Thanksgiving at MIT Sloan

If you ask me, there’s no better place to indulge in Turkey Day traditions than here in Boston, with Plymouth Rock just a short drive away. The Puritans would be happy to know that nearly 400 years since the they arrived on the Mayflower, wild turkeys still run amok through piles of fallen leaves, winter is still winter, and people are still grateful here in Massachusetts.

Last Wednesday was the First Year MBA Thanksgiving Dinner, which brought together all the diversity of Sloan over a complete American Thanksgiving meal from cranberry sauce to carved turkey, and from stuffing to Sam Adams. All that was missing was the pre-gluttony mealtime moment where people share something they’re grateful for—and I was determined to bring that to the table, so to speak.


It’s challenging to get 400 or so students to sit at one table and have everyone say what they’re thankful for, especially with “free” food lying before them. But because this is MIT, because this is business school, and specifically, because this is the MIT Sloan School of Management, in true data-driven fashion, I went around and surveyed a sample of my peers in the Class of 2016. And made them hold up a silly sign, too.

Here’s what a few of them had to say (clockwise from top left):

David: I am thankful that Sloan has opened my mind to envision my future in places and careers I had never imagined.
Rosie: I am thankful for the opportunity to attend Sloan.
Blair: I am thankful for the opportunity to help others…and pumpkin pie.
Anders: I am thankful for AMERICA!
Jean-Pierre: I am thankful for meeting an insane, incredible and intelligent group of people at Sloan who, within three months, I’m already sure will be lifelong friends.
Juan-Pablo: I’m still thinking!
Lakshmi: I am thankful for all the people who have encouraged, supported, and mentored me over the years. I am grateful to be in a place where I can bring my whole self in.
Michelle: I am thankful for my family, my new Sloan friends, and my winter coat!
Alaina: I am thankful for having the opportunity to learn from such a diverse group of classmates in a very supportive atmosphere.
Laide: I am thankful for the amazing folks I’ve met so far and the insane amount of experiences I’ve been exposed to–mainly due to FOMO!!!

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As for me, I’m grateful to share stories about my new family here at Sloan with my other family and loved ones back at home in New Jersey.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Erica Zendell

Erica Zendell is a MBA Candidate in the MIT Sloan Class of 2016. A former HBS case writer and researcher of contemporary China, she aspires to work as a Product Manager at the crossroads of the real and digital worlds of retail. When not hitting the books, she hosts a podcast with a classmate called "The Business of Being Awesome" focused on inspiring MBAs to find work they love after business school, even if it means going off the beaten path (

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