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 is a full-time instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and he loves preparing GRE students for Test Day. The classroom is Lucas’ arena. When he cannot be found in one of Kaplan’s cage matches of learning, he is very likely dancing around DePaul University’s College of Commerce/Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago professing various courses offered by the Department of Management, up to and including monikers such as: “Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship Strategy,” “Strategic Managements and Analysis,” “Human Resource Management,” “Recruitment and Selection,” and “Foundations of Business Thought and Theory.” (Although that last one was cancelled just before the quarter started and he’s still not gotten over it.) Lucas spent most of his formative years in North Carolina, but hit the long road as soon as he was able. A world traveler with a currently expired passport, he has lived on and wandered around three continents with the expressed intention of finishing the job. He holds a BFA with a concentration in sculpture as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. When not challenging standardized tests to a duel or wondering how to corrupt the business students of America, Lucas can be found brewing delicious beers, riding-then-fixing-then-riding his motorcycle, hanging out with dogs, pretending he’s a good cook, and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have such a fantastic wife and endlessly amazing young son. He’s in Milwaukee now, but is in Chicago often. Email him anytime about anything at:

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