Give Aspiring MBAs What They Want This Season

December 11, 2012
Lucas Weingarten


Bloomberg Businessweek posted an article that reaches beyond the superficial issues tangentially relevant to the aspirant MBA.

The article gets straight to the most timely and crucial concern at the forefront of any prospective b-schooler’s mind as well as their closest friends and family: holiday gifts.  Whether you need ideas for giving or receiving, Bloomberg’s survey of students, professors, and administrators at our nation’s top schools is sure to provide sage advice that will bring ear-to-ear smiles of gratitude this season.

Conveniently, the write-up is broken down into categories: technology, travel, fashion, rest & relaxation, and stocking stuffers and more.  Here, we highlight a few of the best ideas then offer up some more of our own.  At the end, let us know what missed the list!!

From the article:

  • PowerPoint remote.  This simple device future students can use in their upcoming and at times seemingly endless number of business school presentations makes all the difference in the world.  The presenter is not tethered to the keyboard or mouse and can focus more on conveying information that catches the attention of the audience, professors included.  Clickers take a presentation to the next level and students who use them will be the envy of their peers.
  • Plane tickets or vouchers.  Students are poor or at least poorer than they would be if they were working instead of going to school, and travel costs are always high.  Ask for or give money toward airfare even if a trip is not currently on the radar.
  • 3-hour Four Seasons spa package.  Because… why not?

From Kaplan GMAT:

  • Test-prep help.  This gift can come in a couple of different forms.  One of the most effective and least expensive ways to help a future MBA beat the GMAT is a simple promise of support.  The GMAT demandstime.  Write it down (or ask for a card): vow to make sacrifices that will help a test-prepper eek out solid study time.Financial help toward GMAT test prep classes is a gift that can yield huge impact.  A lot of us want to make others’ dreams come true during the holidays, and help getting admitted to a top choice program is a way to wield some real holiday magic.
  • A new suit.  Even for those that already have several, a new suit makes everyone feel great.  Feeling great helps ease interview and presentation nerves—two things MBAs will know all too much about.
  • IOU textbooks.  It may have been awhile since you bought a textbook from a university bookstore and even though you might remember they were expensive, trust that prices have only risen.  When staring down the barrel of a $195 accounting tome, a shot of some cellared holiday cheer will be most welcome.
  • Interest.  Let’s finish out with another free gift that keeps on giving.  The road to business school can be lonely and daunting.  A reliable soundboard that truly cares about navigating the twist and turns as a co-pilot can be a tremendous gift to individuals seeking an MBA.  It may sound corny, but sincere interest can be the best gift ever.   Pledge to be there as a shoulder to lean on during the ups and downs of preparation road.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten teaches students how to beat the GMAT, GRE, and LSAT for Kaplan Test Prep and is proud to have earned “elite instructor” status. Lucas writes extensively for Kaplan’s GMAT blog, and in addition to the GMAT and business school as primary subject matter, he regularly explores topics within higher education, economic systems, sustainability, and current events. Lucas spent his formative years in North Carolina and currently resides in Milwaukee, WI, though he has not yet found the part of the world wherein to bury his roots. He has an MBA with a dual concentration in entrepreneurship and finance from DePaul University in Chicago and is fortunate to have secured an adjunct teaching position there out of the department of management. Family, friends, and a seemingly endless stream of new hobbies keep Lucas busy and happy outside of the classroom. You can reach out any time by email ( or through the comments thread after his blog posts.

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