Partying, eating, and living well may be as much a part of the business school experience as going to class, and the Financial Times’ second alternative MBA survey suggests as much. The study, which involved more than 1,860 participants from around the world, asked alumni from the MBA Class of 2011 to share their opinions of the social scene, dining options, and accommodations available at their alma maters.
The results may surprise you. A full 74% of respondents found their school’s social environment to their liking, with such U.S. institutions as NYU Stern and the Wisconsin School of Business standing out in particular—though INSEAD in France and Singapore also won plaudits for its party atmosphere. Meanwhile, two schools received particularly high praise in the category of best on-campus clubs: Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the University of Strathclyde Business School. The quieter side of socializing also got the nod from 60% of alumni, who lauded the refined offerings in their schools’ neighborhoods, namely museums, galleries, musical performances, and bookstores.
Networking was another positive topic in the survey; indeed, approximately 50% of those queried commended their schools in this area, and many of those considered the best for networking are U.S. programs, including Columbia Business School (rated number one), Northwestern Kellogg, and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
From a culinary standpoint, European programs such as IMD in Switzerland, the European School of Management and Technology in Germany, and SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy received props from graduates. And as for accommodations, approximately one-half of the alumni surveyed felt their lodging was a positive factor of their MBA experience—with The Lisbon MBA in Portugal receiving the highest praise.