Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for MBAs |

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for MBAs

By Francesca Di

Updated February 27, 2021 Updated February 27, 2021

Get ideas for last-minute holiday gifts for the aspiring MBA or professional businessperson in your life.

MBA students are known for taking on big challenges, but even they may get overwhelmed when it comes to picking out the best holiday gifts for their classmates. After all, choosing a personalized present takes time and care. Still, one cannot go wrong with the kind of gift that comes in handy for anyone pursuing a career as a business executive. The good news is QS has some ideas to offer.

Discover some suggestions for holiday gifts for MBA students:

Business card holder

While it is true that many professionals rely on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, to keep track of their network, many people still use business cards to share when they have face-to-face meetings. There’s something tangible about having a little card with someone’s contact information in your hand.

A business card holder allows professionals to keep their own cards organized and readily available whenever they are out and about. Business card holders come in a variety of colors and designs and can be made out of a variety of materials, including metal and leather.


There are actually a number of options when it comes to headphones that are appropriate for businesspeople. You can choose ear buds for phone calls or listening to music, but there are also noise cancelling headphones for those looking to zone out and focus on the task at hand. Of course, there are headsets for listening to whatever is on your device without interrupting or annoying colleagues – and Bluetooth is a bonus.


A stylish and sturdy briefcase never goes out of style. Designer brands, such as Coach, offer luxurious yet practical options. Make sure there is enough room and compartments to carry files, writing materials, and electronic devices and their chargers. Consider it a plus if the business card holder has a spot, too. Leather is the only appropriate material for an MBA’s briefcase. Messenger bags or anything made of fabric need not apply.

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Writing tools, such as pens and pencils, might seem old school, but they are still very useful. Businesspeople take notes or jot down messages – not everything is on docusign. Sometimes, they must sign their names to hard copies and printouts, proving that pen sets are still a lovely gift. There’s also a nostalgia to this kind of gift. Personalization – engraving a name or catch phrase – is possible and adds a special finishing touch.

Electronic devices

Smart phones, iPads, Kindles, laptops, and more can make for generous gifts. This is the modern day, risk-free gift. No one is ever going to be disappointed with an electronic device that can make their life more efficient. All these kinds of devices put the internet at businesspeople’s fingertips no matter where they are. They come in handy when traveling for business while also allowing people to keep in touch with family and friends.

Personalized Office Décor

Framed documents or photos, plaques, pencil holders, and more provide a personal touch to your recipient’s office. Many of these gifts can be personalized with photos or names. They can be sentimental or funny, depending on the type of personalization, or they can provide a sense of inspiration and thoughtfulness that will certainly not go unnoticed.


Silver keyrings from places like Tiffany can be engraved, or you could pick up a more affordable keyring with a meaningful photo in it. The note must read, “For the key to the corner office,” because that is what just about every MBA student is aiming for. This is a special gift because the giver is also sending the message that he or she believes in the receiver. Although most keyrings are affordable, having faith in friends and family is a priceless gift.

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This article was originally published in December 2019 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website


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