If you’re thinking of applying to bschool – and especially if you’ve already been accepted for the fall and are waiting for the months to pass until the adventure actually begins – we hope you understand how much READING will be involved.
You’ll have cases to prepare and textbooks to study and plenty of business and world news to stay on top of. From Day One of classes, you will be behind in the amount of reading that you need to get through.
To that extent, this post is to encourage you to get into the habit of actively reading NOW.
If you don’t already have a Kindle or iPad or other ereader device, consider getting one. As far as we know, few schools are distributing cases and other class material electronically (yet), but even if they’re not, there will be plenty of stuff that you’ll be able to access on a portable device. This will be a godsend when you are in a mode of cramming in productivity to every extra moment; you’ll be early to a meeting and hanging around waiting for someone at a coffee shop, and bam! you can pull out your ereader and make the most of the 5 minutes you found suddenly free. Set up your favorite RSS app and get the news sent to you, and get in the habit of staying current.
You should be reading leading news from a reputable source – we like The New York Times and BBC; there are others. Everyone in finance reads the Wall St. Journal. Seek out sources that you trust. You can get by for now with merely watching The Jon Stewart Show but that’s a slim diet indeed; actually READING the news is what we’re recommending here. (Hint: This will serve you well in interviews, too; some schools are known to ask about current events, and the financial industry recruiters definitely will want to see that you keep up with what’s going on in their world.)
In addition, read up on your target industry, and get into the “mode” of business. Pretty much everyone reads the Berkshire annual letter when it comes out, which it just recently did. Have you?
Tip: If, when reading Buffett’s report, you find yourself squirming due to unfamiliarity with the terms he’s using, or you skim over much of it – or you outright give up after a couple pages… be warned. You will face this and worse in the bschool classroom. His writing is reasonably jargon-free and he uses a conversational tone (he’s even funny in spots) but it’s still a technical document describing the performance of his companies. You must get comfortable with this stuff if you are going to have even half a chance of surviving at bschool. We strongly recommend that you study that document, researching terms that are unknown, working with the material until you’re sure you understand it. This will serve you better than probably any pre-MBA advice we can offer.
Many people say they want to get a job at Google after they complete their MBA. If you’re one of those, then we’re assuming you read this?
Actually, everyone should read that. The title is “How to Get a Job at Google”. It’s made the rounds recently and many recruiters have been talking about it. The main premise is that GPA and test scores aren’t the key elements that Google is focusing on in hiring anymore – they matter, but Google recognizes that they don’t tell the whole story and they’re not predictive of productivity nor success in the workplace. Instead, Google is focusing more on humility, and “emergent leadership” – do you have that?
If you want an MBA, that means you want to change your life. It also means you’re in for some hard work in school – which is where a big part of that change is going to come from. Why not get started now?
We’ll leave you with a quote from one of our all-time favorite authors:
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”