If you don't shell out the necessary cash for these extracurricular bonding activities, you might as well flush your $100k in tuition down the toilet.
It can start with a visit to a secluded island off Colombia, like the sojourn that more than half of Stanford's incoming MBAs spent last August. Or a weekslong trek in Australia and New Zealand, another in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, a foray to Thailand’s bays, and a stop in Munich for Oktoberfest—excursions taken this academic year by students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Plus countless ski trips—to resorts in Park City, Utah, Aspen, Colorado, and Lake Tahoe—that draw students for a weekend off, or more, from their studies at elite MBA programs across the country. Travel to far-flung destinations and to swanky enclaves closer to home has become a hallmark of elite U.S. business schools, where the point of two years on campus can seem to be to spend as much time away from campus as possible. The better the school, apparently, the higher the premium on travel and fun: Students at top-tier business schools spend thousands of dollars each year on discretionary expenses and tend to spend considerably more than their peers at lower-ranked schools, according to Bloomberg Businessweek data.
But fear not re: the costs. This is an investment in your future.
The trips pay off over time, some say. “This group of people that I'm in school with right now, in 10 years are going to be the next CEOs,” says Phuong Nguyen, a second-year student at HBS who has traveled to Israel, among other places, with her fellow MBA candidates. The trips can cost up to $3,000, not including airfare, she says, but that's nothing compared with the benefits of putting in time with people who could aid her career climb. “It’s investing in more than just knowing the names, but knowing the story behind them.”