I'm a new student in the inaugural class of an online MBA program at at large public university (25k undergrad, 8k graduate students). There is a bi-annual in person residency requirement and the dress code communicated to us is business casual. I work in operations management in the space industry and my daily dress code is jeans and t-shirt; some even rock shorts but I think thats a bit bold. I previously worked in a suit and tie everyday office and I'll take the jeans any day.

My question is should I bend the knee and wear khakis and a long-sleeve button up? Or should I wear what is comfortable ans representative of the industry I come from? Is jeans and a polo slumming it too much?

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    Jeans and t-shirt is not "business casual". So your question is: should I do what they request, or just do whatever I want? – GEdgar Aug 19 '17 at 12:43
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    The event has a dress code; dress as requested. – Joel Kulesza Aug 19 '17 at 13:27

The good news: you don't need to wear a tie.

I doubt shorts will ever fly for this residency component; as to whether new-looking jeans will work -- you won't know until you have a chance to see what the Romans are wearing. If you ever get to the point of experimenting by wearing jeans one day -- try it on a Friday the first time and see what happens.

If you get tired of wearing a tailored shirt, you can probably get away with a new-looking polo shirt (i.e. not stretched out, no grease spots). In warm weather, I see nothing wrong with using short sleeves. Shirts cut straight across and worn untucked are probably fine too. But your T-shirts are temporarily going to have to be relegated to after-work and weekend wear.

I do recommend a tucked-in shirt and a jacket for at least the first couple of days. Your goal is to start out the program with no personality -- without sticking out and looking like someone who has wandered into the wrong picnic or the wrong classroom.

In short, bite the bullet and enjoy the fact that you don't need to wear a tie.

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