NEWS | Things to Know About Business Education Before Going to Business School
Published On: Tuesday, 23rd Aug 2022
If you are about to start business school, you may still be wondering what it actually entails and what goes into getting a business degree. Even though you will have researched your options well and feel prepared, there is always something that takes first-year students by surprise. We have prepared tips to help you enjoy your MBA experience to the full.
You Deserve to Be There
Starting at business school is one of the most challenging things you will face in your lifetime. The first few months of introductory classes will be tough and demanding. As well as absorbing the coursework, you will be surrounded by classmates who all seem to be highly accomplished. Being surrounded by competitive and driven people can, for some, be intimidating and so it is important to remember that you too were accepted for a good reason and that your school values the contribution you can make - that is why you are there!
It is much better to take the view that instead of being overawed by your fellow students it will be more productive to embrace their attributes and learn from a diverse set of students who have experience in areas that you don’t.
Everyone comes to business school with different backgrounds, skills, privileges, and connections and while you may want to spend time with people who are more like you, your MBA experience will be greatly enriched if you make an effort with everyone in your class or clubs.
Business school is difficult at times and there will be some things that come naturally to you and some that don’t. Don’t be afraid to participate fully and ask questions in class. Remember that everyone wants to succeed and that you are part of that group because you are more than capable.
Interaction Outside Class Can Be Key to Your Future
When you begin your MBA, you will be spending many hours with people who may end up being important in your future career. In other words, business school is where your networking really becomes crucial. From now on, everyone you encounter will have their own networks of other valuable individuals to whom you may gain access, and vice versa.
On average, a class will be made up of 35 to 70 people . You will also be involved in a study group of about six people. You will spend a lot of time with your classmates so it is helpful if you can find out as much as you can about them and are able to enjoy their company.
It is also worth taking part in extracurricular activities like club sports and societies, as they will help with your networking. Getting to know classmates on a personal level is not only fun but can be rewarding to your career. The opportunities are everywhere, so be careful with your choices and know that you may learn as much from these activities as you will from your studies. The intense nature of the MBA experience means it’s a great place to make lifelong friends. As a side benefit you will also begin to build a strong network which will grow as much as you allow it to. If you are generous with your contacts, you will find that others are with theirs as well.
Don’t Worry About Failure
As the old saying goes, ‘Don’t be afraid to fail – be afraid not to try.’ Ultimately failure tends to give you more confidence and you will learn and grow from it.
Your first year at business school is like a learning laboratory where you will be encouraged to take risks and challenge yourself to identify your strengths and weaknesses. It’s a ‘no-risk’ environment where you will be allowed to evaluate ideas and strategies which might not be so readily embraced in the workplace.
Business school is the best place to try things that you are unfamiliar with and really push yourself out of your comfort zone. You may be surprised how well you do at things that did not interest you beforehand.
It is ok to make mistakes during your MBA learning. Some of the most successful businesspeople will admit to multiple failures before they revised their thinking and evolved based on mistakes they have made in the past. Business school is your playground to hone your business skills and be as audacious as you want to be. You will benefit from every experience, good or bad.
Use Your Creativity
One of the best things about business school is that the curriculum will allow you to develop your creativity. Managers and CEOs are indeed deeply knowledgeable and serious people, but creativity and innovativeness are two attributes that set real leaders apart.
Throughout your MBA degree you will be given many opportunities to show off your creativity. In some cases, this will be from a marketing perspective where you will be asked to think about branding and possible advertising campaigns. In other cases, you will be asked to build a fictional business from scratch or, in other cases, integrate business theory in real-world scenarios. All of which takes creativity and will help you work in a team environment dealing with other team members creative ideas too.
The challenging environment of your MBA programme will encourage you to think out-of-the-box to find new and ingenious solutions to various business problems. That and benefitting from the creative thinking of your fellow students will probably be one of the most valuable assets for your MBA studies.
After graduation, you will find that not all of your creative ideas are popular or achievable so it is important that you learn that this happens all the time and that others may have more effective ideas at that particular moment. Working with others in business school in a creative setting will serve you well in your future career.
Job Recruitment Begins When You Begin Your MBA
As well as working hard for your MBA, prepare yourself for spending a lot of time with recruiters so you can be prepared for work after graduation. Obviously, this is important for the future, but you should also try to balance recruiters’ demands with your coursework.
There will be many different sizes of company and varied industries that will be looking to attract MBA talent for their organisation. Recruiting more or less begins as soon as you arrive on campus so it’s wise to start the exploration and discovery process as early as possible.
Consulting and investment banking generally have the earliest timelines with other large corporate recruiters who are looking for general managers, marketers, and corporate financiers. Next in line are the start-ups and finally, the non-profit organisations.
It’s a good idea to think about which industries you would like to work in but keep an open mind to new opportunities too as you will be presented with many during your time at business school. It is helpful to keep a running list of the jobs that might interest you so you can ask pertinent questions when you have the opportunity.
Your MBA Experience Will Be Over Quickly
Most former students agree that business school goes by all too quickly so it is important that you enjoy it while you can. There aren’t enough hours to do everything that you want to.
It is a good idea to write down the goals that you want to achieve before you begin and make careful selections about which extra curriculum activities you commit to. As in the real world of business, your priorities will change constantly so setting a daily schedule might also help you organise effectively.
From the beginning of your MBA to graduation, you will have little downtime. This doesn’t mean that it will not be fun, far from it, but it is wise to let friends and family know this before you apply. Once your student orientation begins you will be busy and may have to wait until academic break time to catch up properly with those off campus.
Business school is an intense journey filled with new friends and many new experiences, where you will receive an excellent education both inside and outside the classroom. In essence, you are packing in years of business knowledge and skills into a small space of time. As such, it is a short moment in your overall career that will come and go quickly. How well you do at business school will very much depend on what you put in and how carefully you prioritise your goals during your MBA experience.