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Tips for Incoming Partners

One of the easiest ways to connect with the HBS community is through the HBS Partner’s Club. Attending knitting night or a book club might not be your idea of a good time, but you’ll probably meet a new friend who will prove invaluable when party conversation inevitably turns to TOM or LEAD. The Partner’s Club is also a good way for people with children to connect with other parents. But it’s more than just another avenue for networking. In the past, the Partner’s Club has sponsored some great “get me out of here” events, like the Whale Watching Cruise, Tea at the Ritz, and a wine tasting dinner at Sel de La Terre.

Apart from navigating the social scene, many partners are either adjusting to a new job or looking for one. If you’re in the midst of a job hunt, make sure your expectations are realistic. While some partners seamlessly transition to positions in Boston that are in-line with their career goals, many don’t. Without work visas, international partners often have no other choice than to take a break from the working world. In my own situation, I decided to depart from my original career path and instead opt for a flexible, on-campus position that allowed me to travel with my husband during breaks. Having spent this past summer sight-seeing in Washington DC, I have no regrets.

Whether or not you’ve figured out what you are going to do with your career, you will certainly want to be prepared to answer the two most asked questions at HBS: “So what do you do?” and “Where do you and your student want to go after HBS?” Even if you’re not a “five year plan” kind of person, you’re better off in this community trying to articulate an answer than conveying uncertainty. Remember, at HBS its not what you know, its how you express it.

Finally, if the HBS community isn’t for you, consider rooting yourself in an off-campus organization. In my experience, church friends and volunteer groups have been an invaluable source of support and a useful reality check.

The first few weeks of HBS are intense for students and partners alike. Over time, though -usually just after the TOM midterm – things begin to mellow out for both of you. Until then, hang in there. You’re bound to find your niche.

September 17, 2007
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