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B-School Alumna Writes the Book on Finding a Husband

By Maria S. Pedroza, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard women who spend hours agonizing over the perfect fellowship application or LSAT score, take heart: a Harvard Business School graduate has written a book to help you ace your social life, as well.

In her new book, Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School, Rachel Greenwald encourages women to use business marketing strategies to land the man of their dreams.

Although Greenwald wrote the book for women over 35, she says undergraduates could benefit from her dating advice so that they do not wind up needing her help later in life.

Greenwald cautions women against spending their twenties with men that are not “The One,” focusing too much on a career and not maximizing their opportunities to meet the man of their dreams.

“[Undergraduates] wake up, go to the dining hall, go to class, go to The Coop, then to a party. They may cross paths with 500 to 1,000 men,” she says. “When you are 35, you may wake up, sit alone in your home office, work all day, go to a meeting, then perhaps coffee with a friend—and only five men cross your path.”

According to Greenwald, this sad potential fate is what makes proactive and assertive dating strategies crucial.

Greenwald travels the country giving talks—which she calls “Prevention 101”—to women in their twenties who do not want to become the cautionary tale she outlines in her book: the woman who spends too long with the wrong guy.

“All of the planning may seem cold, but the other option is loneliness,” Greenwald says matter-of-factly. “All of a sudden, fabulous women wake up, and they’re 35, and they realize that their options are limited.”

But Greenwald does not see this looming loneliness as unavoidable, but simply as a marketing challenge.

“Nothing is wrong with these women, they probably just wasted time with the wrong boyfriend, and need to increase the volume of men that cross their path,” she says.

Despite her focus on finding “The One,” Greenwald does not think undergraduates should only look for “husband potential.”

She also advises college-age women to date for the experience, helping them to narrow down the qualities they are looking for in a man.

She says that women over 35 who attend her seminars often lament having had a dating experience of “depth rather than breadth.”

“I am not saying only have first dates with 100 men, but you probably want to limit your long-term relationships,” she says.

Greenwald says the most important marketing advice she has to give in her 15-step program is “step five: creating a personal brand.”

The book helps readers create their own “personal brand” by suggesting that they highlight three attributes about themselves that are unique—though not necessarily the three best.

“It is just like when you are marketing a product,” she says.

Greenwald cites Federal Express and their fame for overnight delivery as an example of excellent marketing from which women can learn valuable lessons.

“Federal Express has other attributes, like safety, timeliness and convenience of locale, but one brand stands out among them: overnight delivery,” she says.

Branding and other strategies may appear to be overly calculating to an undergraduate student, but Greenwald says that the sheer volume of men that cross an undergraduate woman’s path on a daily basis makes finding someone a lot easier.

After graduating from the Graduate School of Education in 1987 and the Business School in 1993, Greenwald went on to work in several senior marketing positions in the education, beverage and jewelry industries. She also ran her own marketing consulting firm.

She says she got the idea to write her book and go on the self-help circuit when speaking on the phone one day to a 40-year-old friend who just couldn’t find the right guy.

“I realized that I was saying the same thing to her in the evening that I was saying to clients during the day,” Greenwald says.

Putting her niche marketing skills and branding to use on her friend’s love life, Greenwald’s friend found her soulmate in one year.

The friend started to tell others about Greenwald’s magic touch and pretty soon Greenwald started her own husband-finding consulting company.

Now, in addition to her teaching tour and newly-published book, Greenwald will have her message depicted on the big screen, as well. Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to her book and a romantic comedy is being developed from the text.

Greenwald says she believes in her system because it has worked for many of her friends—and for her.

She met her husband, Brad, through her “Step 12,” a networking event where people invite friends with fat Rolodexes so that guests may cast their nets far in the hopes of reeling in a husband.

Greenwald says her undergraduate experience at Wellesley College taught her to be more assertive in her social life because men weren’t as easily as available as at coeducational colleges.

“I had to develop a method of planning. My academic work would be finished by Thursday afternoon so that I could have time on weekends to enjoy a full social life,” Greenwald says.

Greenwald’s college life was indeed full—in addition to being a “Little Sister” for the Sigma Chi fraternity at MIT, she had Harvard boyfriends in Eliot, Pforzheimer and Winthrop Houses during her Wellesley years.

“I want women of college age to be in a situation where they do not need this book,” Greenwald says. “Don’t waste your time during your prime dating years.”

—Staff writer Maria S. Pedroza can be reached at mpedroza@fas.harvard.edu.

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