Greetings from the partner of an HBS 2016 Section D student! The first days of school are over and I am finally able to wave at people I recognize on the street. As a self-described introvert with no prior knowledge in accounting, in-bound marketing, or the difficulties Snapple has faced, I was worried I’d have a hard time keeping up with my student once we arrived.
Handshakes were literally everywhere and if your name was Dan, Mike or Sara, forget it, I wouldn’t remember it. Luckily, those first few days and parties that can be intimidating for a partner are behind us, and my section is full of normal people who just want to make friends. For real they are normal. They also happen to be devastatingly smart and accomplished, but when everyone is together wearing mullet wigs and neon windbreakers, the playing field is leveled and fun is a language everyone speaks fluently.
Alongside the promise of new friendships, I happily joined my student in Cambridge for two years hoping to piggyback on the many offerings and opportunities available at HBS. I have quickly learned that the partners here have it better than the students: I have literally enjoyed every benefit of attending HBS without having to a) actually attend HBS and do any work (although I did read a case before sitting in on a class – it was lots of fun and all partners should do it!) or b) pay any money.
Even my gym membership at the MAC is basically free. It’s only $68 for THE YEAR. $68! That is less than my monthly gym membership in Chicago. This school is practically paying me to be a good, involved partner to my student while making new lifelong friendships.
Hopefully the exciting range of wigs and charming introverted personality I brought with me will make up for the fact that I didn’t pour out my blood sweat and tears to get into HBS, but here I am anyways.
There are 93 students in this year’s RC Section D, and roughly one third of them have partners. I only hope that number grows, especially as section-mates fall in love with each other (that happens, right?) because that means more friends for me and more partners to share the experience with. And who doesn’t love an HBS power couple?
I don’t think there will ever be another time in my life when it is so easy and effortless to make 92 new bffs and see the world from so many different and valuable points of view. I encourage all new partners from all sections to (in the words of a former-partner-turned-Section-D-student) “say yes to everything. All the time. No matter what. Even if you don’t feel like it.” I have done just that, every day, since arriving on campus and it’s paid off every single time.