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Non-Drinker at Business School

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Joined: 20 May 2010
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Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 09:15
I appreciate any insight anyone can offer on the following question. I will be starting in the fall and from what I have observed it looks like there is quite a bit of drinking going on a b-school. I don’t drink, but I enjoy being social and want to network and get to know my fellow students. Because I am married, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be out at a bar every night regardless, since I will also want to spend some of my limited free time with my wife. I guess my question is how much will I miss out on since I don’t drink? I will obviously attend school and company sponsored events, and I am not opposed to sipping a diet coke at a bar everyone once in a while…will this do or am I destined to be the social outcast for the next two years?
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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 28 May 2010, 10:34
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There are enough people in b-school that don't drink either, or are light drinkers.

Most b-schools are diverse enough that there's usually something for everyone. If you want to get completely wasted, there's compadres that will join you. If you want to just chill and have clean fun, there's plenty of folks that will do that. And there's also a lot of students that will do a mix of both.

Put it this way. Getting absolutely sh*tfaced can be a lot of fun, but it's not like you're missing a whole lot if you don't do it (because if you do, it's not like you or your compadres will remember anything anyways haha). And even though it can be a lot of fun to drink a lot, it usually leads to doing and saying things you'll regret anyhow (speaking from personal experience).

In most social occasions, you always have the option *not* to drink, and in just about every sort of b-school event (whether it's organized or just an informal get together of friends) there's going to be a mix of heavy drinkers, light drinkers, and non-drinkers. Alcohol is really a personal choice. The light drinkers aren't going to think anything about you not drinking, and those who are sh*tfaced won't be in a state to know whether you are or not.

I remember even amongst my b-school friends -- there was a good mix of everyone, from those who did drink a lot to those who didn't drink at all. I highly doubt that those who didn't drink had any more difficulties fitting in than those who did drink. You all go to the same kinds of events, do the same kinds of things (go to dinner, clubs, parties, etc.) so whether you drink or not is really a personal choice.

As for recruiting events, you are best to AVOID drinking at all or drinking just a drink or two at best. Otherwise you risk saying and doing things you'll regret. Some (or in some cases all) of the recruiters themselves will get sloshed (hey, if you were sent on a recruiting trip and the alcohol was paid by the firm, you probably would too!), but that doesn't mean you should. So as a non-drinker this shouldn't be a problem for you at all.

In all, don't worry about being a non-drinker in b-school -- and no one is going to judge you for it as long as you're not overtly judging others for being drinkers.

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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2010, 15:40
This isn't an MBA specific issue. You'd face this almost anywhere you go. Most of the social activities at my previous office rotated around drinking.. same thing at my undergrad business frat.. everywhere people debated about how to have more non-drinking activities so everyone can enjoy equally. Read Grisham's "The Associate" - if a young corporate lawyer could survive law school and wall street on soda so can you!

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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2010, 20:09
i was at a conference recently with students from b-schools all over the country. while there was a decent amount of drinking and mingling at night, there were a few (very few though) students who seemed completely anti social. while i could care less if a person drinks or not, it is a completely different story if they just sit at a dinner table and completely shut down and not talk to anyone. that to me seems to be counterproductive to building contacts and job leads.

if you don't drink, make sure that a) you are not offended by drinkers and b) you at least attend events with your peers so that you're not labeled the anti social one

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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 18 Jun 2010, 05:47
There is a kid like that in my summer internship from another top 10 program known for its "finance" curriculum and etc.

Whenever in a meeting, he always interrupts with random questions when the presenter is in the middle of explaining his or her presentation.

He is smart but very arrogant and always think his ideas are more beneficial. He goes to lunch by himself when all other interns are socializing and going out together. Other interns get involved in outside work activities but so far he has refused to participate.

This kind of anti social behavior is frowned upon and I really don't see how this kid is going to receive an offer no matter how smart he is or prestigious his program is.

Referring to the drinking thing, not everyone drinks. Just go out to bars and other activities with fellow bschool students but you can choose to drink soda or water. No one cares. They just want to hang out with you and get to know you better.

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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2010, 18:56
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This is a common concern, especially for those who are allergic, and you'll do just fine.

The almighty kryzak had the same concern when he was starting school at Haas. Now he's a successful alum.

Here's another one from this year: schmoozing-and-drinking-86451.html
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Re: Non-Drinker at Business School [#permalink] New post 30 Jun 2010, 11:46
Thanks for the replies, advice, and links everyone. I am hopeful that this will not be a major problem. I enjoy being social and will not be the guy who shuns social activities. I am also not someone who will get offended by those who are drinking around me. I agree with those who posted that as long as I make an effort to be a part of the social outings, I should be ok even if I am not drinking alcohol.

Re: Non-Drinker at Business School   [#permalink] 30 Jun 2010, 11:46
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Non-Drinker at Business School

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