One of the many questions I’m debating while getting ready for the fall is whether or not to purchase a car. I’ve heard that about half the first years and maybe 80 or 90 percent of the second years owns cars.
Since I will be living in Schwab, which is about fifty feet away from the new GSB campus, I definitely won’t need a car on a daily basis. I also plan on purchasing a trusty bike which will facilitate quick trips to many places I need to go off campus like the grocery store, Target or nearby restaurants. On the rare occasions I needed a car as an undergrad it was always easy enough to borrow one from a friend or rent one by the hour/day from ZipCar which has a couple dozen available around campus.
However, as a GSB student I will probably be venturing off campus a lot more. Current students have told me that there are a lot of events organized too far away to make biking practical. Having to always tailor your schedule around carpools can be pretty inconvenient. Plus, during recruiting season, it can add a lot of stress to always be worrying about how to get to events and interviews.
So it sounds like a car would be nice. Of course, having enough money in the bank to pay my tuition and buy a car would be even nicer. And I don’t. My biggest hope on the car front is that the supposed 50% of students who own cars during their first year are those who (a) have enough money that it isn’t a big deal, (b) owned a car prior to business school and can’t imagine living without one and/or (c) have an off-campus apartment/internship that makes owning a car necessary. Since I’ve don’t fall into any of those categories, maybe attending school without a car won’t be that big of an issue.
I’m sure that I’ll have to reassess in the fall once I’m actually on campus and can compare my car-less life with those of my car-owning classmates. And second year will certainly require another reassessment, although at that point I may already have a post-school job offer or a roommate with a car or even have dropped out. Anything can happen! In the meantime, I don’t plan on purchasing a car as part of my summer preparations.