Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 11am

Wharton Love Survey Reveals MBA Students’ Desires: MBA News

Wharton love survey

It’s not very often that we get a glimpse into the…private lives of the soon-to-be rich and famous, but that’s what the editors of the Wharton Journal gave us yesterday with the publication of the 2015 Wharton Journal Love Survey.

In case the frigid temperatures blanketing most of the nation weren’t enough to jolt you out of the post-Valentine’s Day love stupor, the survey’s findings should do the trick.

Among other things it found that a large number of relationships – about one out of four – don’t survive two grueling years at one of the world’s elite MBA programs, and that the vast majority of students are less than thrilled with the pool of potential partners.

The survey was sent via email and social media to 1,600 Wharton students from February 10 to 15, and received 254 responses. Of those who responded, 59% were male, 40% female and 1% identified as neither gender. About two out of three respondents, or 62%, were first-year MBA students, and 38% were in their second year at Wharton.

Overall, the survey found, 59% of respondents were in a relationship when they got to Wharton, but only 76% of those MBA students were still in that relationship, meaning that 24% of all relationships never made it to graduation. In fact, most of the breakups came quite quickly. In all, 71% of the relationships ended by winter break – in less than five months.

Mismatched levels of satisfaction at Wharton

At the time of the survey, 61% of women and 75% of men were in relationships, with 18% of women and 27% of men either married or engaged.  Ergo, 39% of women and 25% of men are single. If that holds for the entire class, which has a 60/40 male/female split, then the number of single men and women is pretty evenly matched, at about 250 each.

So how do those singles feel about each other? When it comes to flings, only 24% of men and 25% of women say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the pool of potential partners at Wharton. But when it comes to relationships, there’s a serious mismatch: 24% of men say they’re satisfied or very satisfied with the potential partners on offer at Wharton. But not one woman indicated that same level of satisfaction with the partner pool, down from 20% the year before.

It’s a little hard to imagine any level of dissatisfaction with potential partners among Wharton MBA students, much less the high levels reported in the survey. These are seriously high-potential catches. They have an average GMAT score of 729, a 3.6 GPA, and come bearing undergraduate degrees from some of the best universities on the planet including Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Yale, as well as credentials from the most elite consulting companies, banks, and other top employers.  The class of 2014 graduated with a median base salary of US$125,000, with some graduates earning more than twice that amount and, by one conservative estimate, they can expect to earn on average roughly US$3 million over the next 20 years.

Nick Bartz, a Wharton Journal contributor who oversaw the survey, said the level of dissatisfaction came as “kind of a shock” but it matches his own experience on campus. He chalked it up to caution on the part of women, and to a lesser extent men, when it comes to getting involved in relationships with highly competitive people they already spend so much time with in class, team projects, and social events.

“In general, there’s a hesitancy on the part of women to engage with their classmates in a more long-term way,’ he said. “Within that bubble it can be a little bit exhausting. When you look for someone to have a relationship with, the prospect of shacking up with someone in a more relaxed stage of their lives is very appealing.”

Wharton MBA students look for love through online dating

The survey also found that nearly half of Wharton MBA students are involved in online dating, with 30% saying they had used online dating services and have gone out on dates, while 17% have used the apps but have not gone on any dates. The most popular app, by far, was Tinder – where users indicate their interest in a nearby match by swiping left or right, and connect with the person only when the attraction is mutual.  The survey found 63% of online daters used Tinder, compared to 19% for OKCupid and 6% for Facebook.

A tenth of survey respondents said they would like to hook up with someone on their learning team, but others had romantic ambitions that centered on schools outside of Wharton. The most popular school was medicine – 54% said they’d like to date someone from Penn’s medical school – followed by law (42%), and nursing (31%), with 23% saying they had their eye on undergraduates.  The least popular school: engineering (you can read about an online dating site started by MBAs designed to help people find matches in particular schools and disciplines here).

Given the popularity of online dating generally and Tinder specifically, and the numerous opportunities for hookups on any college campus, it’s surprising how few students in committed relationships cheat on their significant others. In all, only 8% in the Wharton survey said they’ve strayed, and most of those (5%) did so just once. Studies suggest that the likelihood of cheating in any given year is less than 6%, while over the course of an entire relationship it may rise to as much as 25%.

What are these future captains of industry looking for in a mate? Attractiveness, witty banter, book smarts, and ruthless ambition ranked high for both men and women. Women also cited religion, US citizenship, perspective, and ‘a pulse’. Men wanted personality, religion, spirituality, and ‘hot sex’.

Women had some advice for men: “Don’t be a jerk, and don’t be so self-absorbed,” wrote one. “Man up and ask girls on actual dates instead of sending ambiguous texts, trying for drunken hookups, and staring at us awkwardly from afar,” said another. Also, don’t be tightwads. “If you’re in your mid/late 20s and want to take a girl on a date, Honeygrow doesn’t count,” wrote one woman, referring to a Philadelphia eatery where entrees cost $10 or less. “Step it up guys!”

And men? “Chill out.” “Don’t get desperate.” “Aim low.”

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" 61% of women and 75% of men were in relationships, with 18% of women and 27% of men either married or engaged " Really ??? ______________ Nath