Best MBA Traditions At Top Business Schools

“The 2019 Crisis Challenge by the Sanger Leadership Center at Michigan Ross was one of the best experiences at school I’ve had to date. I knew that in my career in tech or as an entrepreneur, I will always have to make decisions under an aura of ambiguity. At Ross, I wanted to have opportunities to help me further understand how to make impactful decisions in unclear environments. I was able to learn how to hone in on these creative problem-solving skills during the Sanger Leadership Center’s Crisis Challenge. Thirty teams of six-seven people got to engage with real Boards of Directors and media members (Detroit Free Press, NPR, BBC, and CNN) to experience what it is like to deal with corporate problems in a very public way! I left this 1.5-day series of events having worked on a team to solve problems seemingly out of our control. At the same time, I was being challenged to make decisions with many moving parts and incomplete information. I really enjoyed working with a stellar team learning how to deal with crises while building new strengths. I also received the “Executive Presence” award at the challenge, which was a great honor.”
LaTresha Staten, University of Michigan (Ross)


“My favorite MBA event is the annual Fuqua Special Olympics Auction because it showcases the generosity of Fuqua’s students, faculty, and administration. Each year, the Fuqua community rallies together to donate over 100 items and has helped our club donate over $3 million dollars to Special Olympics North Carolina since its inception. The live auction is also an absolute blast as students band together competing to outbid each other for the top auction items such as ‘Dean for a Day’, Coach K Autographs, Duke Basketball Tickets, and dinners with the students’ favorite faculty.”
Kevin Rahill, Duke University (Fuqua)


“As an avid skier, my favorite event so far has been the annual Wharton Ski Trip. Each year, over 1,000 Wharton students travel to either Utah or Denver for a ski weekend. For me, it perfectly embodies the Wharton experience – bringing together a large group of people from various backgrounds (or, in this case, skiing experience) to try something new, get to know each other, build an incredible community and culture, and have fun along the way.”
Eric Hilton, Wharton School


“My favorite tradition at Scheller is the Diwali Celebration. I was already a fan of all things dancing, music, color, and lights, but participating in Diwali was a new treat for me! Since we have a small program, we love to celebrate each student’s backgrounds and interests. I like introducing my classmates to Southern food and culture, so it was exciting to flip the table and be introduced to Indian dishes, music, and dance moves. So many students come out of their shells for the first time at Diwali, and it helps enhance the feeling of belonging that is vital to our community.”
Jasmine Howard, Georgia Tech (Scheller)


“Every January, the Katz Student Executive Board (SEB) organizes a Karaoke Night for Katz students to raise funds for a selected charity, which is voted on at the beginning of the academic year. Peers nominate each other to sing a selected song. Once the nominations are in, SEB collects donations per nominee and the top 5 students with the most donations sing at Karaoke Night. The fun comes in when a quick $5 bill is dropped in a bag at the last minute to bump somebody from 6th to 5th place. Because Katz is a small program, this is a great event that brings everyone together for a wonderful cause. Everybody supports the nominees to give them the necessary confidence boost to dominate their performance. While this is a social event, it shows the support and camaraderie easily found within the Katz community. Additionally, Katz is a public school and prides itself on giving back to the community. Funds raised from Karaoke Night were donated to the Education Partnership and The Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania in 2019 and 2020 respectively.”
Simone Rodriguez, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)


Thirsty Thursdays at Cornwall’s. There’s nothing quite like the community of business school, and it’s where I’ve celebrated my highest highs (going revenue positive!) and lowest lows (a B- in finance). Out of all the fabulous speaker series, networking events and social activities, this is my favorite because you come as you are to hang out with dozens of people who embrace you at your most stressed/sleep-deprived. Cornwall’s is where everyone knows my name. And my drink order.”
Kruti Kanojia, Boston University (Questrom)


Emory Goizueta Business School

KEGS is the best way to catch up with classmates each week. Every Thursday afternoon, we put together a social with drinks and food to cap off the week. When clubs and organizations sponsor a KEGS, it is so fun to see students get excited about their classmates’ cultures and passions. Some of the best KEGS have included a drag show from the Pride Club, a “shave off” after a Beard Growing competition to raise money for cancer research, and country music karaoke. This weekly event really emphasizes Goizueta’s focus on diversity and community, and is a great opportunity to get to know your classmates, program office, professors, and faculty.”
Catherine Sutherland, Emory University (Goizueta)


“Each year, Pride at Darden, our LGBTQ+ affinity group, hosts Love is Love Week during the second week of February. The week is filled with programming and events and ends with a school-wide Drag Show. I have had the opportunity to participate in the show as an ally and performer for the past two years. While the plethora of wigs, personas, and wicked lip-sync routines surely makes for a night of fun, I have been absolutely blown away by the level of engagement, energy, and support of and by the Darden community each year. Nights like the Drag Show showcase the best of what Darden has to offer: we honor diversity and inclusivity; we know how to have a good time (and don’t take ourselves too seriously), and we show up through thick and thin for each other.”
Chloe Stegeman, University of Virginia (Darden)


“My favorite event at HEC was our leadership training at St Cyr, a French military school. We spent 2 days working together on various team-building tasks as well as individual challenges meant to improve participants’ leadership skills. The program was set up that each activity built in intensity until the final exercises, which involved tasks up to 100 meters in the air. Being extremely afraid of heights, I was very nervous going into the seminar. By the end, I had faced my fears and can’t explain how proud I was of what I had accomplished. I did the zipline, jumped from one platform to another 20 meters off the ground, and walked across a tightrope above a cliff.

In these two days, I learned what it means to be a leader, and I found confidence in myself as a leader. These activities took me well outside of my comfort zone, which made me make quick decisions and not overthink situations. My mentor during these two days also made a huge impression on me with her wisdom and guidance. Following each activity, we had a group discussion analyzing the task and how we can apply the learnings in our own leadership. I never want to do these activities again, but I’m so grateful for this experience. This leadership seminar shows the importance HEC places on helping people grow the potential in themselves as leaders.”
Liz Miller, HEC Paris


“My favorite tradition at Kelley is the Kelley Coin. The Kelley Coin is awarded to current full-time MBA students, faculty, staff, or alumni who demonstrate the Kelley values of integrity, excellence, professionalism, collaboration, and leadership. This year, five students were nominated to receive this honor for living the Kelley values in a way that builds the school’s culture and creates new potential for program success. The Kelley Coin heavily aligns with the culture of our program and is reflective of the weight that is put into individual contributions – both in and outside of the classroom – that enhance the program.”
Allison Lawler, Indiana University (Kelley)


Sloan Olympics. It’s a very fun event in which the different “oceans” (classrooms to which we are assigned during our core semester) compete against each other in fun events, and it’s just one big party where you get to bond with people you have met.”
Larissa Cavalcanti, MIT Sloan


“One of my favorite traditions at Kenan-Flagler is our annual Karaoke Competition. It’s not your typical Karaoke though. When you come into Kenan-Flagler the class is divided into legacies. In addition to attending classes together, you get the chance to compete against other legacies in a series of competitions. Every legacy gets super into it. We have rehearsals with background dancers included and pull together some really cool costumes. This year my legacy killed it and took first place, with the best rendition of “Lady Marmalade” you’ve ever seen. For me, this karaoke competition shows how multitalented Kenan-Flagler MBAs are and really shows the down-to-earth nature of the student body.”
Jasmin Hines, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)


“I am a very big fan of Friday B**rs. Life at business school can become very busy and hectic, and having some time a week where everyone gets together and has a relaxing time cheered me up every Friday. It’s a perfect situation to wrap up a week, announcing a case competition winner, sharing worldwide food, petting therapy dogs, and chatting with family and friends. I believe we were only able to do this because we are a small community. It becomes very easy to talk to people you don’t know so well and build more meaningful connections. The coolest thing about B**rs is that is hosted by a different club every week, so it lets us show our goals, ideas, principles, and activities to the rest of the class. As Latin American Business Club, we had the opportunity to cater Latin food, play background Latin music, decorate, promote our Latin party, and explain our culture and countries to the whole Tepper community.”
Jerry Richter, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)



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