Awesome MBA Traditions At Top Business Schools

Huntsman Hall Entrance at the Wharton School. Wharton photo

“During winter break of my first year, I did a Culture Quest (CQ) in Oman with a group of 50 Wharton/Lauder students. Think of CQ as an Amazing Race in teams of 5 over a 4-5 day journey in a foreign country. Challenges ranged from volunteering at a school for an afternoon to finding the best bargain for a local Omani dress. Our team ended up swimming through wadis, sleeping under the stars with Bedouins, and praying at the Grand Mosque. This CQ tradition really reflects the students’ desire for a global perspective and appetite for stretch experiences.”
Teddy Shih, Wharton School

“My two favourite events are the Imperial Innovation Challenge (IIC) and Entrepreneurial Journey (EJ). During the IIC week, we are exposed to the most frontier deep technologies developed at Imperial and introduced to practice-oriented frameworks and canvases. Leveraging the knowledge, we then develop prototype concepts and experimentation plans to test both technological viability and economic feasibility for the assigned technology. The whole process is really fast-paced and challenges our quick-thinking ability. I really enjoyed working together as a team under pressure, which helps us build closer bonds and appreciate each other’s efforts more.

The EJ is a unique opportunity for us to research and explore a business idea in-depth, working in teams and collaborating with students from other majors. We will receive substantial coaching sessions from experienced faculty members and support from the Imperial Enterprise Lab, and various training workshops (Design thinking, innovative business models, customer discovery, legal essentials and financial modelling) to really work on our own business ideas. The Entrepreneurial Journey equips us with almost all skills required to start our own business.”
Joanne Long, Imperial College

“I have absolutely loved attending CBS Matters. This is a tradition where individuals take time to give a presentation to their classmates on what matters most to them. Students use the time to be incredibly vulnerable, often sharing their life story and intimate details about their family, relationships, mental health, and more. This is so special because it allows us all to take a step back from our ‘business school’ selves and reminds us that we have more in common than we realize.”
Chanel Washington, Columbia Business School

“Being a self-proclaimed football fanatic, I feel incredibly grateful that I got to experience one football season before COVID. While my undergrad institution had a football program, our stadium was an hour drive from school, so I never got to experience true game day vibes on campus. Football is such a big part of UT’s culture and I loved being able to hang with classmates in a more laid-back environment, eat some BBQ and sport burnt orange.

However, it wouldn’t be a business school function without some ‘business’. Each MBA tailgate was sponsored by a different company who would host an informal networking event prior to the game. It was an awesome way to get to know alumni in a lower pressure environment. In addition, our building, Rowling Hall, is on the corner of campus and downtown Austin and our tailgates always sported amazing food from local eateries. I am looking forward to resuming this tradition in post-COVID world and as an alumni supporter.”
Chelsea Martell Evans, University of Texas (McCombs)

“So many of our core traditions were adversely affected or canceled by COVID-19 closures, but we have tried to keep our sense of community as intact as possible despite the difficult circumstances. A few new initiatives started by ASA (Student Council) President Shoshana Seidenfeld and a few other members have been tremendously popular. Each month on Zoom, a student shares their AnderStory – a deeply intimate, personal story to present their true selves to their classmates. Despite the online setting, AnderStories has been phenomenally attended, and has become a great opportunity to learn and share vulnerabilities. I am excited for this new tradition to continue at Anderson, especially when it can even more intimately be in person.”
Parth Chauhan, UCLA (Anderson)

Company-Sponsored Tailgates are by far my favorite tradition of the Smeal MBA Program. The school would reserve a tailgate spot in a specially designated area for organizations and sponsored tailgates during every home football game. The student government organization, the MBA Association (MBAA), would work with companies interested in hiring Smeal MBAs to sponsor the tailgate. The sponsoring company would pay for all the supplies and the spot and send representatives that were a mix of recruiters and Smeal MBA Alumni. To this day, my dad asks me to re-explain this to him every time I mention it because he cannot believe it exists. It truly is unique to our program and the culture of Penn State Football. This event allowed us to get to know companies and their employees beyond the formality of a networking call or interview.”
Andrew J. Marshall, Penn State (Smeal)

“The Internship Fund (IF) and accompanying fundraising events are a great example of how SOM students are dedicated to the mission. Each year, first-years raise money to help provide financing for students who plan to intern for nonprofits during their summer. The IF committee plans a series of events including a bake-off, a talent show called Star Search, and a Valentine’s Day Cupid Gram service. It all culminates with a boisterous and entertaining live auction, where students and professors donate prizes ranging from homemade cakes to Broadway theater with the Dean. It allows so many students to get involved and give to a worthy cause.”
Jenn Burka, Yale SOM

“Every Thursday evening (prior to the pandemic), the Jones School hosted “Partios” that take place on our school’s patio. It is a weekly event to bring current students, faculty and staff, alumni, and community partners together for networking. The Jones Student Association plays a vital role in hosting these events, and teams up with club presidents to theme Partios around cultural holidays and traditions. My favorite partio is the “International Partio” in which students bring cuisines from their cultural backgrounds/home countries and take turns presenting and teaching the student body about their cultures.”
Casey Sherrod, Rice University (Jones)

“The annual International Friendsgiving hosted by the Katz Student Executive Board. This family-friendly “around the world” event is widely anticipated each year, with students cooking or catering cultural cuisine, explaining cultural traditions and pop culture, and sharing different music and dance offerings. International Friendsgiving reflects Katz’s commitment to building an inclusive community by embracing international students and their unique backgrounds and cultures, broadening the horizons of domestic students, and fostering understanding and community between domestic and international students.”
Malena Hirsch, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

“One of the best traditions at Owen is Closing Bell. Every Thursday afternoon, all students converge on our central area where various student organizations prepare food, drinks, and entertainment related to their respective club. My favorite Closing Bell was hosted by the Global Business Association, where our international students decorated tables and prepared traditional food from their home countries. Walking through the Owen lobby that evening was like walking through an international marketplace, where I could drink a pisco sour and discuss politics in South America and then step across the aisle to eat Jollof Rice and hear about common business practices in Nigeria. International students already bring such an incredible amount of knowledge and perspective to our classroom discussions, but connecting with those students while being partially immersed in their cultures was an extraordinary experience.”
Kaitlyn Barrett Wilson, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

“My favorite MBA event/tradition is the annual Business School vs. Law School hockey game called “The Monroe Street Cup” (both schools are located next to each other on Monroe Street). This hockey game has a long-standing tradition and garners a lot of attention from faculty and students from both schools. The best part about the game is that it is played at the historical Yost Ice Arena where the University of Michigan Division I team plays. Last year, Ross had about 250-300 students show up to our game with home-made signs and coordinated cheers. The Ross community is a family, and the support from classmates at a tradition such as the Monroe Cup is one of many examples of this. Not to mentionm Ross is on a two-year win streak!”
Clinton Bourbonais, University of Michigan (Ross)

International Fest! War Stories!  Identity Stories!  Her Stories! Georgetown students are incredibly diverse and globally-minded. We have students who represent 30+ different countries and through International Fest, we get to see friends wear traditional garb, eat and drink amazing grub from all over the world, and see our friends showcase their talents. I had an amazing time emceeing the event last year, watching friends do magic tricks, singing opera, and playing the guitar – I even got to bust out a fun Bollywood number with twenty friends! Just thinking about that evening makes me smile! Similarly, War Stories, where we hear our veterans tell stories of their time in the military; Identity Stories, where we hear the stories and experiences of our LGBTQ+ community; and Her Stories, where we hear the experiences of women, are all events that enable us to learn about our classmates through different lenses. The stories often have me crying one minute and on the floor laughing the next. We don’t always get to hear the transformational stories that changed or defined a person or their view of the world over a beer, or a glass of wine. So when you do, it’s quite the privilege.”
Leena Jube, Georgetown University (McDonough)

MSU Broad“My favorite event at my business school was the Diwali (Festival of Lights) Celebration organized by the Multi-Cultural Club. It was a joy to watch people from different cultures and backgrounds dress up in traditional Indian attire and sing and dance to Bollywood music. It was a night filled with fun, food, and laughter, one that I will cherish for lifetime.”
Karthik Rai, Michigan State (Broad)

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