Before attending HBS, Annie Fulton studied Architecture at the University of Arkansas and worked for a building materials company. It was important to Annie that she become more involved with the decision-making process of what is built and how it is built, so she decided to attend HBS to pivot into a more fulfilling career in the building industry. Annie graduated in 2017, and has since started a career in strategy with Clark Construction, one of the largest commercial general contractors in the country.

Fortunately, attending Harvard Business School did not prevent Annie from being with her dog, Piper. We caught up with Annie to learn more about her and Piper’s experience at HBS.

Were you nervous about coming to HBS with a dog?
I was a little nervous that I'd feel like I was missing out on experiences by having to take care of a pet. I was happy to discover that it wasn’t an issue at all. In many cases, Piper was allowed to come to the activities and events. She joined many TGIF's, section barbecues, and dinner parties. There were certainly a few weeks where she didn’t receive the attention she needed or deserved, but that is part of life whether I'm at school or work. 

Tell us about Piper.
Piper is energetic, loving, and extremely intelligent. She has seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm. When she isn't bouncing off the walls, she loves to snuggle. She is also incredibly smart which can be a blessing and a curse. She can learn tricks really easily but she has also figured out how to get treats off of counters. She’s definitely good at manipulating me to get what she wants. 

How did you balance being a student and pet owner?
In many ways, it's easier than normal working life. At HBS, I had more control over my schedule and more time throughout the day to run home to take Piper for a walk. However, I was also very busy. There was always something going on, day and night, so I had to plan ahead and factor Piper into my daily schedule. This is something dog owners already have to do, so it wasn’t terribly different. Not to mention, you have an endless supply of dog sitters!

Do you have any favorite spots on campus or around Boston that are dog-friendly?
Piper loves Boston, and especially enjoyed her walks to HBS. She couldn’t get enough of chasing all the bunnies on campus and loved visiting her friends at the Admissions office. Outside of campus, she enjoyed walks along the Charles River. Several times, we had the opportunity to go on short day-hikes. Two of our favorite spots were Halibut Point State Park on the coast and the Blue Hills Reservation.

What are the housing options for students with pets?
There are many options for students with pets. Several Harvard apartments allow dogs and cats that are less than 40 pounds. I lived in a pet-friendly Harvard-managed building just across the river in Cambridge which was only about a 12 minute walk to class. Soldiers Field Park has some dog-friendly apartments as well. Many of my classmates with pets lived in non-Harvard housing in Cambridge or Allston, but they found pet-friendly apartments difficult to find which is why I would recommend renting through the University if you can.

Has your section embraced your dog?
Piper practically became a member of our section. Not only did Piper attend many events and make new friends with my section-mates, she actually made it into the section’s year-end caricature. Each section member had a saying, prop or name card that represented a piece of what they bring to the section, and I had Piper!