Average starting salary, rank, number of distinguished alumni – these numbers help you decide where to apply to business school. But make no mistake, the decision is also subjective, and sometimes it may come down to whether you prefer duck tacos or a slice of cheese pizza as your late night snack.
Location matters in your choice of business school, especially if you have plans to relocate long term after graduation. So to help you collect some qualitative data, here are our picks of the best foodie cities with reputable business programs.
Tempe, AZ – W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
A hidden desert gem tucked in the midst of Phoenix’s urban sprawl, Tempe shines bright as an up-and-coming foodie mecca where dishes like braised duck taquitos and banana brulee crepes are standard fare. Had one too many carnita burritos? Head to Desert Roots Kitchen, a popular vegan and vegetarian enclave created by an ASU grad. The W.P. Carey School of Business, a top 30 school as ranked by U.S. News, occupies the north central part of the city, not too far from any of the culinary hot spots.
Seattle, WA – Foster School of Business, University of Washington
How do you stay happy as an MBA student in a city with an average of only 71 sunny days a year? You delight your taste buds with a seemingly unending variety of cuisine. Seattle is known for fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and dozens of chefs pursuing their passion for eclectic eats. Word has it that there are a few coffee shops around the city, too. Foster students have the dual advantage of living in an amazing foodie city located next to another foodie city, Bellevue. Seattle’s easterly neighbor across Lake Washington draws Seattle residents and locals alike to its plentiful ethnic options such as Taiwanese and Indian restaurants. U.S. News ranked Foster as the 23rd best business program in the U.S. for 2016. The campus lies north of downtown along scenic Union Bay.
Los Angeles, CA – Anderson School of Management, UCLA
Though it shares the same city as another top-25 business school, UCLA students hardly need to walk off campus to reach the nearest In-n-out Burger, which gives the Bruins the edge over their South Central rivals, the Trojans. (It takes a tortuous drive down the 110 for USC students to get their In-n-out fix). Westwood, where UCLA’s Anderson School of Business is located, is also close to the Sunset Strip and Hollywood. In addition to superb burgers and other American favorites, there’s no shortage of sushi, Thai, Mexican, and Vietnamese spots to try as long as you’re willing to deal with the traffic.
Austin, TX – McCombs School of Business, UT Austin
Texas means BBQ and Tex-Mex, and Austin doesn’t disappoint. From roadside stands to local institutions such as Franklin BBQ, Austin is a meat lover’s paradise. But there’s much more to this city’s culinary scene than just street tacos, slow cooked ribs, and brisket. Don’t be surprised when you find superb sushi, vegetarian options, fine dining, and of course, a seemingly unending list of ‘must visit’ bars and breweries. UT Austin is located near the heart of the city and is ringed by food spots perfect for post-class snacks or late-night cravings.
Durham, NC – Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
If there were a hierarchy of foodie needs, Durham would be self-actualizing. The once sleepy tobacco town has come alive in the last decade with award-winning restaurants, a growing armada of food trucks, and local breweries that serve up the perfect pint to wash down proper North Carolina style BBQ. Durham stays true to its roots with everything from casual French bistros to the local donut shop relying on locally grown ingredients. Though a forest shrouds the Fuqua School of Business, the campus is technically urban; Durham and its food scene are just a few minutes away.
Chicago, Illinois – Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
Perhaps overshadowed by New York to the east and Los Angeles to the west, Chicago deserves more praise than it receives for its food options. After all, it’s a city that invented its own type of hot dog and pizza style. Similar to its coastal rivals, the strength of Chicago’s food scene comes from its immigrant communities. Kielbasas, pierogi, tacos, dolmades, hand-pulled noodles – these are just a few of the things Chicago does well thanks to its diversity. Unfortunately for MBAs at Booth, most of these delights lie a bit north of Hyde Park.
New York, NY – Stern School of Business, NYU
Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a city with more culinary clout or options than the Big Apple. Whether you’re looking for a 5-star sushi restaurant, your favorite Ecuadorian dish, or just a juicy burger, you can find it here and perhaps all on the same block. If they feel overwhelmed by all the options, NYU students can always opt for a delicious slice of cheese pizza the size of their head at the nearest corner pizzeria. Sandwiched between Greenwich Village, the Bowery, and East Village in Lower Manhattan, NYU couldn’t be more ideal located for food.
Unfortunately, we don’t know everything and haven’t eaten everywhere, so we know we probably missed something. Let us know in the comments!