MBA students pay thousands to network and party at ‘Yacht Week’

  • MBA students flock to Yacht Week every summer to party and hobnob with prospective employers and colleagues.
  • In the year Since its inception in 2007, the annual event has grown exponentially and now hosts hundreds of attendees.
  • The trip doesn’t come cheap at over $1,000 for the boat experience, not including airfare, food or drinks.

Amidst the lavish cocktail parties and industrial shacks, another luxury networking experience for top MBA students is quickly emerging as the travel event of the year: Yacht Week.

Students from the country’s top business schools are flocking to Croatia every summer to party and relax with future employers and colleagues as they sail across the Adriatic Sea, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Yacht Week was created in 2006 by the Swedish company Day 8 AB and has been growing every year since then, according to its website. Today, it hosts more than 500 MBA students — mostly from top-tier American programs at schools like Harvard, Duke, Dartmouth, and Northwestern — on week-long trips every summer.

While the traditional route starts in Trogir and ends in Split, students can choose more expensive routes in Greece, Turkey or French Polynesia and other coasts. The original Croatia itinerary costs between $566 and $1,000 per person, depending on the week, and does not include airfare, meals, or drinks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, catering to these business students has grown into big business – from 2007 to 2022, the number of ships went from 95 in total to less than 1,000 in 2022.

“The girlfriends I went with on the trip said maybe we’ll be co-founders one day,” said Hannah Bay, a student at Dartmouth Tech’s business school. I know we will be successful no matter what.

Yacht Week typically involves a serious party, with the boats often moored in a circle to create a space for attendees to drink cocktails and spend the night on the floats while boarding with students on other boats. The average age of a yachtsman is between 21 and 40 years old, the WSJ reports.

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In the year A 2015 review of Yacht Week in GQ described the event and its parties as “fussy” and described the attendees as mostly wealthy.

“Almost everyone is handsome, single, uninhibited and bottle-service rich,” wrote GQ’s Stuart McGurk. “They’ve appeared on several reality-TV shows. It’s the only holiday you can go on, with two staff photographers taking pictures of everything you, the hard-partying customer, always get up to.”

It’s uncertain whether the week-long party will translate into jobs for these students, but regardless, the attendees are clearly having a good time and at least believe it’s possible to make meaningful connections.

“Someone from Yacht Week is going to be an important part of my life one day,” Jaron Wright, a Harvard MBA student, told the WSJ.

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