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Emily Dohse's Partner Life Column

Emily Dohse is the partner of an RC student and writes a bi-weekly column on her experiences for the Harbus. This week she shares her experiences, and those of other partners that she’s met and reached out to for her column, as well as spotlighting another HBS partner.

In the past two weeks, I have ventured slightly outside the HBS bubble (not that far! Let’s be real) and spent some time gathering different viewpoints about HBS and the HBS Partner Experience.  I’ve heard things from those totally outside the bubble, those outside but wishing they were inside, those that were once inside and are now back outside, those that are inside and like, “wtf how’d I get in here”, and others who have no clue what the HBS bubble is...and don’t want to know.

Let’s start with the people who are outside the bubble but know that I’m in here.  You’ll be pleased to know that these people think I’m the coolest.  They’re people like my mom.  I get to enjoy all the grandeur of saying “I go to HBS” when really what I’ve said is, “I live near HBS”.  These people don’t care how it’s sliced, what I’m doing and what’s going on around me is AWESOME.  Even saying something mundane and ordinary like, “today I rode my scooter” sounds exotic and special when you add “...around HBS” at the end.

These outsiders-looking-in say things to me like, “I bet everyone there is a genius!” and “You’re writing for the Harbus?!  It’s like you’re Carrie Bradshaw…but smarter.”  Not that those things aren’t true (they are), but I definitely arrived in Boston with a little HBS-by-association magic dust sprinkled on me.

Next are the people hanging out outside the bubble.  They are mainly my new coworkers, the USPS lady, and the gentleman selling me Chicken Wild Rice soup at Panera.  Their viewpoint is, “HBS, huh?  Great.  Do you want a baguette or an apple?”  Either they are successfully masking what my mom isn’t, or they really just don’t care about yet another person going to school in Cambridge.  While arguing about where all my mail is with the USPS woman, she asked, “What’s your new zip code, hun?”  I said, “02138,” and she replied, “Oh, well then GOOD LUCK.”  Clearly the only thing HBS means to her is a massive snail mail headache.  (And I still have no mail).

Next is my new boss, who, through some well-played cards by the universe, graduated from HBS in… Section D!  When I told her I am a partner in Section D, she said, “Oh no!  I hope you said goodbye to your student!  You won’t be seeing him for two whole years.  <chuckle>  My poor husband.”

Partner note: they are still happily married.

Student note: my boss’s former Section D classmate emailed yesterday wanting to grab dinner with her – proof that you will be friends with your section mates for-ev-er.

And of course there’s the charming local woman, decidedly outside the bubble, who posted her thoughts regarding all students in Boston on YouTube.  She titled her selfie video “Message to New Students in Boston Area” (search it).  It’s 55 seconds of honest, hilarious and unfriendly welcome.  Harvard = no thanks, to this lady.

Last, and most important to me, are the views of the other partners I’ve met, of both RCs and ECs.  While partner experiences range widely, the main message I’ve got from EC’s is that in order to have a successful two years you have to get involved, stay involved, and for the love of god, schedule date nights.

And amen to that – I’ve experienced my own share of evenings sitting next to my student while we both tap away on our computers, not talking, together but not together, finding out what the internet did that day before we know what each other did.

The main message from RC partners has been that we’re all trying to navigate this experience in a boat we’ve never steered, and sometimes we don’t know what’s going on.

The other night I was reading Section D’s GroupMe messages and started to panic because I had no idea what “Nirvana Night” was and realized I had completely missed my chance to go to Etiquette dinner.

So, in an effort to close the Student/Partner and Partner/Partner gap (things are a lot more difficult when you don’t sit in the same room together all day long enjoying the luxury of boldface nametags), I’m going to spotlight a different partner every other week and shine some light on the fantastic other halves here at HBS.

Partner Spotlight: Tara Bhargava Sanon

First up is Tara Bhargava Sanon, partner to Varun Sanon in Section J.  Tara is from New Delhi, India and moved to Boston from New York at the start of this school year.

Tara is a full-time photographer, specializing in artistic, documentary-style shoots of families, siblings, children, engagements and weddings.  Her specialty is clearly people, capturing the dynamic layers within their different relationships and catching the un-posed magical moments of life.  See a sampling of Tara’s images on this page, and go check out more of her work at

But wait <jazz hands> there’s more!  Tara also specializes in professional headshots, which is perfect for all you HBS-ers.  She’s giving Harvard students a discount, and if you book a session by October 3rd, she’ll give you even MORE of a discount.  Headshot sessions can be taken at multiple locations around campus (or anywhere) and you’ll get at minimum of six amazing photos of yourself to sprinkle all around the world, on LinkedIn, and the halls of SFP.

To schedule a session of any kind, contact Tara at (617) 949-0130 or

As for Tara’s experience as a partner, it’s been rewarding and challenging at the same time. “Being a photographer is so different from meeting all these business tycoons at HBS,” Tara says.  She spends her days all over the city, putting to use her creativity and background in psychology, photography and writing.  Her student spends his days in the classroom, business-tycooning, and the two of them sometimes don’t even have time for a quick hug.

But the best part about being a partner for Tara is “getting to live on campus and meet incredible, amazing people from different backgrounds and cultures.  Nowhere else could I have found such diversity and similarity co-existing together.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So if you didn’t know any partners before reading this (how could that even be possible), then now you know two.  Until next time!

Shout out to Section D,


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