For students

Advice for Incoming MBAs

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Congratulations! You’ve decided to get an MBA.

 

Business School is an exciting, transformative experience. We should know—CommonBond was founded by MBAs while in b-school. New ideas, new opportunities, new friends and new stamps in your passport —it’s a really amazing time. As incoming MBAs are getting ready to move to new cities, go on trips, network and brush up on quant skills, we decided to round up MBA employees at CommonBond and gather some advice they have for incoming MBAs. Here’s some of what the team has learned after a few years on the other side of b-school.

 

What I wish I’d done the Summer before business school…

 

“Relax, save money, think about what I want to get out of business school”

 

People go to business school for many different reasons. What’s yours? Take time over the summer to think about what you really want to get out of business school. Narrow it down to a few priorities.

 

“Know why you are going and write it down. Use that to refer back to when you get FOMO.”

 

Unless you have a clear North Star to help you prioritize your time, you risk being so overwhelmed and saying yes to everything. If you spread yourself too thin, you may not accomplish what it was that inspired you to apply to business school in the first place.

 

Starting business school is like drinking from a firehose –you will meet so many new people in those first few weeks, so also make sure you take some time over the Summer to RELAX.

 

“Before business school, I wish I’d slept more, kept it chill and didn’t worry about getting to know everyone before getting on campus.”

 

While in School

 

Many business schools have a Grade Non-Disclosure policy, which leads some students to de-prioritize classes. However, you might not want to discount classroom time since business school classes can be a great way to gain valuable professional skills and try new things in a low-risk environment.

 

“Take the opportunity to challenge your conventional thinking and try out new ways of working.”

 

Since most business school classes involve heavy amounts of group work, they can also be great opportunities for accomplishing those other priorities like networking and meeting new people.

 

Some of the best classes CommonBond MBAs took in business school?

 

Negotiations, “Any Entrepreneurship Class,” Managing People at Work, Product Innovation, General Management, Decision Models, and Role ofGovernment in Market Economies.

 

Classes they regret not taking?

 

Venture Capital, “the soft skill classes – public speaking, people and change,” Legal Issues in Entrepreneurship, B2B Sales.

 

It’s interesting how often classes that focus on interpersonal-skill building are mentioned by MBAs as either top classes they took or wish they’d taken. While strong quantitative skills and analytical ability are increasingly important in post-MBA roles, having the ability to analyze data to inform decision-making is becoming table-stakes for MBAs. Often the true differentiator in creating meaningful impact lies in an ability to influence others, build coalitions, manage through change, and lead diverse teams to accomplish a vision. These skills don’t come natural for everyone, and you can definitely learn and practice them through coursework.

 

If I could do it all over again...

 

We also asked our MBAs about what they would do differently if they did it all over again. Here are some of their responses:

 

“Start a business while in school”

“Do a class abroad”

“I would worry less about getting an internship – the right one will come along so it’s not worth stressing yourself over”

“Meditated more to reduce FOMO”

“Relax! You will get a job after graduation. Also, travel more!”

 

“Business School is…”

 

It’s no surprise that business school can be an exciting and transformative time. Looking back, many alums comment on how it can be both a highly social and personal time for growth and reflection.

 

“Get ready; you’re about to embark on a journey unlike anything else you’ve experienced.”

 

One of our MBAs here at CommonBond described it simply as “the best two years of my life”—and I think a lot of MBAs would agree. Cheers!

 

Have more questions about getting your MBA? We can help. Get connected to one of CommonBond’s own MBA alumni. They can answer your questions and make sure you are on a strong path toward b-school.

And don't forget to join CommonBond's Pre-MBA group on LinkedIn, where you can ask questions, connect to other "pre-MBAs," and be first to see exclusive b-school content.

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