MBAnalysis Blog: Welcome to Business School! (Finding Success Outside the Classroom)

Only once the plane takes off or the moving van leaves, you realize you are actually going to business school! It is no longer that crazy, purgatory-like experience as you fight your way from deadline to deadline, waiting with baited-breadth to find out where you will be spending your next two years. Now you actually know and are even already there.

So with that in mind, here are some tips to help you have a great personal and professional experience for the next two years. First the personal:

1. You are who you want to be.

Like any new beginning, the start of business school is a time for recalibration. Take stock of who you are and who you want to be. Some of the best advice I ever got while working at Bain was “every time you meet a new client you are a new person, and you can decide who that person is.” While it is unlikely that the shy person will become the life of the party; maybe the library rat, goes out (some of the time) to play with the cats.

2. Remember it’s your city.

You wouldn’t be the first MBA student who lived somewhere for two years and still hadn’t seen the city. Between all the class trips, the weekend getaways, and the continual opportunities to always be “somewhere else,” you may never actually see the place that you worked so hard to get to. Before classes start on a light work weekend or a free morning, play tourist. Take a bus tour or even better one of those tours on a Segway. Eat at the top-ten, best-buy dives. No need to go fancy that is what recruiting is all about.

3. Start making friends.

Business school is all about creating relationships, and not just professional relationships. The explicit goal of these two years is to make friends, so start making them. Find out who from your firm is also going to be at business school with you. How about alumni from your college (though you may never have met them). Maybe there are some others from your home country. Or those second degree connections on Linkedin. Reach out to them. Now’s the time to do it. Explore the city together. You will be well served to have some familiar faces in your section when classes begin.

4. Get your partner settled.

While those first few days of class are going to be intimidating for you, it is your partner who may have the bigger mountain to climb. Without all those pre-term ice-breakers, and team-building events, business school can be a lonely place if you’re not a student. Recognize this and help find places your partner can engage, both on campus and off. Start with the partner support group (which every schools has) and grow out from there. Also, make your partner as much of a member of your learning team as you are. You are going to be spending a lot of time with these people, your partner should know who they are.

5. Join a club.

Leave the professional interest clubs for now and instead focus on the shared interest or diversity clubs? Like scotch? How about the Spirits Club? From Canada? There usually is a Canadian Club (not the drink, that’s for the Spirits Club). Find ‘your’ people – whether it be other veterans or individuals who share your passion for tennis or triathlons

Well, so much for the personal tips as you start an exciting two years. In our next blog, we will talk about the professional and academic side of business school and starting that off right.

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