a specially dedicated person to support student moms; there is clarity on the different options that parents have when they have a newborn; there’s a centralized page with a lot of advice from previous students, with crucial tips. The school has a huge commitment to families. I wish I was more confident/aware of this before. 

What advice would you give to a student/partner going through a similar moment?

I have three pieces of advice. First, if you have a concern, speak up. HBS will do everything possible to support you during this time. Second, take this opportunity to get advice from the amazing and inspirational moms on campus — from both faculty and colleagues. Third, take this as an opportunity to make a difference in the world. There is still so much work that can be done in the business world to better support families. Be the beacon that leads that change in every environment you are in whether it is school, company, or community.