This Mother’s Day, we celebrated progress and possibility on the HBS campus! HBS first accepted women into the MBA Program in 1963. Fast forward six decades and now classrooms are 44% female and most sections have 1-2 mothers. Across the RC (first-year) and EC (second-year) MBA student body, we have over 20 mothers on campus.

While we still have a long way to go to make our business school classrooms, board rooms, and executive leadership teams representative of their constituents – including mothers – we are hopeful that this will be the generation that tips the scales.

Conversations of diversity, equity, and inclusion have been elevated in a new way. These discussions are happening more frequently, and are more often leading to real problem solving, dialogue, and, we hope, lasting change.

When I return for my 30 and 50-year reunions, I hope to look around classrooms and see student mothers on par with student fathers. Female professors on par with male professors. A female dean. Even more diversity of race, political thought, socioeconomic upbringing, among many other areas of difference and perspective. Our classmates and alumni taking strides to create equity and lead with empathy. I look forward to seeing the MoMBAs (student moms) at the helm of their industries and companies.

I’m so excited to introduce you to the incredibly strong, talented, and inspiring MoMBAs below.

Adriana Cruz Martins

Year: Second

Mom of: Sophie (13 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Infrastructure/Transportation

Post-HBS Industry: Investment Banking in Natural Resources

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? Having the flexibility to drop off and pick up my daughter at her daycare every day and getting to know amazing women who have inspired me so much!

What is the hardest part about being a mom at HBS? Being away from family and in a new place was hard because your back-up options for child care are more limited. And COVID unfortunately did not help.

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? At the end it is a very personal choice. Coming to HBS with kids or having kids here will make the MBA experience very different from many of the students, but as long as your priorities are clear you can make it work and you will likely find more people around to help than you imagine.

HBS mama memory? I started having contractions in a The Entrepreneurial Manager class first year and my water broke around 2 hours after the class ended. I don’t think I will ever forget the name of that case (“ofo”) because it helped me realize how close I was from meeting my baby.

Marie Jimenez

Year: Second

Due Date: August 21, 2022

Pre-HBS Industry: U.S. Navy then semiconductor manufacturing

Post-HBS Industry: Consulting

What is it like to be pregnant at HBS? HBS was extremely supportive when I told them about my pregnancy. They shared many initiatives they take to help new moms at school (such as a shuttle van to get around if you live off campus, lactation rooms, etc.).

Pregnancy cravings? I’ve eaten more hamburgers in the last 3 months than I have eaten in the last 10 years. Thank you @thegrille.

What is the best part about being pregnant at HBS? Your section is absolutely thrilled for you and your partner and (like you) they can't wait to meet the little one!

Alice Liu

Year: Second

Mom of: Mia (3.5 years old), Leo (4 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Banking

Post-HBS Industry: eCommerce

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? HBS is probably one of the best places on earth to raise children! The community of student moms and families is wonderful. The amenities and campus are state of the art. It's a very cozy environment and the emotional support makes the experience so much less daunting and lonely. It's true that business school is very busy, but I think it's still a lot easier than juggling certain jobs and motherhood.

What is the hardest part about being a mom at HBS? You only have 24 hours in a day :)

How do you make it all work? I subscribe to the concept of DYNAMIC work-life balance, where if I feel one part of my life is lacking, either professionally or family, I shift quickly. Accept or surrender to the fact that there's no permanent equation in how to spend time as a mother.

I took a gap semester in my EC (second) year because I felt I was drowning between classes, the part-time job I wanted to do, and a broken childcare support system (daycare was shortened due to COVID). Luckily, my husband was going to graduate one year after me, so that provided the time buffer I needed to breathe out, get some work experience, and grow our family. In the families community, I learned that student mothers have dual-professional families, which adds an additional layer of complexity when it comes to division of labor. COVID really helped my husband and I grow as a team when it comes to managing our household and our collective careers.

Sally Sorte

Year: Second

Mom of: Olivia (2 years)

Pre-HBS Industry: Teach for America, Google, founded a charter school, McKinsey

Post-HBS Industry: EdTech VC

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? All the cuteness, joy, singing, and dance parties sprinkled throughout my day. There are lots of fun family events on campus – from petting zoos to birthday parties. The MoMBA community is a highlight!

What is the hardest part of being a mom at HBS? Being so far from family during COVID and Olivia’s early years was really hard. Being in a very different life chapter from the majority of your classmates can be pretty isolating at times.

HBS mama memory? My section threw an incredible baby shower for Olivia (in December 2019; I deferred 2020-2021 due to COVID). It was such a fun and special event. We felt so loved!

Zoe Ofer

Year: First

Mom of: Mika (16 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Intelligence Unit (Unit 8200) + Lawyer (commercial litigation) + Real Estate Investments

Summer Internship: VC and working on a startup

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? Feeling I can do it all and not have to give up on any of my dreams.

What is the hardest part about being a mom at HBS? Being expected to function the same as everyone else, with half the amount of sleep.

How do you make it all work? Dividing responsibilities at home with my amazing husband (who is also an MBA student, at MIT), using babysitters to go out in the evenings and not miss out on the social scene, setting time apart for date nights, learning to ask for help, being ok with letting some things go (cooking, working out).

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? It’s hard but possible. It’s all about prioritizing. If this is your dream, don’t give up on it.

Favorite HBS mama memory? Having Mika with us as the only baby in our section retreat with 100 section aunts and uncles was an experience I’ll never forget.

How did it all begin? I was daydreaming about getting pregnant and getting into HBS, wondering if it’s even possible to do both. I googled “HBS moms” and read a blog featuring some of HBS’s awesome MoMBAs (shout out to Sally and Alice), got excited about the idea, and took a pregnancy test (even though I was only a few days late) and found out a few minutes later I was pregnant! If that wasn’t enough, I found out I got into HBS the same week!

Marisa Osborne

Year: First

Mom of: John Max (3 years), Zora (6 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Petroleum Engineer previously based in Houston, Texas

Summer Internship: Oregon-based General Management Development Program

What is it like to be pregnant / a mom at HBS? Amazing. Focused. Challenged. Supported. My daughter was born right in the middle of midterm exams! I started HBS with a toddler and pregnant with my second; I have never looked back. "I don't know how you do it" is a phrase I hear frequently; each day is filled with its own challenges but certainly each day has been a success. I have become a lot more efficient with my time, still manage to make meaningful connections with section mates and most importantly carve out time for my family... balancing the week is more practical than each day.

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? Nothing beats the hugs from my kids when I get home. HBS is amazing but real life happens in my home, eating dinner and laughing with my babies.

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? Pregnancy showed me the flexible side of HBS and encouraged me to speak up about the things I need (like moving my exam so I can deliver a baby). It can be done. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. I would love to see more mothers and more families in general at HBS, because you deserve to be here. The families here are very supportive of each other.

HBS mama memory? While I was out on parental leave, my classes were recorded. During each Finance class recording my professor would ask "Do we have a baby yet?"... until one day the recording showed our section president receive a text (that I sent from the hospital). He stopped the class to announce the birth of my baby girl! The whole section AND my Finance professor applauded. It was so beautiful I cried! And now my daughter's birth announcement to an HBS classroom lives in a recording.

Claudia Lopez Lopez

Year: Second

Mom of: Lucy (1 year), Santiago (2 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Consumer Banking, Oil & Gas

Post-HBS Industry: Manufacturing / Technology

What is it like to be pregnant / a new mom at HBS? Because I had both of my children while getting my MBA, I was pregnant for 75% of my time at HBS. Being pregnant RC (first) year was more difficult because I was still getting adjusted to being a student again and it was my first time expecting. It was also challenging to have children during the height of the pandemic because our loved ones could not visit us or meet the babies. The support I felt from my section, however, made all the difference. They were my family away from home and helped us in several ways - they shared class notes with me, set up a meal train for my husband and I, and sent us gifts for our kids. I also loved being part of the MoMBA group where I received amazing advice from more experienced moms and made very close friends.

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? The best part about being a mom at HBS is that you have flexibility to spend time with your children and they get to be involved in many of your events during school. It makes for very special memories!

What is the hardest part about being a mom at HBS? It can be tricky to manage your time appropriately during your HBS journey and having children/being pregnant adds another layer of complexity. Sleep deprivation is real, especially when they are really little, when they get sick, or when they are teething. Ultimately it comes down to getting organized, being intentional with how you spend your time, and staying positive.

How do you make it all work? In terms of school work, I try to get ahead of project deadlines, communicate openly with professors, and just roll with the punches. I try to give myself grace when I think I may be falling short, and remind myself that it will be okay. I have found that taking things in stride is the best way to stay sane. However, it does take a village! My husband and my mom have been extremely supportive.

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? I would say that starting a family during business school is completely doable but it requires an understanding and willingness to accept the trade-offs that come with it. For example, choosing to forgo international travel and social events due to potential conflicts with pregnancy/delivery. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be transparent with your classmates and professors, keep everyone in the loop about what is going on so you can be successful in the classroom as well.

HBS mama memory? I met Adriana Cruz Martins in the first year during one of our MoMBA meetings, we were pregnant at the same time! It was so nice to go through our pregnancies together, and our daughters were born within 2 weeks of each other. Sophie and Lucy have grown up seeing each other for the past year and it has been wonderful!

Rachel Li

Year: First

Mom of: Logan Li (15 months)

Pre-HBS Industry: Consumer finance then non-profit (religious)

Summer Internship: Tech

What is it like to be a new mom at HBS? I have absolutely loved being a parent at HBS. Becoming a mom felt like discovering a core part of my identity that I didn't know about before, but was always there. It has given me more confidence in who I am and what I care about. Being a mom has helped me feel more grounded as I've explored where I want my career to go and has given me a different perspective to bring to the classroom. HBS has great formal support for families through the MoMBA club and the Crimson Parents Club, and also has informal support through amazing professors and section mates who have been incredibly understanding (truth be told, I think most of my section mates are only friends with me because they want to hang out with my baby).

How do you make it all work? I think you have to know which things are truly your top priority and how to say no to the things that aren't. Second semester I decided that getting sleep and exercising were among my very top priorities. Sometimes that meant sacrificing social events, but I never felt bad about it because it was a conscious and active choice. It has made such a difference for my life and mental health to be well-rested and active!

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? If you want to have or start a family at business school, then do it! I believe that while career ambitions are important, so are family ambitions. What that tactically means for every person might look different, but I think it's ok to have multiple parts of your life that are important to you and that you are actively pursuing. HBS is definitely a place where you can do both. You'll have to plan more strategically and prioritize more ruthlessly, but you can absolutely do it if you want to!

Julie Kim

Year: First

Mom of: Dohyun Lee (almost 2)

Pre-HBS Industry: Technology

Summer Internship: Technology

What is the best part about being a mom at HBS? You will have more family time! Being a student at HBS isn't easy, but compared to the life working as an employee, you will get enough time to enjoy your quality time with your family.

What is the hardest part about being a mom at HBS? Balancing the time between work and family life. Joining social events was extremely hard in the beginning of the semester (mainly because of FOMO, haha) but it got way better thanks to support groups like MoMBAs and Crimson Parents Club!

Alexandra Bailey Smith

Year: First

Due Date: September 17, 2022

Pre-HBS Industry: Energy

Summer Internship: Climate Tech

What is it like to be pregnant at HBS? Being pregnant at HBS is quite an adventure! The MoMBAs’ support system makes a huge difference, as does the support from my section (Section C!). So far, I am thoroughly enjoying the process.

What is the best part about being pregnant at HBS? It feels like a luxury to be pregnant while at school versus while working. I can take early afternoon naps, I have control over my diet because I am not traveling, and participating remotely is an option if I am not feeling well.

What is the hardest part about being pregnant at HBS? Knowing that I will deliver and have to return to class in two weeks compared to the multiple-months-long maternity leave I see my friends enjoy with their newborns.

How do you integrate self-care? I prioritize pregnancy-friendly work outs! It keeps my emotions in check and helps to keep my energy up. I also rely on my husband, close friends, and family, both those at HBS and those from afar. Surrounding yourself with a strong support system is key. Lastly, I’ve let go of FOMO and learned to say no to events I know I wouldn’t enjoy. Time is precious and growing a human is hard work!

What advice do you have for prospective student moms? Talk to the MoMBAs! This is a group of women who have been there and can help you understand the tradeoffs so you can make an informed decision. Reach out with any questions!

HBS mama Memory? My section threw me a baby shower (see photo below) and many folks who attended told me this was their first baby shower ever! It’s so fun to be able to share this exciting moment in life with the HBS community.

Somani Patnaik

Year: First

Due Date: May 26, 2022

Pre-HBS Industry: Tech @ Amazon

Summer Internship: Entrepreneurship / Rock Summer Fellowship

What’s the best part of being pregnant at HBS? The incredibly supportive environment from both professors and section mates and the predictable schedules.

What’s the hardest part about being pregnant at HBS?

Balancing out my social calendar with medical appointments and academics.

How do you make it all work? Constant prioritization, and, yes, having a supportive and engaged spouse who maintained a sense of normalcy through the pregnancy helps!

Story to share? A week after getting to HBS, I was really surprised by how tired I was getting from being back in classes again after working for so many years. I later realized that it wasn’t HBS, it was the pregnancy!

Advice for prospective student moms? Not getting caught up in the things you are missing out on, there are plenty of opportunities for meaningful engagement even if you aren’t attending every event.