By Kaneisha Grayson
One of the most exciting things about starting business school is the smorgasbord of interesting and attractive new people you will meet and spend the next two years with. Inevitably, one of these people will catch your eye and you will want to express your interest to him or her. Since you will all be in the microcosm that is the business school campus, you have the opportunity to flirt in all kinds of ways that those living in the real world don’t have.
Here are just some of the ways you can show a girl or guy that he or she has caught your attention and is on your love radar:
Make her look smart. Everyone in business school wants everyone else to think they are smart. Since everyone had to be accomplished and intelligent to be admitted, being able to demonstrate intelligence above and beyond that of your peers is a prized achievement. If your crush makes a point in class that is less than amazing, chime in with evidence from a case exhibit to support her point. Not only will you be moving the conversation forward by building on the point of a classmate, she will appreciate your acknowledgement of her point as well as the gesture of validation. Then, after class, strike up a casual conversation with her about your shared opinion just to make sure you earned your much deserved love points.
Help him not look stupid. If everyone wants to look smart in business school, it then follows that looking stupid is one of the most humiliating things to an MBA candidate. If your crush participates in class and actually says something you know is dead wrong, raise up your hand and gently steer the conversation toward a point that makes sense. Even though you are in essence disagreeing with him, you are doing so respectfully and collegially before someone less forgiving does so. You will have earned yourself some participation points, as well as appreciation points in your crush’s heart.
Show up to her event. The business school social scene can be overwhelming with the number of parties, dinners and bar nights that happen, all before Thursday even rolls around. This abundance of social options often results in overlapping events within sections. Even if her event sounds less fun than your buddies’, you will gain major points for showing up to what she’s planned and visibly having fun. So you may not enjoy picking apples on a Sunday afternoon, but it could be just the chance you need to show her how sensitive, funny and earthy you are.
Be her beer pong partner. Most of my female friends were pretty terrible beer pong players. It doesn’t matter that most of the guys were, too. They played for the beer and to flex their ping-pong muscles in front of the ladies. Besides the few uber-tossing pong champion girls, many of your female business school classmates are going to feel a little self-conscious stepping up to the table to participate. Take this opportunity to proactively ask her if she will be your partner and then proceed to joke with her and put her at ease as you try to distract her from your mediocre aiming skills.
Have him over for dinner. Small dinners are one of the best ways to have open, relaxed conversations with your classmates. If one of your classmates has caught your eye, invite him to a small group dinner at your place. That way, it’s not officially a date, and you can invite the right mix of people (hint: women who already have boyfriends and guys you only want as friends) to keep the dinner fun and laid-back. You don’t have to wow him with a five-course meal. In fact, you can order in international food and play it off as the first of many themed dinners. Small group dinner conversations always steer toward discussing the campus dating scene, so it’s the perfect opportunity to subtly let him know you are single and to hear if he’s taken and if he’s looking for love.
Remember to use these two years to your advantage. You could leave graduate school with an MBA and a fiancé(e)!
Kaneisha Grayson graduated from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School in May 2010. She is the founder and owner of The Art of Applying, an admissions and career-coaching company focused on serving nontraditional applicants. Read more of her admissions advice at The Art of Applying and her dating advice at CrazyGirl Nation.
[Photo credit: AP Photo/Sven Kaestner]
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