It definitely does not matter what kind of car you have in business school. In fact, it never matters what kind of car you are driving! Consider this one of your first lessons in financial management. A car is a depreciating investment. My tip for buying a car. Buy something cheap, used, reliable, cheap to insure and pay in cash. No loans, no lease, nothing but cash. In fact, you might want to just invest in a bus pass to get around campus. You'll be moving after two years and a car is one less thing to worry about.
Well that's just not true. You can look at it from an economical standpoint or practical or what you want. Does it matter what laptop you have? Sure it does. Will it be fast enough to run the applications that are out today? Can you carry it around? Is it reliable? Same with a car. We have different needs and wants. If you follow this advice, you would always buy a Toyota Corolla that is 3 years old with less than 50k miles on it. But hey, the economics can work out in a variety of ways. You can buy a brand new one and get the extra use out of it from not having bought used. Because those miles not on odometer are worth something because it is more driving for you. And with all car manufacturers going with certified pre-owned programs and the uncertainty of buying from a private party, you can sometimes come out ahead by buying a new car as well if you know what you are doing and when to buy. Hint: March, November, December.
For example, here is a simple example. I bought a brand new car this year at $18k. I made sure to find every incentive and average discount. I got the lowest model on a sedan. A used car, same model, 3 years older, listed at $14k with 45,000 miles at the same dealer too. Is a new car, that I can drive an extra 45k miles work that difference of $4k? If I went with used I would essentially say that I am ok giving up those 45k miles for $11.25 a mile. That doesn't seem to add up. used cars are more profitable than new cars. New cars sell so low because dealers care about # of cars sold because of kickbacks from the manufacturers. Used cars is where the real money hides. A dealer is more willing to take a loss on a new car and will rarely take a loss on a used car.
Cars are depreciating assets. This is true. But do we look at everything in life that way? We want a shiny new car, we want new clothes, a new watch, a new TV. All these things depreciate. Should we buy everything used? Should we let new innovations pass us by? Of course cars are a lot more money than the previous examples but they are something we use and spend a lot of time in and so why not spend on yourself? Cars can be looked at by some as something to enjoy. To some it is their hobby, or their baby, or their present for their hard work.
Do you want to be comfortable? Sometimes being cramped is not fun and different cars feel different to everyone. I would be quite annoyed if I was in a car where I could not plug in my phone for my music/podcasts.
Do you want it to be safe? Newer cars have more safety features and are better for collisions. A bigger car will be safer. Do you feel safe in a Smart FourTwo? Many luxury cars have collisions detection standard now that will apply the brakes for you.
So I would say, consider reliable brands. Buy a Toyota, don't buy a Dodge and never buy a Land Rover. A lot of times luxury cars are about the brand because you can load up another car and still not come close to the cost of a Mercedes Benz.
In the end, you worked hard for something and if you want it, why not? Other wise you might as well go buy clothes from the co-op for your interview and eat McDonalds every day just because it is economical.
This comes from someone who used to sell cars. You learn a lot about the economics and misconceptions people have.