The turkey at Friedman Thanksgiving seemed a bit drier this year without it’s good friend, red wine. Many of you have probably noticed the lack of alcohol at Friedman-sponsored events in recent months. You might have also noticed that these school events seem to run shorter than they used to, people seem less willing to mingle, and attendance rates have dropped. The disappearance of alcohol as a social tool may be the underlying reason for an increase in the lackluster of our events.
Let me begin by saying that this is not an article about poor graduate students trying to squeeze every drop of free booze possible out of our tuition. And though I could harp on the health benefits of small doses of alcohol, or the fact that moderate drinking is associated with decreased levels of obesity and stress—and we could all use some de-stressing—this is not the purpose of this article either. Rather, it’s about maximizing both the social and the educational benefits of our experience at Friedman, making connections, and getting hired.
We are all here to learn something about nutrition. But if any of you are familiar with how business school works, you know that education is not the sole purpose of graduate school. Just go to any B-school event, or even just across Boston to the Fletcher School, where wine flows freely and grades are equally important as networking. Yes, people are there to learn, but also to forge friendships, build business networks, and learn from each other’s career paths. In a fragile economic environment where graduate school often becomes a vacation from the poor job market, Master’s degrees are a dime a dozen. So what helps us distinguish ourselves as graduation creeps ever closer, and the job search looms? As corny as it sounds, it’s each other.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 70 percent of jobs today are found through networking. SEVENTY PERCENT. Without the social and networking benefit gained from mingling with each other, we are truly missing out on one of the principle advantages of our graduate experience. You may be thinking that this does not have to be directly related to alcohol. But think again—some of the most creative thinking does not occur in boardrooms or classrooms, but over a glass of wine with smart, like-minded colleagues. With classmates dispersed around the radius of our urban campus, it’s much harder to foster a social student life and build upon each other’s networks. Let’s not remove the social from the Friedman School, for the sake of our careers and our social lives. But rather, let’s foster an environment where school and business can be happy bedfellows, and good cheer brings us back together again.
Want to comment on this op-ed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below. To contribute an op-ed piece, email the Editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.