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Favorite Traditions At The Top MBA Programs

They are the events that catch your eye. You read about them on the website. You hear about them from alumni. When you arrive on campus, you can’t wait for them to happen. They are the business school traditions – the rituals, customs, and lore that unify a community. Handed down from class to class, they represent an institution’s culture and honor its heritage. They provide a platform for classmates to see each other at their best – and remind students of the purpose and values that bind them.

At Columbia Business School, the most anticipated tradition is CBS Follies, an event so popular that it has become a YouTube sensation. Call it Manhattanville’s answer to Saturday Night Live. On stage, students perform music parodies – soon converted to music videos – that skewer everything from CBS’ humdrum dining to New York’s depressing dating scene. And no one is off limits – including faculty and administrators. In one video, Vice Dean Jonah Rockoff is depicted as a self-fancying King George III to the tune of Hamilton’s “You’ll Be Back.” Another skit chronicles the two-year dissolution of a married couple, where it’s “OK to play, I’m MBA” – as in “Married But Available.” Indeed, the CBS Follies brings the classes together twice a year to laugh at their dirty laundry. It’s a tradition that MBAs look forward to, says Katherine Boorstein, a 2022 grad.

“Though many schools have some version of a comedy group that spoof the MBA experience,” she admits, “few have 80-member ensembles that perform professional-quality original productions for the entire student body in a Broadway theater. The existence of Follies really speaks to the willingness of CBS students to be creative, adopt a “beginner’s mind,” and build bonds that transcend professional affiliations. The amazing level of logistical and financial support Follies receives from CBS’s Office of Student Affairs also speaks to the school’s deep commitment to the community.”

POURING YOUR HEART OUT TO CLASSMATES

Allegra Porter, Emory University (Goizueta)

At Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, the annual Talent Show fills the role of CBS Follies. Allegra Porter, a spring grad, describes the event as a place where students can gain some unexpected insights. More than that, by dropping their guard and hamming it up, they often bond for life.

“I’ve been so impressed by what my peers can do,” Porter notes. “I’ve learned some very valuable skills, like how to make real chai, how to fold a shirt in under 2 seconds, when and when not to wear sandals… My classmates and I might not have remembered each other’s names at the start, but we certainly remembered the performances. Even to this day, I’ll introduce myself to someone and they’ll say “Oh—you’re that girl who did the tricks with her dog!”

Open, authentic, unafraid: That’s what MBAs often seek from their classmates. That’s why they historically gather together to share their stories. From the events that shaped them to the purposes that drive them, you’ll find Dartmouth Tuck MBAs stepping onstage to reveal their “personal stories of triumph and perseverance” each term, in the words of alum Andrew Hazel. Known as TuckTalks, this tradition has brought deeper understanding to students about their classmates – and themselves.

“Hearing these stories have been an inspiration to me and I feel show the individuality and strength within Tuck students,” Hazel explains After each story is shared, Tuckies write personalized messages of encouragement to the presenters highlighting how each story positively impacted them. I feel this is an accurate reflection of our business school as it underscores how we are a strong and encouraging community that supports one another.”

LOUNGING WITH CLASSMATES, FACULTY…AND PETS

At IESE Business School, the year’s largest annual event is reserved for a celebration. Rather than honoring the individual, Multi Culti honors the diversity of the school, which traditionally houses students from 60 or more countries each year. For IESE grad Cassian Stanjek, the February event represents the very best of his community: curious, fun-loving, and cosmopolitan in spirit.

“Students from every country have their own stand, showcasing traditional food and drink, and performing traditional dances. Afterward, students from all nations celebrate together,” he writes. “For me, the Multi Culti is the embodiment of the familiarity among all students at IESE, highlighting the cultural differences in an inclusive way by sharing our traditions and values and by creating a common understanding for each other. The Multi Culti demonstrates how we appreciate diversity and how we are all united as one family at IESE.”

Quy Le, Rice University (Jones)

Normally, “tradition” hints at an event that happens once a year. Considering the benefits of tradition – connection, identity, renewal, and memories – why not hold these events weekly? That’s the thinking at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business with Partio. That’s why full-time MBAs and their families – along with the other students and staffers who are part of the Jones community – get together to chat and dine as the weekend approaches. Each week features a different theme, which ranges from celebrating Diwali (Diwal-io) to bringing pets to the proceedings (Ulti-Mutt Pet Partio). Not surprisingly, says Quy Le, Partio ranks as the defining tradition of the Jones MBA experience.

“Partio happens roughly every Thursday afternoon, and it’s a time where students can grab a drink, get some food, and hang out with each other. It’s an event that really highlights Rice’s support for self-care and encourages students to build strong relationships with each other and faculty.”

What are some of the top traditions at Wharton, INSEAD, Chicago Booth, and MIT Sloan? When P&Q surveyed this year’s Best & Brightest MBA graduates, we asked them to share the defining tradition of their program and what it meant to the community. From leadership training on military bases to section competition, here are the traditions that alumni revere most at their business schools.

“Babson hosts Rocket Pitch every year, which gives student and alumni entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their entrepreneurial endeavors to students, faculty, entrepreneurs, investors, and startup supporters. Each presenter is given 3 minutes and in turn, the audience provides feedback immediately following the pitch. I adore this event because, oftentimes, the presenters are people you know so in some cases, you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the evolution and growth of these businesses which gives me a sense of pride in my classmates.”
Pua Higginson, Babson College (Olin)

 

“As part of the MBA program orientation, all first-year students visit Camp Williams, a National Guard training site. Students are put into groups and have the opportunity to get through various obstacle courses. They need to bring their creativity and work together in order to be successful in each course. The trip to Camp Williams happens on the first week of the program. Everyone is still getting to know each other, so this activity provides great opportunities for students to bond. The class of 2022 was not able to participate in this due to Covid restrictions, but I was able to volunteer last fall to help facilitate the activities for the incoming class of 2023. I loved seeing how each team interacted and bonded over these shared experiences. This tradition really reflects the collaborative spirit that exists here at the BYU Marriott School of Business. While students are competing for internships and jobs, everyone is willing to help each other. There is an incredibly supportive community in the program that propels us all forward.”
Gabriel San Martin, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

 

“I love the Cambridge University tradition of Formal Dinners. Every college has ‘Formal Halls’, three-course evening meals at which you are normally expected to wear a gown – the full Harry Potter. I think they are great for connecting with a wide bunch of people, especially getting to know members of the cohort you may not already have met. The lively market in formal ticket swaps reflects their popularity.”
Bob Winslow, Cambridge Judge

 

“That would be the Shanghai Night! Every year, the MBA cohort gathers on a ship on the Huangpu River and all students dress up in 1920s Shanghai clothes. It is a very romantic event, where everyone eats and dances on the water, admiring the lights of the skyscrapers.”
Raffaele Ragini, CEIBS

 

“My favorite CBS tradition is Follies. CBS has one of the most robust Follies productions across all the MBA programs and I’ve participated in Follies every semester at CBS. Even during the pandemic, our ability to think outside the box and put on a high-quality production still leaves me in awe. Last semester, we had our first live show with the cast, dance, and band since 2019 and I still can’t believe how much we were able to accomplish with minimal previous examples. CBS Follies exemplifies the soul of CBS as students who are exceptionally talented without taking themselves too seriously and while keeping things light and fun.”
Alicia Davis, Columbia Business School

 

“The Tepper Reads program has been my favorite tradition, albeit a new one. Tepper Reads is a program-wide book club that aims to “enhance students’ empathy, critical thinking, and self-awareness.” I didn’t expect to have time to read fiction books while in business school nor did I expect them to have a profound impact on my experience. We’ve read Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys and Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half, to name a few. The discussions brought me closer to my classmates as we tackled the deep themes of these novels. We even enjoyed the bonus of live (Zoom) discussions with the authors of the chosen books!”
Hensley Sejour, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

 

“My favorite event was the Annual Ski Trip, which took place in the beautiful resort town of Telluride in December this school year. It’s the largest student-organized trip in which more than 500 students attend and is hosted by the Booth Ski and Snowboard Club (BSSC). The five-day trip creates unforgettable memories and unique opportunities to meet with new classmates and bond with your friends, from themed parties to skiing and snowboarding on the slopes and exploring a new town together. As someone who had never skied prior to this trip, I was a bit nervous as some of my classmates were at a much more advanced level. Although I was new to the sport, my classmates cheered me on and were enthusiastic about my growth – they skied down easier runs with me, took videos of me and encouraged me to stretch myself and try harder slopes once I had mastered easier runs. The trip was a microcosm of Booth — working hard but playing harder, and a community that pushes each other to grow while genuinely supporting each other.”
Amira Khatib, University of Chicago (Booth)

 

“Every Thursday, Johnson hosts a Sage Social. It is a fully sponsored event where faculty staff and students get to meet, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and partake in beer and wine. Because of the close intimate nature of our institution, the opportunity for us all to meet on such a regular basis creates deeply entrenched relationships and a communal event for different recruiting paths to catch up. It is a special component of the Johnson magic.”
Jeremy Mathurin, Cornell University (Johnson)

 

“A beloved Tuck tradition is Tripod Hockey, a non-contact ice hockey league for those who need their stick to be the third leg. Like many, I came to Tuck with no ice hockey experience, but have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the tradition. The league is all about falling down, getting back up, and doing so with a supportive team by your side.”
Lia Parker-Belfer, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

 

Next Page: Duke Fuqua – Rochester Simon

During the Outdoor Leadership Seminar, students spend two days proving – and improving – their team-leadership skills during a series of increasingly difficult field exercises supervised by military-trained professionals.

 

“One of my favorite traditions as a second year has been Fuqua Vision! Think Saturday Night Live – but created in video form and by your classmates, spoofing off of things happening at Fuqua. We have a show at the end of each quarter, following the Fuqua Friday happy hour for that evening. This year’s Fuqua Vision leaders have done an admirable job of creating humor in good conscience and generating a lot of positive energy in the community around every show. It’s a blast to gather as a community in Geneen (our largest auditorium) and sit back and laugh before going into final assignments and projects mode. These shows reflect Fuquans’ willingness to feel comfortable reflecting and poking fun at ourselves.”
Helen Elizabeth Old, Duke University (Fuqua)

Fuqua Friday has been restarted this academic year. It is a weekly tradition where Fuquans connect with each other and unwind at the end of a long week. There is often an opportunity to learn from different cultural clubs, or support a philanthropic cause (e.g., Fuqua Special Olympics Auction, Hispanic Heritage Month dance presentations). Everyone prioritizes this event, as it is a Fuqua staple and the best way to start the weekend, is by catching up with Fuquans that you may not have classes with. It’s always a joy to see our classmates bring their parents, children, and partners to Fuqua Friday and these events are the perfect example of what Team Fuqua is.”
Iboro Ikene, Duke University (Fuqua)

 

“My favorite tradition at Emory is our annual Keystone event that occurs right before the start of the school year. Keystone was created to merge the upcoming graduating class of one-year MBA candidates and two-year MBA candidates while also engaging the community in a meaningful way through a series of class-wide community service events across Atlanta. As VP of Community Outreach, I had the pleasure of planning this initiative (our first big non-zoom event), and we ended up having 128 MBA students serve 350 hours on 15 projects across 13 amazing Atlanta NPOS in the areas of education, environment, humanitarian relief, healthcare, and animals. I personally was able to work with the Kyle Pease Foundation where we assembled bicycles for disabled in-chair athletes participating in an upcoming race. Participating in this event and assisting our community was an amazing and inspiring kickoff to our last year of school.”
Kegan Baird, Emory University (Goizueta)

 

“The McDonough School of Business KEGs Series is a staple within the MBA community. KEGs are a series of after-school social events, hosted on a rotating basis by student organizations. The hosting student organization will create an engaging two-hour event with a complimentary happy hour. This tradition really gives students an opportunity to engage with students outside their demographics and career areas of interest. I truly believe that even the modified versions of this event allowed the McDonough community to stay strong during the persistent challenges presented by COVID-19.
Richard Williamson, Georgetown University (McDonough)

 

“The Spring MBA Golf Tournament is a special tradition hosted by GBA. The event takes place at the home course of our UGA Division I Golf Team, but the course is open to people at all skill levels who come to play. The MBA tournament consists of MBA students and alumni on mixed teams having players of different skill levels and we play a four-person scramble.

There’s a unique energy on the golf course that day. Because teams are randomly assigned, people have the chance to spend roughly 4 hours with alumni and other classmates whom they might not normally spend time with. After the event, everyone goes to the local brewery and we give out fun awards like most lost balls, longest drive, and MVP. It’s a special event that brings everyone together and fosters networking.”
Michael Eggie, University of Georgia (Terry)

Spring Networking Night in Atlanta. This event allows the Full-Time and Professional MBA students to network and make meaningful lifelong connections that otherwise would not be possible secondary to program locations and professional career requirements. Through this event, I was not only able to meet employers and PMBAs, but I was also able to share classroom resources, financial modeling examples, industry, hometown, and family connections in the span of two hours. This speaks to Terry’s dedication to not only building leaders inside the classroom, but also a network of relationships outside the classroom.”
Kayla Snipes Vickers, University of Georgia (Terry)

 

“Each year HEC Paris gives the MBA students the opportunity to participate in the Outdoor Leadership Seminar. This 2-day, full-training course aims at developing leadership skills of students during short exercises in high pressure environment. The seminar starts with basic problem-solving exercises and ends up with a full commando mission of 4 hours, during which each team member gets to experience the role of the leader.

I did this whole training 5 months pregnant and can only recommend it, as I learned so much on myself and on my team members. I was assigned a leader in the final, 3 hours long exercises and was coordinating a rescue mission after a massive earthquake in France. From deploying complex problem-solving to using calmness as a superpower to honing analytical skills and team management, this seminar is the perfect assessment of the values of HEC Paris: mutual aid, strategic and cold thinking, and leadership.”
Anna Pozniakoff, HEC Paris

“The Saint Cyr’s Outdoor Leadership Event is my most memorable MBA tradition. It is a 2-day event where students solve a series of increasingly difficult field exercises under the supervision of a military-trained mentor. I got to stretch my leadership and problem-solving skills and receive valuable feedback from my colleagues on how to lead effectively. I was glad that the school refused to cancel the event despite the pandemic restrictions, as it provides such a unique learning experience no classroom seminar can ever provide.”
Folasade Owoeye, HEC Paris

 

“With the risk that IESE students before me have provided a similar answer, I have to say MultiCulti. After not having had the opportunity to experience this event last year, I am so blessed that we were able to organize it in 2022. A whole evening dedicated to the cultures of all the different countries represented in the MBA. I loved the pride and joy people exuded in sharing their favorite foods, drinks, and music with the rest of the two MBA cohorts, the classes of ’22 and ’23. With performances by 20 different nations (ranging from dance shows, and human-tower-building to sketches), it really demonstrated the diversity of the student body in the program, the ability to bring together all these different cultures, share them, celebrate them without any judgment, and learn more about each other and where we come from. Going forward, thanks to this event, when meeting people from different countries, I will be able to refer to something I had tasted or learned about during the MultiCulti event. Business school allows you to do that.”
Katharina Klohe, IESE Business School

 

SOUL CURRY is one of my favorite traditions at IIMA. We met as a cohort either on Zoom(online) or in classrooms (offline) and got to hear raw and unfiltered life stories of our batchmates. Every month, I got inspired by stories ranging from how someone helped fight child labor, led army units in the world’s most challenging terrain, or got over personal losses they faced early on. Over the last year and especially in the face of the pandemic, these sessions have brought us together as a batch and helped us unwind and look beyond the hectic MBA life and get to know each other personally. The entire experience also shows the environment of trust that we have built as a cohort where people are ready to express their vulnerabilities in their truest forms.”
Nikhil Srivastava, IIM Ahmedabad

 

“At the end of each class, Kelley students clap. The Kelley Clap is iconic and is indicative of the Kelley community.

The Kelley Clap comes from a distinguished Kelley professor, Walt Blacconiere, who passed much too early from pancreatic cancer. Professor Blacconiere was known for clapping at the end of each lecture to celebrate and express gratitude for the learning that had taken place. Eventually, students started joining in. This is now a tradition that continues in every single classroom at the end of every single class. I love clapping at the conclusion of class, whether it’s with my two hands or an emoji on Zoom, as it reminds me to be thankful for the learning I get to experience at Kelley.”
Sam Yoder, Indiana University (Kelley)

 

“Following the diversity topic, my favorite tradition is the National Weeks. Basically, this tradition consists in a week in which a country or a group of countries organizes different traditional activities for the rest of the cohort. This year, the Spanish National Week hasn’t taken place yet, but I am very much looking forward to it since I have some friends in the 22J (previous batch). They have already given me a hint of how it was the previous year when they organized many funny activities such as traditional dances, and dinners with typical Spanish food, They even held a San-Fermines festival recreation (as known as the Running of the Bulls), which is a party celebrated in Spain that attracts thousands of people from all around the world every year.”
Joel Garrido Gallardo, INSEAD

 

London business school LBS logo
London business school LBS logo

“Definitely Tattoo! Tattoo is our school’s yearly celebration of our cultural and national diversity – the evening includes different cuisines, traditional dances from different nations (although the dance competition can become quite competitive!), musical performances, and stalls showing off cultural heritage. This year it is back on campus and outside in our school’s gardens. It is a tradition that we light up and project onto the school building all the different flags represented by our student population. The reason I love this tradition is that encapsulates what is so special about LBS – our diversity and that we love our differences and choose to learn from each other.”
Naveen Kler, London Business School

 

“It’s hard to choose one! If I had to, I’d probably say it was MAP, the capstone event of my MBA1 year at Ross. Students are split into consulting teams and assigned to projects based on their interests and career ambitions. I’m not sure how the Office of Action-Based Learning pulls it off, but every year the list of projects that MBAs get to work on gets better. Alongside three of exceptionally bright, mission-driven classmates, I had the chance to create a go-to-market strategy for a solar company in Bangladesh that was looking to break into rural markets. When else do you get to do something like that? I have friends that worked with fisheries in Patagonia and National Parks in Peru. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.”
Sam Buck, University of Michigan (Ross)

 

The Rolling Sloans! The student-led rock band plays at least one big show every year for our classmates. Hanging out, playing music, and performing for a large crowd is so much fun and has helped me make several close friends at Sloan. The takeaway? As serious as we are about our learning, at MIT we like to have fun outside of the classroom as well.
Kenny Groszman, MIT (Sloan)

 

“When the school year kicks off, the university (and the wonderful folks at Stern’s Office of Student Engagement in particular) puts on some excellent programming through Launch MBA Orientation to welcome students to New York City. One of the more memorable and magical experiences for the class is a Private Dinner at Ellis Island, which was held outdoors in our second year. My classmates and I traveled by ferry, enjoyed stunning views from the water, and savored a great meal with each other; it was a good time. This was especially lovely for my class to do after spending so much of our first year isolated due to the pandemic. It is a really lovely evening that showcases two of the things that make Stern so unique: our location, and our people.”
Khalil Zueh Romain, New York University (Stern)

 

“So much of my Kellogg experience has been remarkable. However, KWEST (“Kellogg Worldwide Experiences & Service Trips”) has certainly been my most memorable experience. Traditionally, KWEST is a week-long trip students take with ~20 strangers that emphasizes getting to know your fellow KWESTees for who they are rather than what they are (e.g., profession, hometown, etc.). My KWEST experience was particularly unique because I opted to take the “mystery” trip. Mystery KWEST adds another level of excitement because the entire itinerary is a secret until the day of departure. KWEST brings to life Kellogg’s emphasis on teambuilding, knowing your peers more deeply and sharing experiences. I made great friends and memories on KWEST, and I am happy I had the opportunity to be a part of such a rich tradition.”
Luke Elder, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

 

“As someone who enjoys a chance to be in the company of my fellow M.B.A. students, the Katz’s Student (Fall or Spring) Ball is my favorite MBA event. The Student Ball is a way for the Katz community to come together to laugh, smile, and dance. Coming to Katz during a pandemic, we didn’t have the student ball my first year, but as the university guidelines permitted in-person events, S.E.B. wanted to bring back the Student Ball with a community aspect to it. All the proceeds from tickets purchased for the ball were donated to Communities in Schools – Pittsburgh & Allegheny County. I enjoyed this fun-filled night and seeing some of my classmates’ best dance moves. The Student Ball is an excellent opportunity to showcase the lighter side of life across the Katz student body.”
Anthony C. Winfield Jr., University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

 

“My favorite MBA tradition is Simon Volunteers’ annual Fall Ball event. Every year, the Simon Community comes together for a special night of dressing up and socializing, while raising money to support Rochester families in need. It is the first club-sponsored event of the school year where the incoming and returning classes get to gather outside of Simon. This year was our 30th anniversary for Fall Ball, with 300 tickets selling out in under 3 days. While the event is memorable on its own, it is particularly important to Simon Volunteers because Fall Ball serves as a fundraiser for our Secret Santa initiative. This year half of all Simon clubs co-sponsored the event, and we were able to raise a record-breaking amount of $18.6K (up 245% from the prior 2019 record).

At Simon Volunteers, my leadership team and I leveraged 100% of those funds raised to provide gifts for children of local families during the holiday season. Altogether, 189 families were supported. With excess funds still remaining, we are excited to be exploring even more ways to support the Rochester community this spring. I am really proud of how involved the Simon community is with the larger Rochester community, and our Fall Ball event is emblematic of that.
Andrew Black, University of Rochester (Simon)

 

Next Page: Rice Jones to Yale SOM

“Partio,” or party on the patio, is a venerated Rice Business tradition. Whether it’s an international Partio to celebrate the different cultures in our community or a family partio where you can introduce your littles and loved ones to your Rice Business family, partios are our favorite way to unwind and get to know each other better. Photo courtey of Jones Graduate School of Business

 

“At Rice, one of my favorite events is Partio. Partio is a weekly tradition that happens on Thursday nights. Some nights are themed to celebrate all the cultures and backgrounds of Rice Students. I love Partio because it is the weekly wind-down for my classmates and me. We go to Partio to let loose, enjoy food and drinks, and get some type of entertainment after a long class week.”
Takeya Green, Rice University (Jones)

 

“Once a week, two classmates give their TALK. They share their life stories with the entire GSB community in an intimate and supportive setting. The whole class comes together to celebrate self-reflection, vulnerability, and diversity in our community.”
Hannes Harnack, Stanford GSB

 

“A Rotman tradition that’s close to my heart is the Rotman Video Challenge. The premise is that each year the MBA class organizes themselves to create a video to tell the world who their class is. Over 70 people collaborated on the three-minute video in a way that no other classes had before. We worked across almost every time zone to showcase the unique ways our class was already trying to get to know one another and create the same community we would one day feel in the Rotman building. We cooked, made music, played games, and had drinks virtually in hopes of meeting in person soon.

Now, as the program is coming to an end, it’s emotional to rewatch the video and think about how these strangers and faces on Zoom have become such an important part of my life. It reflects how strong of a community is created at Rotman because of our shared experiences and passions. For me, this video will forever be a beautiful reminder of how much the MBA has changed my life and how resilient the class of 2022 really is.”
Cyrena Lockert, University of Toronto (Rotman)

 

“My favorite Haas tradition is the “trifecta” of events at the beginning of fall. The three events – Haasemite, Haas Boats, and Haas Vegas – are a staple of the Haas experience and offer three very different experiences for full-time and part-time MBAs. Haasemite, a camping trip to Yosemite, is perfect for outdoor explorers or those who are curious about the sights that Northern California offers. Haas Boats is an incredibly memorable and unique weekend on houseboats at Lake Shasta with hundreds of classmates. Finally, Haas Vegas is a nightlife-centered trip to Las Vegas. Students are not pressured to attend all (or any) of the events, but it’s a great introduction to Haas and a great way to get to know classmates at the beginning of the school year. Best of all, Haasemite and Haas Boats are local and more affordable/accessible than traditional MBA trips.”
Lucas Seifu, UC Berkeley (Haas)

“My favorite tradition at Haas is Story Salon. Every month, a few student speakers prepare stories about their lived experiences and share them with the Haas community. Attending Story Salon is a beautiful experience. Everyone in the community comes out and the stories are incredible pieces filled with humor, grief, and wisdom. You feel the connection, support, love, and shared understanding in the room at every Story Salon.”
London Swift, UC Berkeley (Haas)  

 

“My favorite tradition that takes place at UC Davis is Peer-to-Pier, an annual networking event where students can connect with alumni at a premier location in San Francisco. This year, it was held at The City Club of San Francisco, bringing together some of the most influential alumni all under the same roof where there are decades worth of industry experience and potential to build relationships. This event showcases the school’s powerful alumni network and its willingness to create spaces in which you can form relationships that will boost your career.”
Jayce Smalley, U.C. Davis

 

“The Executive Mentor Program, in which students are matched with an Orange County professional, provided added depth to my MBA experience.  The caliber of mentors and their commitment to Merage students is a testament to the network Merage has built in the Orange County community. My mentor complemented what I learned in the classroom by giving me insights into his business and board roles and offered guidance as I underwent my internship search and full-time role negotiations. He was available as a sounding board for ideas during my internship and case competition. On top of that, we’ve developed a genuine friendship.  We regularly meet for coffee, almost a year past the official program conclusion. I’ve faced several big decisions during my MBA, ranging from accepting my post-grad job offer to where I want to live. His guidance on these life choices has been invaluable.”
Sophia Fischer, UC Irvine (Merage)

 

“My favorite UCLA Anderson tradition is AnderCup/Section Olympics, which is a year-long challenge between all the sections in the Full-Time MBA Program. Starting business school virtually, the usual in-person activities swiftly pivoted to be virtual, but still managed to maintain creativity and competitive energy through spelling bees, trivia, cooking contests, and more. This helped create class pride and meaningful relationships with classmates as we learned more about each other’s interests and aspirations. Once we were able to participate in person, we got to spend even more time together doing outdoor activities like beach volleyball, egg tosses, and spike ball. AnderCup/Section Olympics demonstrated not only that the students at UCLA Anderson are agile and quick to adapt to different situations, but how great the culture is when you can be competitive while still striving to “share success”.”
Oke Bamgbose, UCLA (Anderson)

“My favorite MBA tradition is AnderStories. This is a recently rejuvenated monthly event (initiated by my ASA President predecessor, Shosh!) that brings students together to learn about individuals in our community through storytelling that goes below the surface. In business school, a lot of us are constantly looking for opportunities to go deep with others and AnderStories creates the platform for that. Two people choose to share a story, and it could be anything: funny, culturally relevant, highly personal… whatever speaks most to the presenter. I have learned more from this series about my peers than I could have ever imagined. The people at Anderson are resilient, courageous, and incredible humans who have the most unique journeys that have shaped them to become who they are today. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to cross paths with them in this way.”
Nuvie Ewharekuko, UCLA (Anderson)

 

“I most enjoy Humans of Owen, which I also had the opportunity to organize through my work with OSGA. Each month, we select 3 faculty, students, or staff who are willing to share perspectives and stories with the community. These speeches are often organized around common themes like gratitude, allyship, and new chapters. They allow us to explore the similarities and differences in our experiences. Classmates have shared their stories about immigrating to the United States, celebrating religious backgrounds, improving their mental health, and exploring racial or gender identity. Sometimes moving and sometimes uplifting, I always leave Humans of Owen impressed by the bravery, vulnerability, and strength of my classmates and am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know them more intimately. I believe Humans of Owen is also incredibly important for building a cohesive, supportive community at Owen.”
Jacob Schrimpf, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

 

“The Darden Drag Show is an event that I heard about before even arriving on Grounds and it certainly lived up to the hype. As a member of the queer community, it is always encouraging to see allies actively participating in events that are core to who we are. At the Darden Drag Show, you will have an absurd amount of fun while also learning about the history of drag and the influence it has had on mainstream culture. A combination of learning and pure bliss is at the core of the Darden experience, so it makes sense that this event is a huge hit every year.”
Isabel Fortuño Seitzer, University of Virginia (Darden)

“The Darden Cup is a huge part of the Darden culture and community. Each section (first years and second years) competes against each other in a myriad of events (soccer, MarioKart, relay races, talent show, etc.) and wins points throughout the year. It’s a great way to bring the sections- student and faculty alike – together for some classic fun and competition.”
Katie Winebarger, University of Virginia (Darden)

 

“I loved the Diwali Festival that we celebrated in November. Although it is a Hindu festival, all students from the MBA cohort were part of the celebration, wearing traditional Indian clothes and dancing to Bollywood songs. It was one of the first events I attended on campus. Because of such cultural events and comprehensive student participation, I could feel students’ respect for each other’s culture.”
Nikita Acharya, Warwick Business School

 

“My favorite MBA tradition has been our TGs (shortened from TGIF in case it happens not to land on a Friday). These events offered us an opportunity to enjoy our school after hours, have some drinks with one another, and enjoy music from our amazing Foster Band and other talented individuals. The TGs often took on different themes, which allowed us to celebrate different cultures, including Diwali and Lunar year celebrations. TGs are a tradition that I hope continues on for as long as Foster has an MBA program.”
Jay Patacsil, University of Washington (Foster)

 

“Many Wharton traditions come to my mind, but one that stands out is Storytellers. Storytellers is a recurrent evening event where 5-6 Wharton MBA students walk onto a stage at a local downtown theater and present the story of their lives. It is a very intimate setting where students share the deepest stories of their lives. This semester, we’ve heard profound and inspiring stories: from a classmate climbing Mount Everest with her dad to a transgender friend defying social constructs.

Storytellers is an attestation that Wharton is a safe place to open yourself up. The vulnerability and genuineness fostered in these events clearly brings our MBA community closer together.”
Jorge Cardenas, Wharton School

 

“My favorite MBA event at the Wisconsin School of Business was International Night in the Fall semester of 2021. This was an event where students dressed in their native country’s traditional attire and shared unique cultural experiences and food. The evening concluded with a talent show where students performed an artistic routine in dance, music, art, theatre, etc. It was exciting to see so many of my peers perform in the show! It is easy to get a sense of how gifted my peers are intellectually in the classroom. The talent show opened my eyes to an entirely different side of their talents and skills. Events like these help students, staff, and faculty, appreciate the cross-cultural differences in society and make them more empathetic leaders who understand and appreciate the diversity of people’s backgrounds and cultures. Celebrating our differences and our different skills will empower all of us to build more inclusive and close-knit organizations where everyone feels welcomed, heard, and understood.”
Karan Modi, Wisconsin Business School

 

My favorite MBA tradition at Yale SOM has been Voices. Voices is a weekly platform for SOM students and faculty to speak to an audience about anything and provide individuals a safe space to discuss life experiences that are relevant to their way of thinking. For me, it was a cathartic experience to speak about my family, my previous job, and other matters that shaped the woman I am. As an audience member, it helped me better understand my fellow classmates and why they are passionate about their opinions. At Yale SOM, we are a strongly opinionated community, but spaces like Voices allow us to break down walls with our classmates to learn why those opinions exist and gain empathy for each other.  
Elizabeth Varughese, Yale School of Management

 

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