- MBA students are flocking to Yacht Week each summer to party and hobnob with potential future employers and colleagues.
- The annual event has grown significantly since it started in 2007, and now hosts hundreds of attendees.
- The trip doesn’t come cheap, at upwards of $1,000 for the yacht experience itself, not including airfare, food, or drinks.
Among the lavish cocktail parties and industry soirees, another luxurious networking experience for elite MBA students is quickly emerging as the go-to event of the year: Yacht Week.
Students hailing from the country’s top business schools are flocking to Croatia each summer to party and hobnob with potential future employers and colleagues while sailing across the Adriatic Sea, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Yacht Week was created in 2006 by the Swedish company Day 8 AB, and has continued to grow every year since, according to its website. Today it hosts more than 500 MBA students — typically hailing from top-tier US programs at schools like Harvard, Duke, Dartmouth, and Northwestern — every summer for week-long trips.
While its traditional route begins in Trogir and culminates in Split, students also can select more expensive routes that sail around the coasts of Greece, Turkey, or French Polynesia, among others. The original Croatian route costs between $566 and nearly $1,000 per person, depending on the week, and airfare, food, and drinks are not included.
According to the Wall Street Journal, hosting these business students has expanded into big business — from 2007 to 2022, the number of yachts has grown from 95 total to just under 1,000 in 2022.
“The girlfriends I went with on the trip, maybe we’ll become co-founders one day,” Hannah Bae, a student at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business told WSJ. “I know we’ll be successful no matter what.”
Yacht Week typically involves heavy partying, with the boats often docking in a circle to create an area where attendees can sip cocktails and lounge on floaties while cavorting with students on other boats. The average age of a Yacht Week-goer is between 21 and 40 years old, WSJ reported.
A 2015 review of Yacht Week in GQ described the event and its parties as “raucous,” and its attendees as largely affluent.
“Nearly everyone is beautiful, single, uninhibited, and bottle-service wealthy,” GQ’s Stuart McGurk wrote. “Several have been on reality-TV shows. It is the only holiday you can go on, I discover, that includes two staff photographers taking pictures of everything you, the hard-partying customer, get up to at all times.
Whether the week-long party actually translates to jobs for these students remains uncertain, but regardless, it’s clear the attendees are having a good time and at the very least believe in the possibility of making meaningful connections.
“Someone from Yacht Week is going to be a really important part of my life one day,” Jaron Wright, a Harvard MBA student told WSJ. “I have a feeling that’s going to happen.”