How to Make a Move on a Wharton MBA

By The Undercover Undergrad


MIDNIGHT – Fetty Wap blares as semi-sober classmates try to take advantage of drink specials that have long since expired, fruitlessly waving five-dollar bills and sipping ‘low-cal’ gin and tonics. On a typical weekday night, MBAs are living the life that their undergraduate counterparts, holed up in GSRs, only dream of. As a second-semester senior and recently legal undergrad (rocking a real ID with a 1994 DOB) I’m just a little out of place at 2YD and Pub. Obvious age difference and affinity for shots aside, I have begun a quest to make insightful observations (reinforce cliches and stereotypes?) of MBA  social behavior. This week, I will attempt to identify different MBA subgroups, and provide a guide to making moves on each. The validity of this? You decide, Wharton.


1. The ‘Grind-then-Hug’ Classmates. While these parties try to diplomatically not draw attention to themselves, this way of ending an awkward (or any) dance session is surprisingly prevalent at club events. Two people are dancing, then one stops and gestures for a hug to end the dancing, placing the partner squarely in the ‘friend-zone’. Later, I learned that this might be because some are worried that future classmates might be their boss or employee – a thought that would never had occurred to me. How to make a move? Make sure you will not be the future boss or employee of this person.

2. The Flirty Married MBAs. They can be found flirting with other married MBAs or really any single person, seeking the attention they once got from their spouse before the fire of their love burned down to a slow kindle. How to make a move? Don’t. This is a great segue to the next type…

3. The Trade-Uppers. This group is gossiped about and pointed out profusely. I weirdly only know about the discrepancy of wealth between their current and previous partner. How to make a move? Compare your current FEP (future earning potential) with their current partner and, if significant, use as topic of conversation.

4. The Fancy Vacationers. These are the people who take the Patagonia trip after buying thousands of dollars of gear they’ll never get around to using again. They can be found dominating a conversation about the ‘best Michelin they found in South America’ or ‘first-class upgrade on Emirates’. I personally am jealous of the SPG points-laden consultants who live in hotels (as someone who lives in $10 hostels). How to make a move? Compare an AmEx black card vs. JPM Palladium and talk about whether the annual fee that costs more than Pub is worth it.

5. The Expensive AF Dinner Guru. They justifiably loves Vetri, but don’t seem to know what Passyunk is. These types may be single-handedly raising the GDP of Philadelphia a few points, but there are only so many Stephen Starr restaurants they can rotate the conversation about. How to make a move? Suggest a new BYO place near Rittenhouse, or better yet BYO Sweetgreen (hey, we undergrads do it!)

6. The Spouse. A non-Wharton spouse is easy to spot – someone being introduced to everyone or the one having too much fun at the club because they don’t do this every day. How to make a move? Don’t!

7. Your Best Bet for Love. A friend of a friend with a similar cultural and socio-economic background, with slightly similar previous industry experience, who you meet through a wine-tasting in Napa or being in the same obscure city over first-year summer. How to make a move? Because of your similar levels of finances and international experiences, chances are you have interests that you both mutually will enjoy doing!


One quick note: Yes, this is real. I can confirm by knowing the exact second computer labs at Huntsman turn off lights from years of midterm cramming (happens about twice an hour in the early AMs) – and how to switch them back on. Would any MBA know that?

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