The Best Cities For MBAs

Owen MBA students in front of Nashville skyline

Nashville: “I’m a longtime live music fan, so I’ve loved exploring Nashville’s many weird and wonderful venues. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of my favorite artists play at The Basement East, The End, Mercy Lounge (before it closed its doors), EXIT/IN (I saw my first several shows there while it was still independentlyowned, and it remains one of my favorite venues in town), Brooklyn Bowl, the storied Ryman Auditorium, and several others. World- renowned superstars and up-and-coming garage acts alike all seem to pass through the aptly nicknamed Music City when they tour. Going to great concerts so regularly is probably the thing I’m going to miss the most about living in Nashville.
Taylor Rasmussen, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

New Haven: “There is a lot to do in New Haven. There are some terrific museums (such as the Yale Center for British Art), a theater that gets a lot of off-Broadway shows (and some shows that start in New Haven make it to Broadway), a concert hall, and a really good food scene, while still having a neighborhood feel!”
Allison Lyons, Yale SOM

New York City: “What I loved most about attending business school in New York City was its incredibly vibrant and diverse atmosphere. As a bustling global metropolis, NYC truly has something to offer everyone, providing endless opportunities for networking, learning, and rich cultural experiences. New York City is also a melting pot of cultures, boasting a plethora of cuisines, languages, and traditions. This diversity enriched my overall MBA experience, as I had the chance to learn from my peers’ unique backgrounds and perspectives. The city’s rich cultural scene, with its world-class museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues, provided an abundance of opportunities to explore and enjoy during my time at Columbia. From strolling through Central Park to attending Broadway shows, exploring diverse neighborhoods, and experiencing the city’s unmatched energy, I found that New York City’s unique charm and character greatly enhanced my business school experience.”
GT Svanikier, Columbia Business School

Philadelphia Skyline at Sunset

Philadelphia: “Philly’s proximity and accessibility is perfect for how I want to build my life after business school. As a Maryland native, I appreciate that Philadelphia is between New York City and the Baltimore/Washington DC area, perfectly positioned for my career pursuits and my familial needs. We also have access to multiple airports that are useful for our famous Wharton travel excursions, over a dozen of which I have made domestically and internationally. Within the city, the cost of living is affordable and the transportation options run the gamut – including trains and trolleys, buses and bikes, rideshare or walking. Lastly, being around Rittenhouse Square and the surrounding areas allows fellow MBAs students to build a community within the city that students can lean into or step out of as desired.”
Zoddy Imoisili, Wharton School

Pittsburgh: “The city of bridges! My favorite thing to do is to take the Duquesne Incline up Mount Washington around sunset. You get such beautiful views of the city, bridges, stadiums, and the three rivers converging at Point State Park. Grab a cocktail and dinner at one of the restaurants at the top of the mountain and enjoy the city lights.”
Christopher Elston, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

San Diego: “San Diego is a top bio hub in the nation; it hosts some of the most prominent firms and startups in the life science industry. As someone who is looking to grow further in the space of venture capital and life sciences, it exposes me to great research ideas and opportunities within multiple domains of biotech and pharma. Also, given the strong reputation for UC San Diego Health, there are a lot of collaborative opportunities in this space.

Having studied and worked in the U.S. for over a decade, I would definitely rate San Diego as the most balanced and optimistic place I’ve been or lived in. The city has a place for every need, be it the beautiful landscapes or its rich historical heritage, or the enormous business opportunities that flourish thanks to the contributions of UC San Diego. The school brings in lot of innovative and creative minds together that contribute to San Diego’s culture and business communities. I look forward to staying in San Diego and experiencing its evolution.”
Gautham Chandrasekar, UC San Diego (Rady)

“I loved the vibrant culture, diverse activities, sunny weather, and friendly people in San Diego. The city offered a great balance between the laid-back beach lifestyle and the energetic urban scene. I enjoyed exploring the local food and craft beer scene, attending various cultural events, and taking advantage of the city’s outdoor activities, including hiking and surfing. The supportive community of the Knauss School and the overall friendly atmosphere of San Diego made my MBA experience even more enjoyable.”
Jorge Daniel Atuesta Pizano, University of San Diego (Knauss)

Fritzky Leadership Fellows Overlooking Seattle

Seattle: “Seattle is an amazing city all around. Having a great university in the middle of an incredibly dynamic city with an amazing natural landscape as your backdrop is hands-down a winning combination. You can start your day with a hike, go to an M&A class in the afternoon, and finish the day at a Startup Incubator demo day in the evening. And this is not theoretical I literally did this last quarter.

Seattle offers a business school with incredible access to talent and a cross-pollination of academia and industry. This is evidenced in many ways, but as a few examples, I can mention several full-time professors being advisors or involved in projects with the likes of Amazon and Twitter as well as adjunct professors with full-time jobs in these companies and startups alike. Access to guest speakers is also top-notch.”
José Mario Peña, University of Washington (Foster)

St. Louis: “As if gooey butter cake and Imo’s pizza are not reasons enough to love St. Louis, this fair city is rich in history, sports, music, and the arts. Nothing compares to Cardinals baseball on a sunny day or Blues hockey on a chilly winter evening. St. Louis is adventure waiting to happen, including visiting the Arch, snagging free seats at the Muny Amphitheater, strolling the history museum and botanical gardens, enjoying picnics in Turtle Park, and jogging Forest Park. The zoo is free and world-class. Within a short walk from campus is the Delmar Loop, which is alive with fun boutiques. There are bars, live music, and a varied smattering of delicious St. Louis food like toasted ravioli from Blueberry Hill and root beer from Fitz’s.

St. Louis was host to the 1904 World’s Fair and Olympic games, legendary remnants of which are proudly preserved on WashU’s campus today, including the wrought iron gate at Francis Olympic Field, where legendary sports greats paraded through and where our big bad WashU Bears compete today.”
Elizabeth “Elle” Berger, Washington University (Olin)

Singapore: “While NUS is not located right in the centre of Singapore, it was definitely well-connected. I spent my first year living on campus at NUS University Town (UTown) and the variety of food and activities – such as swimming, rock climbing and badminton – available within UTown alone made me not want to leave its confines. Even though I was staying on campus, I was able to explore a lot of the neighborhoods in Singapore as most areas were within an hour away on public transport. Singapore is probably the biggest hub in Southeast Asia and a melting pot for diverse cultures and a rich history. Cuisines from all over the world were easily accessible, even at hawker stalls and local grocery stores. I still felt some comforts of home despite being thousands of miles away.”
Ayla Francesca Reyes, National University of Singapore

Tempe: “Tempe is a college town, and I love the relatively young crowd of the city. I like Mill Avenue and all the great eateries and bars always full of college students. Tempe is quite accessible with good public transport facilities. However, what I love most about Tempe is its proximity to Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona. The airport is only a 25-minute drive from school, allowing me to catch a flight every other weekend and explore a new city! Being close to a metropolitan also means that many companies come on campus for events, making the professional networking experience very personal.”
Rishabh Kakkar, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Toronto skyline from the lake

Toronto: “I was born and raised in Toronto and have always been drawn to the sheer variety of experiences and activities that the city has to offer. During the summer months, you can head to the beaches of the Toronto Islands, cycle around the city, play whatever summer sport you enjoy the most, or kick back and relax with a cold drink on one of its thousands of patios. When winter rolls around, you can go skating at any of the 60 public outdoor skating rinks around the city, or take a short drive outside the city to ski or hike in the snow. As a self-proclaimed foodie, Toronto also has restaurants to satisfy any craving. As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with over 250 ethnicities represented, you can find amazing dishes from every corner of the globe. No matter what you are interested in, Toronto has something for everyone and you will never run out of things to do.”
Andrew Noskiewicz, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Washington, DC: “I loved the location of the school. The University of Maryland has a sprawling campus and is home to some fine restaurants across town. The school has a strong mascot tradition, and the entire town comes together to celebrate during school games. The proximity of the business school to DC and Virginia is something that helped me unwind during the weekends. DC is a vibrant city filled with culture and heritage, and it was so easy for me to catch up with my friends from other business schools in the DMV area over brunch. The hiking trails in Virginia are unparalleled and offer breathtaking views throughout all four seasons.”
Aakash Srinivasan, University of Maryland (Smith)

“Washington, D.C. is a destination; all things lead to it. You can enjoy everything from good restaurants scene to vibrant nightlife, and the best of it all…the museums and monuments. A regular day can involve walking to the Lincoln Memorial, then strolling down the National Mall and visiting a couple of Smithsonian Museums. From there you could have a nice meal at Le Diplomate and end the night in DuPont or U Street bars. It’s the best of all worlds, in my opinion.”
Kanokbhorn (KK) Saha, Georgetown University (McDonough)





Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.