The Importance of Happy Hour

Yes, you should go to happy hour

The MBA program is serious work. With classes, homework, team projects and the 10 million other things on your to-do list, taking a break might seem like the last thing you should do. That’s most definitely not the case, however. Here are the reasons why you should try to make it to happy hour.

Take a break from school. There are a lot of things to juggle when you’re in an MBA program, and having to be on the run constantly can lead to burnout. Giving yourself an hour to step away is crucial to prevent fatigue. Take the opportunity to set aside the materials you covered in class that day, forget about the homework that’s due in two days, and just enjoy a delicious drink in a nice setting with some good people – your MBA cohort classmates. Who knows? You might find a new best friend in the process!

Or, if you need a break from your peers, get drinks with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Catch up on their lives, fill them in on yours, and then get back to your checklist.

Connect with alumni. Networking is a big part of any MBA program and can really help you land that dream job or internship. Alumni from your program can be part of that networking process, offering insights and potentially connecting you with your dream job. They took the same classes you’re taking, and they understand the landscape. Happy hour – or the alternative early morning coffee hour – can be the perfect setting for an informational interview with an alum.

Network with employers. Lots of opportunities to network with employers happen around receptions and happy hours. Don’t miss these opportunities! Formal information sessions and webinars are great, but informal settings like happy hours can be just as important. These events give you a chance to speak to other people at the organization, to get a better idea of what it’s like to work for the company.

Employers are looking for people who can engage in formal and informal settings, and want to see how you interact with multiple people within an organization. Make a great impression at these kinds of events, especially with multiple people, and you may find you have advocates working for you when you apply for a job with that company.

Lots of companies also keep track of how many touchpoints you have with the organization, and these informal events count toward your touchpoint tally. At a recent career conference, I had the opportunity to go to an employer happy hour/reception the same day as my interview, and I know the person I interviewed with noticed that I took the time to stop by.