Two for the Price of Two – Tips for married life at HBS

Being married at HBS can be tough – but it can also be a tax-effective two-year honeymoon for you and your significant other. Daniel Selikowitz and Michaela Alhadeff  the Harbus’s resident HBS couple  share their top tips for wedded bliss.

From time to time, we hear joking interpretations of the MBA acronym: “Married But Available”; “Married By Autumn”; “Master of Business Administration”. As hilarious as these sound, you should take them with a grain of salt. Granted, each of us is just one bad decision away from ending up like the Class of ’76; but this fate is far from a fait accompli. Whether you’re already hitched or are thinking about putting a ring on your FIELD 2 fling, we’re here to help. So, without further I-do, here are our top five tips for creating marital magic at HBS.

1. Support each other’s learning

If there’s one thing you should be doing together as a couple, preparing for class is not it. Forget your naïve visions of reading 1.5 cases for a 3 case day, or of conducting your own two-person discussion group over breakfast. The reality is that without a neutral facilitator present, it’s impossible for two people in a relationship to usefully discuss their antithetical viewpoints on whether cranberries are a cell or a job shop. No, the best thing you can do to support your loved one’s personal pedagogy is to let them read in peace, to listen appreciatively when they tell you about that great comment they made, and to put the cap back on their highlighter pen so it doesn’t dry out.

2. Don’t play favorites with your sections

For a married couple at HBS, your sections are like your children – each of you loves one of them more than the other, and one of them is quite obviously smarter and better-looking than the other – but under no circumstances can you acknowledge any of this. Instead, when friends inevitably start asking you which section you prefer, you should say something like “I love them both the same” or “Yes, I do enjoy Breaking Bad,” then run in the opposite direction. On the upside, you don’t have to deal with this awkwardness very often – because, like the children of a messy divorce, you only ever see your spouse’s section every second weekend, and as long as you take it to McDonald’s and turn up to the occasional football game it’ll love you forever.

3. Career-hunt as a pack

CPD is a wonderful resource – but, truth be told, it isn’t all that helpful for coupled job-seekers. For example, where are the lunchtime sessions on “How to Avoid Being in the Same Group Interview as Your Life Partner,” “How to Stop Saying ‘We’ in Interviews”, and “How To Find a Family-Friendly Job That Isn’t in Wisconsin”? No, you two are on your own – and if you want to make it in this dog-eat-dog-eat-cat-eat-catfood world, you’ll have to work as a team. Make sure that you apply to all the same jobs using the exact same resume format. Insist that your career coach advise both of you simultaneously. And remember: the couple that cold calls middle management alumni together, stays together.

4. Choose the right housing option

At HBS, there are many fabulous housing options for young couples. Whether you’d prefer to inhabit the eight-story LEGO masterpiece that is OWA, the glorified dorm rooms of SFP, or the actual dorm rooms of the dorms, you’re bound to find something that enflames your dust allergy. But with such a cornucopia of accommodating accommodations, there are decisions to be made.

If you and your spouse came to Boston with enough suitcases to sink a Boeing, you should consider a two-bedroom apartment. If you and your spouse came to Boston with enough suitcases to sink a Boeing and are willing to sleep in one of those suitcases, a one-bedroom apartment will work just fine. Studio apartments have their own charms – after all, where else can you enjoy dinner with friends while marveling at the sight of your unmade bed? And, if you feel strongly about having your own space – and about that space being a 4×4 mausoleum with a view of Shad – the dorms await. As long as you’re true to yourself, you can’t go wrong (although probably best to read that warning about the lead paint).

5. Make time for each other

Date Night is an essential part of every HBS relationship – but you don’t have to go far to let each other know you care. After all, nothing says ‘romance’ like a couple of “Six Under Six” pizza meals from the Grille and a plastic cup of Diet Dr. Pepper. Why not venture a little further afield and try out the new Tasty Burger on Mt. Auburn? I’ll tell you why not – I still have three cases to read and I think I’m coming down with something.