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Great Gifts for Business School Students & New MBAs

Everything from ties and pearls to thrillers and cartoons

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Got a new business school student? Or one armed with a brand new MBA? Here's a list of 8 great gift ideas, everything from ties and pearls to thrillers, compelling reads and more.

1. Ties, Pearls & Suits

Courtesy of Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo, Stock.Xchng

Most grad students wear shorts and flipflops to school. Heck, med students wear pajama-like scrubs every day. But business students don't just go to work in suits, they wear dress up for class too. So a contribution to a professional wardrobe - a tie, a string of pearls, a suit or a gift card to a department store that carries those items - all make wonderful gifts. Leather briefcase or business card case? Also wonderful.

2. The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons

Bloomberg Press

This collection of New Yorker cartoons came out in 2002, but some things never get old. OK, their cartoons for doctors is very dated, but this one is very entertaining, especially the drawing of a galley ship, whose slave driver sets down the whip just long enough to answer the phone, “Human resources!”

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3. Fancy Pens

Photo courtesy of Stig Andersen, Stock.Xchng

For some reason, pens are an ever popular graduation gift. They're certainly practical - everyone needs writing implements - and an engraved pen from Tiffany's would be a treasured, if pricey ($185-$325), memento. Thing is, some grad students would prefer the cash for, you know, food. But you know your 20something best. If you're in the pen market, either go all in with a swanky, engraved, gift-of-significance - Tiffany's or Montblanc - or an uber practical tub of a zillion roller-ball pens and highlighters, perhaps with a coffee gift card. Your child will appreciate one extreme or the other. The middle? Not so much.

4. Clever Gifts of Cash

iStock Photo

Money may not be the most creative of gifts, but it's the most welcome, especially by hard working, cash poor students. But whether you write a check or hit the bank for crinkly green bills, you can exercise a little creativity in how you present the gift. Tuck $20s inside a business card case, for example, along with a DIY business card from, say, Magna Cum Laude, Esq. of Festive, Congratulations & Co.

5. A Malcolm Gladwell Trio

Courtesy Little, Brown & Company

Malcolm Gladwell's eminently readable, brilliant books make great gifts for budding business tycoons - and everyone else too. "Blink" is about the value of intuition and snap judgment (compare prices). "The Tipping Point" explores how little things that coalesce into huge trends (compare prices). And "Outliers" shows us how exceptionally successful people - great athletes, brilliant scientists and the Bill Gateses of the world - are no accident. It's all about putting in your 10,000 hours. (Compare prices on that one here.)

6. "Office Space"

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

This cult classic revolves around soul-deadening life at Initech Corporation, where Peter rebels against his TPS report-filled existence, only to discover that his uber-slacker attitude puts him in line for promotion. Add in plenty of quirky characters, an embezzlement scheme and Jennifer Aniston, and it's little wonder this movie, which did so poorly at the box office, has assumed legendary proportions on the home video market. You'll want to accompany this gift with a red Swingline stapler, or better yet, the complete "Office Space Kit," which includes starter flair, TPS reports and other essential items. (Compare prices)

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7. MBA in a Box

Courtesy Mental Floss

The nice thing about little gag gifts is that they add a little humor to the proceedings and make a great addition to a cash gift. Mental Floss’ “MBA Degree in a Box” ($14.95) gives you all the, er, glamour of business school, but without all those pesky lectures. Like its compadres “Med School in a Box” and “Law School in a Box,” it includes a 96-page “comprehensive textbook,” as well as boardroom trading cards, 10 CEO case study cards, a final exam and official diploma, with extra authenticity provided by a sprinkling of Latin words. Fiat lux or dux or something.

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8. "Wall Street"

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

This movie is another classic - but not on the comedy end of the spectrum. Oliver Stone's film about 1980s greed and business stars Charlie Sheen as an up-and-coming stockbroker, taken under the wing of an utterly immoral Michael Douglas, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Wall Street raider Gordon Gekko.The movie explores the themes of greed, corruption, corporate espionage, and the lengths to which some people will go for money and power. Think Faust for the 1980s, with eerie echoes of, well, the very things that got our economy into its current mess.

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9. More Gifts for Grad Students

Insulated coffee mugs, a French press, a lavender-scented neck roll, gift cards to nearby restaurants - all the things that make great gifts for any hard working grad student will be welcomed by a business school student too. Check out the full list here.

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