It’s that time of year: All those successful Brave Supplicants who we had the pleasure of working with last year are making their way to campus for the excitement of MBA orientation and new-student jitters. Today we’re pleased to be able to offer a report from the trenches – a second-year student at a GREAT MBA program has shared some field-hardened wisdom for all you young and innocent whippersnappers. Whether you’re in the throes of writing essays or nervously packing up your life for a massive relocation to a new city (or whole new country – eek!!), here’s some tidbits from one who went before.
What I wish I had known before I started Business School
1. I used to think I was good at managing email:
That was a lie. I was only good at email because I lived in front of my computer 8 – 14 hours a day at work. Business school is mostly where you learn how to manage hundreds of reasonably important daily emails without sitting in front of the computer for more than 20 minutes at a time. (That email management includes a lot of reading the subject and hitting “delete” just to save time. Oh, and filters. The wonder of filters.)
2. Grades? Are grades why I’m in business school?
There is literally not enough time in the day to get good grades and do everything else you want to do. You will have to prioritize. And you are allowed to prioritize grades! I certainly wanted to when I arrived at school. As an undergraduate *cough* valedictorian *cough* (hey, I’m not bragging, I’m proving to you that no one cared more about getting amazing grades school than I did) I had to learn that, FOR ME, business school is more about learning what I need to learn and less about proving that I can make the dean’s list. Again, that was my choice, and yours might be different, but it was a rough couple weeks in the beginning when I was trying to do perfect coursework, and extracurriculars, and sleep. Which brings me to…
3. The Hot Air Balloon Analogy:
When you start business school, you lift off in a basket of a hot air balloon packed with friends, family, disposable income, free time, gym time, healthy relationships, and everything else in your life that got you to that point. Then you get there and load the basket with new friends, schoolwork, happy hours, recruiting, and cramming the most in the school experience. 3 weeks in? You’re pretty much chucking as much stuff out of the balloon as possible to keep from drowning in shark-infested waters. It will happen. Just make sure that you don’t throw out the stuff that really is most important to you at your core. You know, all those things that made you want to go to business school in the first place.
4. The food might be free, but that doesn’t make it worth eating. I may never eat another slice of pizza as long as I live. My goal for year two: learn to pack a lunch, preferably a salad. Also, work off the “business school ten” from all the free food.
5. Recruiting is a contest of the best food and the best stuff. A quality umbrella wins every time; I have enough mugs to last forever; the CPG firms give trial sizes of all your favorite brands. However, recruiting consumes your whole life, so all that free stuff comes at a price!
What EssaySnark can add is, we hope you got some sleep before you arrived on campus! ‘Cuz you won’t be getting much for awhile.
And to the second-year who sent this: THANK YOU! It’s so crazy to know that we’ve been doing this back-and-forth for two years already (this person first sent us an anguished cry for essayhelp back on 8/18/11 – yes we keep all such correspondences!!). Wishing you great success, and a diet more diverse than pizza, in the coming year. MBA2 is so much funner than MBA1!!!
If that list wasn’t enough, the second-years at Yale SOM posted a similar list recently.