The Dogs, Cats & Other Furry Friends Who Got MBAs Through 2021


Call them the unsung heroes of MBA students. They are comics and confidantes, comforters and companions. They don’t judge, gossip, or deceive. Instead, they race to the door when you arrive home or rub against you when you’re flustered and fatigued. They accept you for who you are, never doubting your purpose or resenting your sacrifices. Chances are, they’ve become class celebrities over their Zoom call antics or campus frolics.

They are pets — the ones who force MBAs out of their houses…and out of their heads. That was certainly true of Bentley, a beagle who reminded Sarah Thomson to enjoy the little things in between her studies at the University of Texas’ McCombs School.

“Bentley has taught me the importance of power naps, fresh air, and stopping to smell the roses (and pretty much anything else we come upon during our walks),” Thomson writes. Having him nap next to me during class, and let out the occasional howl, has made Zoom school much more enjoyable.”



In fact, some pets become champions to more than their owners. Case in point: Nori, a whippet who became an unofficial member of IMD’s ‘Mighty 90’ from the Class of 2021. “Nori is a sweetheart and has her ways to connect with people,” writes Canay Kary. “She became friends with all the candidates. She is very resilient and provides emotional support for all of us. She is the sunshine of my life.”

More than reassurance, pets also provided inspiration that enabled their MBA owners to get through the late nights and occasional disappointments…

“This is Gemma’s world, I’m just living in it,” jokes Bree Aronin, a member of the Berkeley Haas Class of 2023, “Since my life revolves around my dog, making the decision to better my future by going to business school was ultimately with Gemma in mind. She motivates me to get up early and choose to be a good human.”

Dogs, cats, ducks, and horses — they are all part of P&Q’s inaugural Favorite MBA Pets. In May, P&Q put a call out to readers to share how their pets helped them through business school (with pictures to match). From Northwestern Kellogg to IMD Business School, here are the pets that made all the difference for MBA students this past year.


Elizabeth Bartol: Penn State, Current MBA, 2024

“Frankie reminding me to take a break to give pets!”


Bree Aronin: Berkeley Haas, Current MBA, 2023

“This is Gemma’s world, I’m just living in it. Since my life revolves around my dog, making the decision to better my future by going to business school was ultimately with Gemma in mind. She motivates me to get up early and choose to be a good human.”


Kyle Lee: Carlson School of Management, Current MBA, 2022

“Nina joined the family at the height of the pandemic this past year. Her friendly and playful temperament required games of fetch during lunch and walks after class – both of which got me away from my desk and outside no matter the weather!”


Alexandra Martos: Esade, MBA, 2022

“Bella has had some big changes this year, moving from Chicago to Barcelona! She loves to sit by the computer and keep me company as I study, and is always ready to walk in on camera at strategic moments to lighten the mood during Zoom calls.”

Prince & Artemis

Georgios Gavridis: MBA, 2022

“I have two dogs, Prince (white one) & Artemis (darker one). The daily walks for 13 years taught me the discipline to execute regardless. The confidence that I see in them taught me to stand firm on my beliefs and chase my dreams; to come to ESADE MBA.”


Sherel Crasta: Kelley School of Business, MBA, 2022

 “Moving halfway across the world in the middle of an isolating pandemic to a new country for the first time for an intense MBA Program was not an easy task – but Billu, with his sweet mews and amusing antics during every video call, provided constant support and strength.”



Steven Scansaroli: Stern – New York University, Current MBA, 2023

“Nadiel is always there to cheer me up and push on!”


Andrew Knerr, Indiana University – Kelley School of Business, MBA Alumni, 2016

“Moose was an integral part of the Kelley MBA experience. He was a founding member of the Kelley K9 Club and lifted the spirits of all classmates…especially on Saturdays at the Indiana football tailgates.”


Cindy Chen: UBC, MBA, 2022

“Snowball is the cutest girl ever.”





Arya & Verona

Laura Lopez Rubio: Sauder, MBA, 2022

“Arya makes up for the hours of sleep I’ve lost and makes the occasional appearance during Zoom lectures.”




Snow White

Tony Yuan: MM, 2021

“Fresh duck eggs every day!”






Lester & Macy

Allan DeBono: PMBA’22  

“Macy sits on my notes and books to help me study. Lester follows me into the kitchen to make coffee between study sessions.”



Danica Hamilton: PMBA 2022

“I work hard so my dog can have a better life. If nothing else, he is my person through school and COVID. The purest form of kindness and love. Always happy to see you, no matter what the day has brought.”




Otis Franklin Doods

Dana Fallis: UBC Sauder, 2022

“This guy motivated me to change out of my sweatpants and put my best foot forward in each of my online classes.”





Dao Dao

Roy Qu: Sauder FT-MBA, 2022

“Having a new baby boy during the MBA program is indeed a challenging time for me and the family. Both my wife and I are constantly under an exhausted condition, we are grateful to have Dao Dao by our side to bring all the supports and happiness for us.”




Sunayana Kumar: UBC Sauder, 2023

“She helped keep me sane during the preparation and application cycle. Having a pet ensures that you follow a regular routine which is extremely important. Additionally, the emotional support you gt from having a cuddly creature around is incomparable.”



Gin and Tonic

Namrita Lamba: FT UBC Sauder, MBA, 2023

“Don’t let these innocent faces fool you. G&T are extremely naughty and full of energy. They have kept me disciplined and on my toes, after I quit my job to pursue my MBA. Never a dull moment with these two even during the most difficult Covid lockdown periods.”




John Shehan: Master of Management, 2021

“Pearl is very shy and has difficulty getting close to people. However, during the pandemic, she became much more comfortable with me and slowly began sitting next to me while I work. Now, her and I are closer than ever and she comes over to every lecture like clockwork.”





Laura Casadiego: ESADE Full Time MBA, MBA Alumni, 2021

“Being a prospective MBA candidate has been the single most stressful experience in my life and I wouldn’t have made it without Abril. Her constant purring and kneading reminded me to just stop every once in a while and breathe. In this picture, she’s checking on my GMAT study strategies.”



Tayfun and Sadik

Yasemin Guctekin: Sauder, MBA, 2022

“I am paying tuition for only one person but we are attending the classes altogether. Free riders!”






Carolina Heimann: UBC Sauder, MBA, 2023

“Nessie has been my companion, therapist, and study partner through the first few months of business school. She keeps me company, helps me calm down in times of stress, stays up with me while working on assignments, and also forces me to get outdoors for fresh air!”



Next 3 Pages: See MBA Pets from Stanford GSB, Northwestern Kellogg, IMD Business School, Duke Fuqua, ESADE, Notre Dame Mendoza, and many more schools.

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