If you’ll be earning your MBA as part of the Class of 2018, chances are that right now you’re either finishing up your last weeks at work or enjoying some much-needed downtime before heading to campus.
During the months you toiled over your applications and then waited to hear back from admissions committees, you probably spent a lot of time anticipating how you’d fill your days at business school. And once your acceptance letter was in hand, we’re sure you gave some thought to what you want to get out of your experience. But just because you’ve gotten in doesn’t mean we don’t still have a few last tips for you!
Here they are:
- Leverage your student status as much as possible. We’re not just talking about things like student discounts. We’re talking about the fact that everyone loves students, and everyone loves giving advice to students. So if there’s an alum, a local businessperson, a politician or community leader you admire, use the fact that you’re a student to try and set up an “informational interview” or an informal meeting over coffee. You’ll be surprised at the kind of access you may be granted that you otherwise wouldn’t.
- Listen to as many visiting speakers as you can. There will probably be at least a few big-name CEOs and public figures who give talks on campus, and everyone’s going to turn up for those. But we encourage you to also consider going to hear what lesser-known business and political leaders, entrepreneurs and nonprofit executives have to say—especially some of the younger ones. In a decade you just might be able to brag about how you rubbed elbows with someone who’s now internationally respected.
- Choose your extracurriculars wisely. Repeat after us: it’s impossible to do everything. Don’t be the person who signs up for 20 clubs in the first week and then regrets not being able to be meaningfully involved in any of them. You will be totally overwhelmed by how many cool things you’ll have the opportunity to get involved with outside of class. So before you step foot on campus, think long and hard about what you really want to learn and what’s important to you so that you can focus your efforts accordingly.
- Don’t forget that the “real world” still exists. Don’t get us wrong—being in the b-school bubble is a thing of beauty. Except for when you’re especially tired and stressed (think interview season, exam time, etc.). That’s when you need to reach out to your family and friends back home, talk a walk or drive into the nearest city, or do whatever else you can to put things back into perspective. The campus will still be there when you’re ready to resume Student Mode, and you’ll feel re-energized.
Remember: Being a successful student is more about more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. It’s about being a skilled negotiator, a keen observer, and a master planner.