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Regional Profiles – The Northeast – Stay a While

This article is about why you-and just about everyone-should stay in the Northeast after graduating from HBS.

From the investment bank to the consulting firm to the mutual fund, Boston invents it, New York builds it, and Washington regulates it. For nearly anything in business, you can’t pick a better place than the Northeast. You also can’t pick a better place to be single or to raise a family; to go out or to stay in; to be healthy or sick; to hit the big time or live in a small town. My mother likes to say, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Even if you go to bed late, living in the Northeast can do the same-and it can be a great source of happiness too.

Finding a Home Here
Our pride is local-many New Yorkers consider their home the only actual city-and one Jersey girl-my wife-has enough pride to light the entire Garden State Parkway. Our connections are to the small towns and individual neighborhoods from Portsmouth to West Philadelphia, Annapolis to the Bronx.

People often say it takes longer to make local friends and to feel accepted as part of a community in the Northeast than elsewhere. Our infrastructure even seems designed to keep people out: the roads in Boston and Washington, and the subway in New York, like the board game Mastermind, “take a lifetime to master”. And maybe we can be a bit defensive sometimes; an e-mail about New Jersey suggested the slogan “we hate you too,” as an official motto for the state tourism industry.

Yet a warmer welcome awaits around the corner. Downtown Northeasterners aren’t actually rude; we just assume you are busy-like us-so we provide directions quickly and efficiently to speed you on your way. If you wander into our distinct, diverse, historic neighborhoods, just beyond downtown-from Munjoy Hill (Portland) to Beacon Hill (Boston), Federal Hill (Providence) to Cobble Hill (Brooklyn), and Bolton Hill (Baltimore) to Capitol Hill (Washington), you’ll find people living at a more sustainable pace, happy to greet you. Having settled in, Clinton Musil, ’10 (NA)-who moved from the Phoenix area to Boston several years ago-notes, “There is a sense of community and history here that doesn’t exist everywhere in the states”.ÿ

The Four Seasons
In a recent poll for Yahoo! Real Estate, Americans rated climate and outdoor opportunities the single most important factor in deciding where they wanted to live. We’ve got those outdoor opportunities, ranging from Cape Cod and Long Island beaches often included in the nation’s top 10 lists to the US’s largest state park. As Geoff Price ’10 (NA) says of living in New England, “There is a lot to do within driving distance.” But what about that weather?

Many people cite having four seasons as one of the best reasons to live here. Matt Meador, a New England native, after years living in a warmer place, said, “I missed the smell of hot apple cider in fall, the sight of our home covered in snow after a winter storm, the sound of birds in spring, and the feel of a long lazy day in summer.” He came home. Gretchen Grozier, who has lived in many places inside and outside the region, says, “Sometimes it feels like you experience those 4 seasons in one week, which is never boring!” If you don’t like winter too much, Geoff Price, ’10 (NA) a native Midwesterner, provides an optimistic spin: “The winter, well, it makes you appreciate the summer.”

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
Healthy: Connecticut has the third longest life expectancy among US states; almost all our states rank in the top half for long life expectancy. With very low crime rates, five of the six New England states rank among the nation’s 15 safest.

Wealthy: The top 5 wealthiest states, as measured by GDP per capita, all are in the Northeast; in order, they are: Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

Wise: New Jersey has the highest pre-school enrollment rates in the country. Massachusetts has the highest performing public schools in the nation. Other states in the Northeast are close behind. And more of the US’s top colleges and universities are here than anywhere else.

We’ve Got it All
Ben Zander’s father often said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” So whether you need to put a poncho or a parka over that climbing gear or club wear, I recommend putting it on and getting out there. Many of you have discovered this great region, but if you haven’t, you still have time. The great news is, if you’re in the mood for the exact opposite of what’s around you, if it’s not around the corner, it’s often no more than an hour or two away. So get out there and enjoy (or keep enjoying) this place I call home. You might just find you want to stay, even after that last exam.

February 23, 2009
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