Google “what important people say about traveling” and you’ll most likely find this pearl: “It is better to travel well than to arrive." The fact that it’s attributed to Buddha, Earnest Hemingway, and Indiana Jones all within three short clicks does nothing to dilute the beauty of this message. Put simply, life is a journey and to arrive is to be dead. This feeling becomes almost edible when roaming the Vietnamese jungles on 125cc or riding the Trans-Siberian through half of the globe’s continents. One of the great appeals of the MBA is this constant movement, akin to traveling, a feeling of freedom that anything can happen and you really hope it will.
Indeed business school = travel, terms are short, new friends abound, sleeping is but a dream, and being abroad counts as credits—thank you, Chazen. But the experiences are the same, require the same kind of free spirited people, and reward you far beyond pulling an all-nighter ever will. So, as with everything important, the MBA kicks off with a journey: the Pre-MBA World Tour.
A brief history: traveling with your future peers has been a staple of many business schools, but nowhere is more subscribed and global than at Columbia Business School. Indeed the trip has been a student-led tradition for many years with new admits stepping up to the plate to quarterback this massive endeavor.
This last World Tour consisted of four legs: Southeast Asia, East Asia, India, and Europe, with a notorious Yacht Week built in. The trips were scheduled to be roughly one month each in June and July, making it possible to do two legs. Initially, the trip schedules from last year were used, but each trip was adjusted by trip leaders and travelers to fit the current needs of the group. The World Tour culminated in a weeklong trip to the Hamptons in July.
The Class of 2015 has shown incredible devotion to the Columbia experience with 173 future CBSers meeting up in over 23 countries. They broke the record in Budapest with 58 travelers, then again in Croatia with 58 people on seven Yachts, and 31 people taking the land route, for a total of 89 people in attendance. The final yardstick was set in the Hamptons with 133 people across seven houses. It was truly a great success that gave people an opportunity to spend time together in a relaxed and beautiful setting but, more importantly, commit to CBS and all its promise.