Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frugal MBA Students

From what I write most of the time you'd think that all MBA students were reckless spendthrifts drowning in debt.  Many days it does feel that way, but after almost a full school year I've definitely met a few other frugal students.  Here are some of their tell tale signs:
  • Biking in to campus
  • Bringing a packed lunch or snacks
  • Making or packing tea/coffee in a thermos
  • No designer bags or clothes
  • Avoiding events with $50+ tickets
  • Living off campus for cheaper rent and having roommates
  • Staying home on the weekends - no international plane tickets
Though I paint MBA students with a broad brush, the emails I get and my own experience here clearly indicates there are exceptions and there is a range of spending levels.  I get emails asking which schools give the most aid or if it's worth it to turn down a top school for a second tier with a full ride.  Here I've met a student who worked in the public/non-profit sector in a low cost of living are before starting the MBA program. His kids are on food stamps while he's in school and he's living in a blue collar neighborhood far from campus for its quality schools and low rent in order to keep the MBA as affordable as possible. 

I just wanted to make sure that it's clear the I'm often making broad generalizations which might be true for MBA culture and community in general, it is far from true for every individual.  So if you're a frugal person or worried about debt coming in to an MBA program, yes, it will be hard.  However, you're not alone and won't be.  Like any community there are plenty of different people and you're bound to find someone who shares values similar to your own.

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  1. I believe in being frugal and making good financial choices but how is it a good financial choice to go to school and put your kids on food stamps? Maybe I am really out of touch but I would think that maybe getting a part-time job might be a better solution than food stamps.

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