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Money Attitudes at Business School

Before I got to school, I was curious about what my classmates’ attitudes toward personal finance would be. Now that I’ve been here for  few weeks, I’ve noticed that money-related tidbits slip into everyday conversation, and many times I’m pleasantly surprised by how financially-conscious my business school classmates are.

It’s easy to paint a picture of MBA students as people who spend recklessly or who party it up in exotic locales, but everyone I’ve talked to have been very down-to-earth. After all, most of us have worked for several years before we gave up our salaries to go back to school – we know the value of a dollar and we understand compounding interest and student loans. There are folks who are sponsored by their company or have full-tuition scholarships, but these folks commiserate with us all the same about the opportunity cost of attending school.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone has the same lifestyle requirements or after-MBA compensation expectations. But I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t worry about money because they are going to make millions on Wall Street after graduation (though statistically, a good percentage of them will!).

Instead, I’ve heard several classmates talk about choosing to rent somewhere because it’s more “value for the dollar” or wanting to “minimize their loans” or trying to be “financially prudent without sacrificing a social life.” A few students have even made real estate purchases near the school (the rent-to-buy ratio is pretty favorable in the area) so that they can generate rental income after graduation. Many students have goals of going into the nonprofit/social entrepreneurship sectors or figuring out a way to “do well and do good” at the same time. All this fiscal responsibility and social awareness make this secret personal finance blogger very proud of her classmates.

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive - I've often wondered how cool it would be to be surrounded with friends that were financially savvy. Most of my friends really don't know the first thing about investing or being frugal. I always feel like an outcast, so it's pretty neat to be surrounded by people with like minds. ReplyCancel

  • belowhermeans - So awesome. Frugal + education = sexy! ReplyCancel

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More - I guess it is very different from undergrad. Some people spend crazy amounts of money in undergrad but masters students do know the value of a dollar if they quit work to return to school. Must be a very different atmosphere. ReplyCancel

  • My Money Design - I remember getting the same cross-eyed treatment when I was in my MBA program. Some of the classmates were douches. But I was surprised to learn that most were pretty cool. It just goes to show you can't judge people on the surface! ReplyCancel

  • fabulouslyfrugirl - This is such great news!

    I was initially a bit worried about BF going to do his MBA since I wasn't sure of how his classmates would view the value of a dollar (I also assumed many of them would be well-off and be jet setting to exotic destinations every other weekend), but it makes sense that there would be many like-minded individuals as well. Thanks so much for sharing! ReplyCancel

  • Ornella@Moneylicious - I would hope one who is getting an MBA does have some financially savvy-ness! It sounds like there is a great synergy among your classmates. I'm sure you could learn from them,too! :-) ReplyCancel

  • William@DropDead$$$ - So… what did you decide? :) ReplyCancel

  • @momoneymohouses - That's awesome and good to hear! ReplyCancel

  • 100wordson - It never occurred to me when starting my MBA program that I'd be going to school with anyone who was going to party it up in exotic locales, but that may have been because I was only looking at programs that would work for a working adult. In fact, the one I went to (not at any kind of prestige school) was 100% geared toward working adults. There were no daytime weekday classes. About 90% of my classmates were like me- working full time and attending school full time. Most of us were looking to be able to move forward with our current companies, or at least in the same fields. No one, not even those whose companies were footing the bill, was taking the costs for granted. ReplyCancel

  • Janine - Welcome to business school! It’s great that you have found so many people that have a similar mind set. That’s one of the things I love most about business school, the financially-savvy!!!! ReplyCancel

  • Jordann - That's really good to hear and the total opposite of my experience in my business undergrad. ReplyCancel

  • seedebtrun - i wonder if perhaps your peers are all living frugally because they are broke!
    grad school is rather pricey these days.. maybe there isn't much play money left..

    jefferson ReplyCancel

  • Cait - All of my friends with BCom's and MBA's seem to be financially conscious. And they are some of the best savers I know! Enjoy the good company :) ReplyCancel

  • misterstress - That is very encouraging news. Especially considering how much debt young people rack up. ReplyCancel

  • Tie the Money Knot - When I was in B-school, it was very refreshing to be around people who seemed to think in a money-oriented way, while not being annoying about it either. Basically, smart people who generally speaking understood the value of money. Not to say that some weren't a bit obsessed with traveling to far flung places, because that did seem to be a trait of B-school students. However, most weren't into flashy cars or excess, at least at that time. It's nice to read that things are reasonable today too! ReplyCancel

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