Brandeis International Business School

Making new friends at Brandeis

The connections you make at the International Business School just may last a lifetime


One of the advantages of studying at Brandeis International Business School is the opportunity to develop friendships with people from across the globe.

Here’s a rundown of the various opportunities you will have to make lasting connections at Brandeis, and a few tips to maintain these friendships while balancing your life as a graduate student.

Orientation week

New student orientation, which is typically held one week before the start of classes in August, is the first of numerous opportunities to make new friends. Each fall thousands of students travel from across the U.S. and the world to Boston and Waltham, many for the first time. The vast majority of these students don’t have many friends at their new schools and are looking forward to making connections once they arrive.

During orientation week, students interact in small group discussions under the guidance of a Leadership Fellow. They share many meals together and are introduced to campus life by their Fellow. Program-specific activities held during orientation also offer excellent opportunities to meet people who are passionate about business, finance, economics and/or business analytics.

While some students may be shy at the beginning, the social events at the end of orientation week are an amazing bonding opportunity. During my orientation, I met two of my closest friends while attending a Boston Harbor cruise.

Classes and group projects

Group projects are very common in business school. Typically, a group of two-to-five students work together to complete a team project. Some of these projects last a full semester, causing students to spend a lot of time together. Friendships emerge naturally from these long-term collaborations, especially if the students have interacted prior to the start of the group project.

Even for classes without group projects, there are plenty of opportunities to meet friends. Students who sit near each other in class will inevitably share pleasantries or casual conversation when they first meet, and will often strike up new friendships as a result.

Student clubs

The International Business School offers no shortage of extracurricular activities — from professional clubs such as the Brandeis Consulting Association or the Net Impact Club, to affinity clubs such as the International Business Women club. These groups have regular meetings and events and offer great opportunities for students to network and collaborate. As a result, many friendships are born through student groups.

Program affinities

Students from the same degree program must take several required courses with others in their cohorts. They encounter similar academic challenges and share the same joys. Additionally, students that are taking the same classes, or who have selected the same concentration, are often also pursuing similar internships and career paths. This can lead to meaningful friendships. 

Organic interactions

Besides the common academic and social routes described above, there are many more casual ways that friendships can develop. Some friendships form between students who are roommates, who take the bus at the same time together every morning, or who work together on campus. I have even developed friendships with other students just by striking up conversation in the World Court about which meals on the lunch menu are worth trying. So don’t hesitate to speak up and make a connection!

Tips for maintaining friendships

While there is no universal way to maintain a friendship, it certainly helps to spend time together on and off campus. While student life may be hectic at times, I strongly suggest putting in the effort, even if it means planning trips together during breaks and holidays. 

There are also every-day activities that are more fun with company, such as grocery shopping, going to the gym, eating lunch, or going for a walk. And always remember, nurturing a friendship can often pay lifelong dividends!

Student Insights features blog posts and videos produced by current students and recent graduates of Brandeis International Business School. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here belong solely to the author.