In an increasingly global business environment, the idea of strategic alliances has captured the imagination of marketing strategists. Yet, while much anecdotal wisdom exists on what makes a good or bad alliance, there are no broad-sample studies of what managers actually think about alliances. This paper outlines the results of an exploratory study of a diverse senior executive sample’s preferences for various characteristics of possible strategic alliances. Ile results revealed substantial preference heterogeneity across executives, with important implications for alliance negotiations both within and across firms. Further, while some common wisdom was confirmed (Americans tend to have shorter time frames than non-Americans), other wisdom was rejected (pronounced regional self preferences for partners suggest that the advice to “be global” has yet to take hold in management preferences). Future research on the determinants of preferences and their link to action offers much hope in the study of this important business phenomenon.