Students of Top MBA Programmes Spend $21,000 to Travel; Israel, Japan, and Colombia are the Most Popular Destinations

MBA Blog / 3rd May 2019

Using data from trips organised by MBA students on its platform since 2015, WeTravel released three key statistics on the travel behaviour of MBA students from top US schools.

MBA trips can be divided into two categories: (a) career-focused group travel; e.g. a 35-person trip organised by MBA Technology Club to the Bay Area to visit tech companies; (b) socially-focused group travel; e.g. a 100-student trip to Cancun, Mexico to celebrate graduation.

Originally starting in 2015 as a platform for MBA students at UC Berkeley to organise socially-focused trips, WeTravel has since evolved to become a booking software for multi-day, small tour operators. However, it remains popular among MBA students, especially those from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, and NYU. Analysing the aggregated data from hundreds of MBA trips on WeTravel in 2018 and interviews with 30 student trip leaders, the WeTravel team identified three main findings:

(1) An MBA student at a top US school spends $21,295 over a two-year period for socially-focused group travel.

There are five times throughout the school year when these group trips usually happen: before the programme starts (pre-MBA), winter break, spring break, summer break (between first and second year), and graduation. Additionally, students also go on three long weekend trips with smaller groups throughout the year. A trip can be as large as 250 people at almost $4000 per person, including airfare.

 

 Group size 

 Duration (days) 

 Average cost 

 2-year cost 

Pre-MBA (1x)

10-250

8

$3,898.61

$3,898.61

Winter break (2x)

15-50

7

$2,728.69

$5,457.38

Spring break (2x)

20-180

9

$2,849.42

$5,698.84

Summer break (1x)

5-20

7

$2,515.78

$2,515.78

Graduation (1x)

10-250

4

$950.38

$950.38

Long weekends (6x)

4-15

3

$462.50

$2,775.00

       

 $21,295.99

(2) JapanIsraelColombia are the most popular destinations for MBAs; MoroccoPuerto Rico are on the rise.

International travel is very common in top US business schools. Students who come from overseas usually lead trips to their home countries. Trips to Japan and Israel are annual traditions in many schools, while Colombia is popular due to its warm weather and lively atmosphere. Over the past few years an increasing number of students have also started travelling to Morocco and Puerto Rico. In the US, New York CitySan Francisco, and Las Vegas are the most popular destinations.

(3) On average, an MBA trip leader uses seven planning tools to manage a group trip.

For every aspect of trip planning (registration, payment collection, organisation, and communication), there are a number of tools available to an MBA trip leader. Because there is no single tool that covers all aspects, trip leaders use an average of seven planning tools. Google products (email, spreadsheet, forms) and WeTravel are included in the Top 3 most popular tools in three out of four trip-planning aspects.

MBA students see their travel behaviour and spending as a business opportunity. In recent years, a few MBA-founded travel companies were launched to capture this market, such as Modo Travel from Chicago Booth and Bschool Travel from Michigan Ross. Zaky Prabowo, CMO/co-founder of WeTravel, explained this trend, “MBA students want travel companies that can create personalised, custom-made trips and they have group buying power to ask for the best travel experience. After all, nobody knows how to serve MBA students better than former MBA students themselves.”

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