Awesome MBA Traditions At Top Business Schools

The Super Bowl Ad Review takes place at Kellogg during the night of the Super Bowl.

“The Kellogg Super Bowl Ad Review! Every year about ~50-60 students are selected to participate in Kellogg’s legendary Super Bowl Ad Review led by two Kellogg marketing professors (Tim Calkins and Derek Rucker). Students rank the advertisements in real-time using Kellogg’s ADPLAN framework. It is really a great way for students with interest in marketing (like me) to apply what we have learned in class to real-life examples.”
Di Gao, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

“In true Midwestern form, Carlson hosts a tailgate tent or two at every home football game. Coming from a small liberal arts school out west school with no football team, I was somewhat apathetic about attending my first gigantic state school tailgate. What’s so special about hot dogs and hamburgers in a parking lot? What I found was a prime example of the community that this program creates. We always had Part- and Full-Time MBAs at our tables, as well as alumni of the program who were excited to welcome the next class to the Carlson fold. The welcoming, open atmosphere and celebration of our home team reflect Carlson’s approach to the classroom and to business: collaboration and cooperation get you further than the competition. Creating spaces (in parking lots or in classrooms) for everyone to leverage their strengths is a huge emphasis at Carlson that shines through every facet of the school’s culture.”
Samantha Clute, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

“My favorite tradition at Stern is listening to students tell their personal stories at Stern Speaks and then walking over to Stern Social every Thursday (pre-COVID). Stern Speaks is an event where students volunteer to talk about their personal lives and stories in front of a filled lecture hall. I found that these stories would usually be very emotional and force me to think about my classmates and my own life in a different light. This would be followed by a fun and easy-going night of socializing, where I was able to make new friends and build relationships with existing ones. The stark contrast between these back-to-back events, from very serious to easy-going, always reminded me of the depth and breadth of relationships you can build at Stern.”
Krithik Tirupapuliyur, New York University (Stern)

“No doubt, it is the Crawfish Boil. It is an annual event held in the Scheller Courtyard where admitted students, current students, and alumni alike come together for a night of music, great food, and plenty of fun. I remember attending as a new admit, conversing with my future classmates and 20 -year alumni. It truly confirmed that I had made the right decision.”
Marcus Harmon, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

“Without a doubt my favorite IESE event would have to be our annual Multi-Culti. Multi-Culti is this large fair where all the nationalities of IESE are represented. Located in a beautiful outdoor venue in Barcelona, each nationality is in charge of their own stall and each group goes all out to best represent their country. Each table has typical food, drinks, and decoration from their nationality. Many of the groups also put on a show with some traditional dancing and singing. Last year on the Canadian table, we offered some Tim Horton’s donuts, maple syrup, and delicious poutine! For me, this event best embodies the multi-cultural spirit of IESE.”
Marc-Olivier Granger, IESE Business School

“The MBA Olympics is easily my most favorite event at NUS Business School. Each year, MBA students from the top business schools in Singapore come together to showcase their athletic prowess and compete in various sporting events. It is a pleasing sight to see a diverse cohort unite as one community, cheer their hearts out, and have loads of fun. The NUS MBA Team has consistently finished on the podium for several years now, and it just goes to show how well rounded our students are. Study hard, play hard!”
Maria Katrina Volante, National University of Singapore

“The Ivey Ring Ceremony. Although the event hasn’t happened for our class yet, the Ivey Ring ceremony really speaks to the values and culture of the school. To take the same pledge, alongside all previous Ivey students, to uphold ethical standards and practice in business is a great way to connect us to the rest of the school’s alumni and send us off from the safety of cases into the business world, where our decisions really matter.”
Kailey Howell-Spooner, Western University (Ivey)

“Winters in Chicago can be tough – to say the least.  Every winter, though, Booth hosts the Annual Magnificent Mile Watch Party. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a Chicago parade that takes place at night and runs down Michigan Avenue, across the Chicago River, and then down Wacker. The floats are spectacular displays featuring well-known characters and are completely lit up. At the conclusion of the parade, there is a huge fireworks display. With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river, Booth’s downtown location seems to have been built specifically for viewing this event.  Every year, the school hosts a party where students are allowed to bring their partners, children, parents, or any other family or friends. Here, you’ll find hot chocolate and intricately-designed cookies.  There are activities for children, and even a nicely staged photo area to take your holiday card picture on a sled when Santa Claus makes his appearance!  This event, to me, recognizes that when you choose to go to business school, it’s not just a decision that impacts you – it impacts everyone in your life. During this event, you get to celebrate the holiday with both your family and your Booth family.”
Gabriela Arismendi, University of Chicago (Booth)

“My favorite MBA tradition at UNC Kenan-Flagler is “Carolina Casuals,” which is held on the School’s lawn every week. Co-hosted by our student association and the program administration, it’s a wonderful opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and their families to take a break from the week’s activities and socialize over some of the Triangle’s best food and drinks. This weekly event reflects a core value of our school – where a keen focus on community is continuously encouraged and creates an environment to forge life-long friendships and a strong professional network to leverage long after my MBA program.”
Aditi Paul, University of North Carolina (Kanan-Flagler)

“My favorite tradition was celebrating the end of exams with my classmates at the bar across the street, The Lab. It always happened organically – as we finished exams and streamed out of the halls, small groups headed across to The Lab. Suddenly, the whole place was filled with MBA students. I remember looking around and feeling part of something truly greater. Looking back now, I think it’s a reflection of just how strong our sense of community is at Marshall. When all is said and done, we still just want to be in each other’s company. We endure the lows and celebrate the highs together.”
Asia Liza Morales, USC (Marshall)

“One of my favorite events was Sloan’s annual Charity Auction. Students from each cohort offer up a variety of valuable items for the auction – a poker or a cooking class, a lunch with a popular professor, freshly-made cookies, or an opportunity to have a classmate dress up in a costume of your choice for a final exam. During my first year, I auctioned off a “pierogi party” complete with a pierogi-making lesson, vodka tasting, and traditional Russian dancing. I loved the opportunity to share a part of my culture while helping my cohort raise funds for Cradles to Crayons – an organization that provides children in low-income situations with essential items.”
Olga Timirgalieva, MIT (Sloan)

“My favorite tradition at Foster is kicking off the new school year with a Day of Service. Typically, on the first Friday of fall quarter classes we bring together over half the program and have a huge volunteering event with a local nonprofit where we offer up our resources to help them however we can. I love this tradition for two reasons. One, it builds connections right out of the gate in a setting outside of the classroom. When you volunteer alongside someone for a few hours, you get to know them on a different level than you do in an academic setting, which brings the overall community closer together. Two, it sets the tone for engagement in community service from the beginning of the year. Bringing folks together to help in a fun way builds momentum for continued volunteering as the year progresses and schedules become more chaotic. It conveys the value service as a positive outlet for when stress regarding classes and recruiting reaches a boiling point.”
Brian Wright, University of Washington (Foster)

“My favourite MBA tradition at Rotman is our monthly Culture Eats. Toronto is a cultural mosaic and Rotman is even more so with a roughly even split between domestic and international students. We have a breadth of diverse cultural clubs at Rotman and every month one would put on an afternoon of food, entertainment, dancing, and trivia from their culture. We would all sit in one of our atriums while the cultural clubs shared their favourite dishes from home, sang, dance, taught us to dance, and put on fashion shows, games, and trivia. I never missed one and we have even continued the tradition virtually. I have a very fond memory (and video) of our then academic director, Professor Joe Milner, up on stage trying to learn Afro-Caribbean dance moves. This tradition was not only delicious and entertaining but was also an excellent way to promote and celebrate diversity.”
Caley Laxer, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Haas Boats is a three-day event where a fleet of house boats are rented on Lake Shasta. Haas Boats is the most memorable bonding event to kick off the academic year. It includes floating islands of giant floaties. You are swimming, socializing with new classmates on themed boats, enjoying group meals, and listening to curated playlists created by classmates, Each boat was driven and managed by a “boat captain” who volunteered to be responsible for the navigation, staking the houseboats to the shore, and overseeing the safety of the occupants on their respective boats. Serving as a boat captain was a first for me and came with both challenges and rewards. The event is heavy on logistics, but everyone is collaborative, supportive, and quick to come to each other’s aid, exemplifying Haas’ Defining Leadership Principle, Beyond Yourself.”
Olaséni Bello, UC Berkeley (Haas)

Emory Goizueta Business School“My favorite event was the Obstacle Course that my class was thrown into within the first few days of starting the MBA program. There is nothing that will build trust as quickly as having your safety literally placed in the hands of your classmates while navigating an outdoor rope course. That…and being sweaty around each other for 5-6 hours in Georgia’s summer heat.”
Anupama Tadanki, Emory University (Goizueta)

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