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The Teetotaler's MBA

Upon completing our first MBA year this past Monday, celebrations were certainly in order. After we submitted our Innovator final at 7:30 p.m., we all proceeded to eat, drink and make merry….

OK OK, you got me. The more accurate version of the story—at least, in my case—is that I ate, drank (mango lassi, that is) and… merrily made my way to the long neglected friend that is my bed.

As I reflect upon the past 10 months, I find that I have no dearth of insights to share—and will hopefully do so during the summer. For example, one of my most salient realizations is that, to my relief and despite business school stereotypes, there is plenty of fun to be had for those of us who don’t drink. In fact, my classmates’ creative capacity for fun on a daily basis, with or without alcohol, is tremendous, and it’s one of my favorite aspects of SOM. I thought I’d share some highlights below.

In April, the Arts and Culture club hosted the spring coffeehouse, during which my peers shared a dazzling array of talents, ranging from doodling to acting. In the midst of the madness that is recruiting, the evening was a refreshing reminder that we are multi-dimensional people with creative and worthwhile skills completely independent of Excel and PowerPoint. My personal favorite of the evening? The inaugural performance of SOM’s female a cappella group, dubbed “What a Pitch.”

Photo courtesy of Alina Vorobeitchik, Class of 2014 

Last week, to wrap up a year of competitive inter-cohort events, our creative cohort representatives organized the first ever end-of-year Cohort Olympics, featuring an egg toss, a wheelbarrow race and tug of war, among other serious athletic contests, of course.

Photo courtesy of Alina Vorobeitchik, Class of 2014

That same night marked the evening of our Kentucky Derby-themed spring formal. A group of us decided that in addition to going to the derby, we would have the derby come to us… in the basement of my apartment building.

Even outside of these special events, however, I have really come to appreciate my peers’ flair for infusing fun into our day-to-day. In making a case presentation on Hearst’s digital media strategy, for example, my teammate unveiled this opening slide, which gave the rest of us a much-appreciated laugh during 8:30 a.m. class.

Image courtesy of Neil Carr, Class of 2014

All that’s to say, my initial fear about the social implications of not drinking turned out to be largely unfounded. For this, I have my classmates to thank—a community of trend-bucking, good-humored and imaginative MBAs who innovate both inside and outside of the classroom.