The Most Popular Traditions At Top Business Schools

MBAs in sub fusc beneath the Hertford Bridge

Tailgating for Ohio State Football Games: “I have never felt such an energy before. We would meet for tailgating on campus or friends’ houses, and would walk to the game together. As you get closer to the shoe, there is just a massive cloud of scarlet and gray ahead of you. You’re instantly surrounded by thousands of people who chant together the entire time. It is an amazing feeling that is hard to describe in words, but it is definitely some of my favorite memories from business school.”
Ana Carolina Sousa, Ohio State (Fisher)


Matriculation Ceremony: “The matriculation ceremony is definitely one of those ‘only at Oxford’ traditions whose memories last a lifetime. Like every other Oxford undergraduate and graduate degree, the MBA cohort was formally enrolled into the University of Oxford through a matriculation ceremony held at the Sheldonian Theatre back in mid-October. Attending the event wearing sub fusc (Latin Oxford term used to describe one’s specific dark outfit wrapped in an academic gown) with my college Christ Church, the Vice-Chancellor welcomed us in Latin to celebrate our admission to the university, and encouraged us to make the most of our time in this exceptional place. The whole day felt really special as all Oxford freshers were in town, celebrating with friends, family, and their college community. Taking the matriculation class picture in Christ Church Masters Garden ahead of the formal ceremony felt equally special, as members of Christ Church were brought together as an academic community across disciplines and seniority for the very first time. Speaking of community, learning that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web and first web browser, is also a member of Christ Church as a computer science professor, was particularly inspirational.”
Benoit Dubief, University of Oxford (Saïd)


Partio: “Business has the wonderful tradition of “Partio”, short for Party on the Patio, every Thursday evening. Each partio has a theme, and we celebrate a diverse range of holidays and nationalities. It reflects Rice’s commitment to fostering a close business school community and taking time to celebrate the wins of its students, whether it’s passing an exam, winning a case competition, or getting an internship or job offer. It’s a way for students and faculty to connect outside of the classroom in a fun and social setting.”
Taylor Anne Adams, Rice University (Jones)


Sailing Weekend: “During these trips, students together with professors go to Lerici (in Liguria) to spend three days of sailing, socializing, and having fun. I loved this event (that I personally contributed to organise) because there were not only people from our class, but also from previous classes and professors. Italy represents freedom and traditions, it’s the perfect formula between hard working and enjoying life. During that weekend, you could have clearly seen that people were living their best life sailing the sea, with no boundaries and no limits, in a place where you are free end you are feeling empowered.”
Mattia Quaresmini, SDA Bocconi


International Night: “International Night was so much fun. Hundreds of my classmates came together to learn about each other’s history and share cultural traditions in dance, food, art, and more. I was able to make a paper crane with my classmates from Japan, try Sri Lankan treats, and listen to the Mariachi Paredes de la Universidad de Texas. This is exactly what I love about McCombs: friendly, down-to-earth students investing time and energy into creating great experiences for everyone!”
Alexis Greco, University of Texas (McCombs)


Brisket Bowl: “Every year, our program office and MBA Association host an event called “Brisket Bowl”. Prior graduates and friends of the program are invited to attend, and the main event is a brisket judging competition. As a self-proclaimed barbeque aficionado, I love this event. The bond between Aggies is indeed something special, so the camaraderie and casual networking opportunity this event provides each year is something I have really enjoyed. I was actually able to contribute a brisket to the competition last year and look forward to attending the next one.”
Andrew Kazlow, Texas A&M (Mays)


Haas Drag Race: “Our LGBTQ+ affinity organization on campus, Q@Haas, puts together an event that celebrates drag with performances by students. Regardless of sex, gender identity, and sexual preference, peers provide a space where we can learn about queer history and the art of drag before performing. This type of event is emblematic of the importance of sharing underrepresented perspectives and truths here at Haas. Last year, over 50 students performed and over 150 people attended the event, which means over a third of the school took an active role in celebrating inclusivity!”
Charlie Yates, UC Berkeley (Haas)


GSM Connections: “Every week, the Graduate School of Management (GSM) hosts a “GSM Connections” get-together during lunch hour. These events are co-organized by GSM staff and students to create a bonding and networking environment between the first- and second-year MBA cohorts, and the Master of Professional Accountancy students. It is a great opportunity to get to know students in another cohort or program, learn about their graduate school experience and share common insights and frustrations. I often find myself meeting new colleagues every week and bonding over stories of coffee-fueled late night project meetings and exam prep. Students come together in the Gallagher Hall lobby, along with faculty and staff, all talking, eating, laughing and exchanging memorable project stories and contact info. This “connection” gathering every week demonstrates the importance of community that is the pillar of the GSM. This weekly gathering fosters a feeling of support and fellowship that is quintessential to the GSM that defines our graduate school experience.”
Meijia (Mika) Shang, UC Davis


Embracing Diversity Week (EDW): “This is Anderson’s flagship event celebrating the diversity of our community and encouraging discussion about the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) between current students, prospective students, alumni, and the greater public. The week features seven signature events, the annual Identity Food Festival, and the Embracing Diversity Conference, a two-day event for diverse applicants to gain insight into the admissions process and engage with the Anderson community.

This year, I had the privilege of leading the planning of EDW in my role as ASA VP of EDI, and I am even more inspired by the broad range of ideas, perspectives, and conversations that the week facilitates. Many business school events are limited to one or two of these audiences, but EDW demonstrates Anderson’s broad commitment to EDI by creating dynamic spaces for connection and conversation among all of these groups. EDW not only provides a place for everyone during the week, but also encourages further conversations surrounding EDI all year round.”
Amara Barakat, UCLA (Anderson)


100 Days Celebration: “This is a tough one because there are so many traditions I love at Marshall. My favorite would have to be the 100 Days Celebration that happens during the 2nd year of business school, 100 days before we graduate. For the event, everyone dresses up in formal attire to enjoy a nice evening catered by the school. What’s cool is that the programming of the event is entirely student-run. In it, there is a student roast, in which the funniest members of our class write a roast about everyone in our class. I, of course, got roasted (being president definitely makes for some easy material). Truly, in the spirit of inclusivity, no one in our class was left out of the roast. My friends and I were crying from laughing so hard. The student committee also created videos, including a “mean tweets” segment where they had some of our favorite professors read student reviews about their classes. I absolutely loved 100 days because the event was such a good display of the creativity and passion in our community that you don’t often get to see in the classroom or in a professional environment.”
Olivia Glick, USC (Marshall)


Humans of Owen: “This event is modeled after the Humans of New York blog, where various students share stories in response to a theme or prompt. I love this event because it is an opportunity to deeply connect with classmates and hear parts of their stories that may not be shared in a typical classroom setting. I have learned stories or hardships from my classmates that I may not have ever learned if it wasn’t for this forum. For me, this series is the epitome of Owen’s tight-knit community. Showing up for one another and creating deep, interpersonal relationships is a hallmark of being an Owen student, and this tradition helps underscore that mission.”
Alyssa Patel, Vanderbilt University (Owen)


Darden Cup: “This is when each Darden section competes for sports, trivia and talent show glory. The stakes are high and everyone is incredibly engaged. However, once the events end, everyone comes together to drink a beer, share a laugh, and just have fun. I think it reflects Darden’s tremendous drive for excellence, but also its shared sense of community.”
Ryan Spencer Cox, University of Virginia (Darden)

Darden Charity Auction: “Every year, Darden hosts a charity auction for Building Goodness in April, a student-run organization that works to renovate and improve the homes of low-income families across Charlottesville. Each section chooses a theme, and students and professors offer items and experiences for all to bid on. In addition to supporting an excellent cause, the BGiA auction is an amazing community-building experience—what better way to bond with your classmates than over axe-throwing and bourbon-tasting at a professor’s house?”
Megan Huntsinger, University of Virginia (Darden)


Half-Baked Pitch Night: “My favorite event was our quarterly Half-Baked Pitch Night, hosted by the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. Each quarter, 4-6 students would pitch a “half-baked” idea to a crowd of fellow students, whether an actual company they were starting or a slightly hare-brained concept that riffed on the basic tenets of a startup pitch deck. The events were always an amazing opportunity to connect between classes of first and second years, as well as between full-time and evening students. No matter how serious the pitch was as a business concept, every pitch was an opportunity to practice dynamic public speaking, holding the crowd’s attention while pitching and defending your idea. It was always so rewarding to see students come together, and we drew quite a crowd as the event’s reputation grew!”
Catherine Sandstrom, University of Washington (Foster)

Challenge For Charity (C4C): “Foster participates in the annual C4C competition along with seven other West Coast Business Schools. This non-profit organization’s challenge consists in competing for the highest amount of volunteering hours donated and funds raised to charitable organizations. The effort is led by our very own classmates who, as part of the C4C Foster board, organize events and opportunities for the general student population to donate their time and raise money. The organizations that receive support are many, but some examples are our local food bank, Washington Special Olympics, reforestation efforts, diversity outreach, and many more.

We have won the last few years and I like how this reflects the type of student that Foster caters to, a socially conscious business leader that believes her actions can have a big impact on our world.”
José Mario Peña, University of Washington (Foster)


Fight Night: “Penn Fight Night (PFN) is an annual black-tie boxing gala fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia that brings together 3,000+ students from twelve Penn graduate schools. Proceeds from the fundraiser are donated directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia for their Literacy Initiative program. Last year, we donated a record amount of $175,000, selling 1,000 tickets in under 50 minutes and doubling our ticket sales record. In 2022, I worked on the operations team to help with the biggest event ever. I resumed this role again for Fight Night in April 2023. Penn Fight Night is the largest philanthropic event at Penn, combining a thrilling show while making a significant impact in the local Philadelphia community. I think it shows the scrappiness and the hustle of the Wharton and broader Penn community. We certainly bring to fruition the business in the front party in the back mentality while lifting the surrounding community.”
Dempsey J. Simonis, Wharton School


Voices: “My favorite SOM tradition is Voices, typically held every Monday evening. Three people a week provide a short personal narrative that’s shaped them. It’s such a wonderful way to learn not just more about the person, but also learn from them. While traditionally students speak, professors and partners also participate. It’s a special experience.”
Allison Lyons, Yale School of Management

Internship Fund: “The Internship Fund, an SOM tradition to financially support classmates who are interning for nonprofit organizations, is my favorite tradition! Through a series of engaging fundraising events throughout the year, classmates ensure that students who want to work in the public sector can do so without financial constraints. One of the events that raises money for the Internship Fund is Star Search, a talent show where students and faculty showcase their gifts. I’ve never been more proud or in awe of my community than when watching faculty do backflips, friends presenting intricate traditional South Indian dances and classmates performing standup on stage in support of their fellow SOM-ers.”
Raafeh Shahid, Yale School of Management









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