MBA students pay thousands for networking and parties at ‘Yacht Week’

  • MBA students flock to Yachting Week each summer to meet and hang out with potential future employers and colleagues.
  • Since its inception in 2007, the annual event has grown significantly and now hosts hundreds of attendees.
  • The trip isn’t cheap, with the yachting experience itself costing up to $1,000, not including airfare, food or drinks.

Among lavish cocktail parties and industry evenings, another lavish social experience for elite MBA students is fast becoming an annual hit: Yachting Week.

Every summer, students from the country’s top business schools flock to Croatia to meet and hang out with potential future employers and colleagues while sailing across the Adriatic, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to its website, Yachting Week was founded by Swedish company Day 8 AB in 2006 and has continued to grow every year since. Today, it hosts more than 500 MBA students—often from top U.S. programs like Harvard, Duke, Dartmouth, and Northwestern—for week-long trips each summer.

While its traditional route starts in Trogir and culminates in Split, students can also opt for a more expensive route that circles the coasts of Greece, Turkey or French Polynesia. The original Croatia route costs between $566 and nearly $1,000 per person, depending on the number of weeks, excluding airfare, food and beverages.

Hosting these business students has expanded to large corporations — the number of yachts increased from 95 from 2007 to 2022 to less than 1,000 by 2022, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“My girlfriend and I travel with, and maybe one day we’ll be co-founders,” Hannah Bae, a student at Dartmouth’s Stark School of Business, told the Wall Street Journal. “I know we’re going to be successful no matter what.”

Yachting weeks typically include a lot of parties, with boats often docked in a circle to create an area where participants can sip cocktails and lounge on the floats while frolic with students on other boats. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average age at Yachting Week is between 21 and 40.

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A review at GQ Yachting Week 2015 called the event and its parties “ratty” and that its attendees were mostly wealthy.

“Almost everyone is beautiful, single, bohemian, rich,” wrote GQ’s Stuart McGurk. “A couple of people have been on reality TV. I’ve found that it’s the only vacation you can go on that includes two on-staff photographers taking pictures of everything you’re a fanatical party customer at all times.

It remains uncertain whether the week-long gathering actually brought work to these students, but in any case, it was clear that the attendees had a good time and at least believed that meaningful connections were possible.

“Someday someone at Yachting Week is going to be a very important part of my life,” Harvard MBA student Jaron Wright told the Wall Street Journal. “I have a feeling it’s going to happen.”

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