Love at HBS is a celebration of the diverse expressions of love that exist on our campus and in the world around us. This portrait project showcases stories of love from students at Harvard Business School.

Alli Iglehart, Class of 2020
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As cliché as it sounds, love really does strike in the most unexpected places. Tom and I met while we were traveling in Europe over the summer. After spending an unbelievable week together, he headed to Madrid to finish his master’s and I moved to Boston to start HBS. I wasn’t sure if I would ever see him again but couldn’t deny the instant connection we had. 

Somehow, despite being on different continents, we made the time to deepen our connection, spending hours on FaceTime. We quickly found that there was something there, something both of us wanted to explore. Tom came to Boston for a week, which I was scared would be too long but ended up not being enough time. It was then we officially started dating. 

There have been many flights, and the distance can be challenging, but it doesn’t define our relationship. Instead it’s the laughs we share, the memories we make and the places we explore. But most of all, it’s knowing that at the end of the day we are there to support and challenge each other. Even though we aren’t in the same city right now, I’m grateful to be able to share this journey with Tom and know that in the end we’ll end up in the same place. 

Ariel Yang, Class of 2020
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I was brought up in a loving family by my mom. 

In 1977, she graduated with the first class of college students in China after the cultural revolution and was a determined M.D. Driven as she was in her profession, she fought hard to provide me with love, companionship, support, understanding, and freedom. Meanwhile, I’ve also seen how she gave unconditional love to her patients and the people around her, always thinking about others first. 

I did not realize her love could have such a big impact on my life when I was a child.

But gradually I realized she was the reason I am such a loving and optimistic person. I have developed strong empathy for people and am eager to share my positive energy with them in any way I can. My mom’s love helped me become who I am. 

As I grew older, I further realized how important a role love can play in shaping a child after deep interactions with adults. I figured many people, deep in their hearts, are insecure, not confident, and pessimistic, which potentially leads to mental health issues, and that these feelings could be traced back to the absence of a loving environment when they were a child.
A person’s life experience is irreversible, but what I can do is care for, love and motivate people I encounter in my life; expose my vulnerability, share my genuine self, and make them feel loved, accompanied and empowered.

Carlos Marin, Class of 2020
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You never know when you’re going to meet the love of your life. For us, it was as unexpected as an “app date” during my first week in Bogotá for what was supposed to be a 6-week project. 

I ended up staying for almost 10 months.

I decided to lose those months in Toronto, my home city at that time, without thinking twice about it. After a year together, Andrés decided to move from Bogotá to Boston, so we could finally live together in the same city as I started HBS. We didn’t expect moving to a new country and adapting to a new culture to be easy but, looking back, decisions that normally would have been tough seemed obvious and easy thanks to the love and support we gave each other.

As we promised in our vows, we are, and will always be, there for each other. From the morning “Te amo” to the texts throughout the day to the constant and mutual support during our coming out process to our traditional Latino families. For us, finding the sweet spot between trying to be present and respecting each other’s personal time has been the key for a loving day-to-day together.

Many projects lie ahead that make us dream about what’s going to happen with our lives. The cities where we will live, the careers we will build, the puppies we will adopt – that is the constant fuel for our every day. Living in the present with joyful laughs and a clear sight on our future objectives. 

Covey Cole, Class of 2020

I believe that true love has two powerful characteristics: it is unconditional, and it stimulates action. When I held my newborn son in the hospital for the first time I was surprised to instantaneously feel both emotions. In that quiet moment I promised my sleeping baby that I would always love him and that I would strive to be the best version of myself. He deserved a father like that.

Then came the sleepless nights, the public temper tantrums, the constant messes and endless laundry. We quickly realized that raising kids can be extremely challenging and often results in frustration, anger and exhaustion. On the other hand, there is nothing more rewarding and gratifying than watching your child grow, achieve milestones and develop their own interests. 

We’ve learned that love sometimes doesn’t look like love. For us, truly loving our kids sometimes means disciplining them, letting them struggle and occasionally asking them to do things they don’t want to do.

However, despite the challenges of parenthood I’ve found that my capacity to love expands every day. My love grew when we added our second son to the family and I find myself falling more in love with my wife as she serves and sacrifices for our family. Love is like compounding interest – the more you invest the more it grows.

Eliot Frost & Judy Thelen, Class of 2020

December 12th 2017 was definitely our most exciting trip to Sweetgreen. The harvest bowls were incredible--obviously--but more importantly, this was when Judy and I learned that we would be going to school together.

Judy and I do a lot together. On our last day of work, my boss joked that they would be renaming one of the conference rooms in our honor--a testament to hundreds of lunches spent laughing, complaining, scheming (mostly Judy), and just being together.

Even after all that time together, learning that we would be sharing the next two years at HBS was not any less exciting or unexpected. We feel extremely lucky for this chance, but more so for knowing that when we do take on separate challenges in the future, we will still be taking them on together.

Ashley Gibson & John Davis, Class of 2020  
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“Hey, should we share an Uber to the airport?” It all started on a Monday in August 2015 after our first day at BCG. Although we were in different offices, our friendship grew through a series of impromptu weekend trips - always kicked off with a massive hug (sometimes so massive we fell over). 

Little did we know that three years later we would be roommates at HBS. Fast forward to ASW in January 2018: At some point that weekend, one of us jokingly said, “We should live together next year!” But after a “You thinking what I’m thinking?” look, we figured out we weren’t actually joking and decided it would be amazing to live together.

Over the past few years our friendship has grown into something extremely special, and we are both lucky to have each other on this crazy journey at HBS. Having a go-to person to count on, whether to discuss cases, life challenges, or our goals and dreams, has been such a valuable part of this experience. Not to mention all the laughs from dealing with a faulty washing machine, creating fire hazards from having too many people in the apartment, and the other fun experiences we were bound to share as roommates. 

Although we may not remember everything we’ve learned in class, we’ll always remember the incredible memories we’ve made together at HBS and the love we’ve shared along the way.

Kyle Hutton, Class of 2020
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Campaigns of Love. 

When I decided to plunge my life into the U.S. 10 years ago, it never truly dawned on me the space that would be created in my heart by not having my family close by - my mum's Trini cooking, dad's sense of humor and granny's sage words of wisdom. Now, I cherish these old memories, and appreciate the people that embody them everyday. 

I reflected on my first and (hopefully) only time losing what I thought to be love. In the aftermath, I became doubtful that love ever existed. I felt desperate and absolutely gut-wrenched. Yet, the turmoil was essential in understanding the importance of the role love now plays with my family.

In August 2018 I perhaps became the happiest man sitting in Aldrich, when my brother and sister-in-law brought the beautiful Rebecca Madeleine Marie Hutton into this world - and I assumed a joint god-father and uncle role for the first time in my life. Becca's existence has been beyond meaningful to me. Her ultimate happiness is one of my priorities and a great primer for when, by God’s grace, I become a father of my own. 

Love should not be an over complicated feeling - yet the complexity of humans inherently results in exactly that. I hope we would more frequently and genuinely vocalize our love (no matter how weak or strong) for those we care about - not just at Valentine’s day.

Ashley Maggard & Kyle Maggard, Class of 2020
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She was giving me advice on what to buy my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. I insisted on an oversized teddy bear. She laughed and told me to grow up. The school bell rang and we rushed off to class. I bought the bear anyway, but soon had a new girlfriend. It was 2005. She was 15 and I was 16.

A year later I graduated from high school, and for the next eight years our love would be tested by the miles between us as we studied and worked in North Dakota, Ohio, Chicago, New York, England, and Colorado. Dating long distance, we were constantly looking forward to the next weekend we could spend together, though they were often too few and far in between. As if the odds were not already against us, my decision to join the military put a strain on the time we could spend together and challenged our relationship.

This past July we welcomed our first child, more than 13 years after we started flirting in our high school hallway. One day we’ll tell our son about the years we spent apart, the countless miles we logged traveling to see each other, and tears we shared with all those goodbyes. More importantly, we hope he learns what those many years taught us: loving someone comes easy, but relationships can be tough. They take hard work, commitment, and sacrifice. But that is what makes the moments we share with the ones we love so sweet.

Nicole Ivey, Class of 2020
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I used to roll my eyes when people talked about self-love. The idea felt disgustingly indulgent hedging on destructive - how would I ever get anything done if I already thought I was great? But in quieter moments, when the sheer exhaustion of constantly needing to hustle for worthiness wore me down, I wondered how I could possibly go from nitpicking my every move to loving myself. Eventually, I realized you don’t. There’s instagram self-love where everything is sunshine and roses and eating doughnuts in bikinis. And then there’s reality. You don’t wake up and decide to flip the I-love-myself switch. You first accept yourself and self-acceptance requires self-awareness and self-awareness is terrifying. You have to stop numbing and filling your todo list so you stay busy and just be still. You have to sit in all your insecurities and unhealed heartaches. You have to confront deep-seated unworthiness in all of its manifestations- whether it be paralyzing shame or a debilitating need to be better-than-everyone else. The journey to self-love is many things, but sunshine and rainbows and eating doughnuts in bikinis it is (mostly) not. But you keep trying and it slowly gets a little easier. You become a little more yourself with each passing day. You don’t perform your life for validation, you actually live it. You have the most self-discipline you’ve ever had because loving yourself requires keeping promises you make to yourself. And you realize self-love is not a switch - it’s a forever, terrifyingly liberating practice. 

Philip Kalisman, Class of 2020
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Since meeting, Hilary and I continue to grow closer emotionally but struggle to grow closer geographically. As modern parents we face the challenge of trying to balance and support two careers (for which we get regular pushback despite changes in social norms in the US) while still having the time and energy to be good and present parents and partners.

After meeting at the end of undergrad, we continued to date but quickly parted ways; I went to California and Hilary was off to DC. We were lucky to both land at UC Berkeley a year later, and had several years together but then Hilary spent a good chunk of her time half-way around the world doing research in the UK, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. Until the birth of our first child, we probably spent half our time “together” based in different cities. With a child things were different, until they weren’t. Once again, we found ourselves apart, me in Boston and Hilary in South Carolina. I eventually joined her down South after six months, only to find ourselves once again in the same situation; I am back here in Boston and she is working out in Colorado.

We now have two sweet and amazing kids, Aaron and Eda. HBS is the last time we plan to be apart. We are prioritizing our family's future together in Colorado, and both of our careers. We learned in LEAD that it's hard to break out of old habits and to balance family with careers, but that is our goal. 

Katie Kim & Sarah Rennich, Class of 2020
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in the morning i see her in the early light
i breathe in and smell the sweet and musky scent
left from the long voyage 
of sleep and dreams

in the day i’m driving going gone busy working
rooms filled with people and with
words that should be said, words that need to be written, and even more to be read
i breathe in deep and find
calm in recent memories of her

at night two become one again
she gives me what i need before i even know i need it
laughter, fingers in my hair, tired feet rubbed, and a quiet understanding

she wraps me in her arms
i breathe in
and smell home – 
at last. 

Tyler Simpson, Class of 2020
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I met Chaka in one of the most unromantic places on earth, the club. Now every time I think back to that night I can’t help but imagine that T-Pain’s hit “Buy you a drank” gave him the confidence to walk up to me. Despite having met in the club, our love has taken us all over the world. Just two months after we met, we went on a 3-day trip to Mexico, group trips to Cuba, and countless weekends in a city near you. Traveling has been a big part of our relationship and continues to be something we pride ourselves on. It’s really remarkable how many places we let our love take us, whether to different countries or out of this world. The most impressive part about this whole thing is that we’ve been long-distance the entire relationship. While Philly - NYC is only a 2-hour drive, it can feel like lifetime when you need a shoulder to lean on. The distance has really made us cherish the moments we have together and think critically about the life we’re hoping to build. Neither one of us imagined that this would be the path we’d go down, but we’re both so glad to be on this journey with each other.