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What Should I Do the Summer Before Business School?

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Business school is a major investment in your career. With so much time and money tied up in your upcoming education, it is important to take some time to prepare in order to ensure you get the best return on your investment (or as you will say in business school, "ROI"). When you prepare in advance, you put your career on track for the biggest possible boost.

As you count down the days until classes begin, you are in an ideal timeframe to position yourself for success. That may involve internships or career changes, hanging out by the pool for some summer reading, or getting your finances ready for the costs of your new degree.

Find a relevant internship

If you currently have a full-time role, it may be wise to keep it over the summer for the income, possible financial support, and benefits that can help out a lot. If you are in a role that allows you to thrive in school and aligns with your long-term goals, seriously consider sticking around—at least through the end of the summer. But, of course, a job from before your MBA program may not be the ideal situation in the long-run.

Or, if you don't already have a job relevant to your post-business-school career plan, consider taking on an internship for your summer before business school begins. Internships are an ideal fun way to experience and overcome real business challenges, the types of problems you will examine through case studies in school.

If you can find a paid internship, this income can help with your upcoming school expenses while simultaneously setting you up for a better job upon graduation. Still,  the biggest benefits come from testing out new career paths and jobs to know what suits you best when you graduate.

Warm up for school with summer reading

While you are enjoying the last couple of months before school starts, don't forget your summer reading list! You have a lot of required reading ahead, so take some time in the summer before business school to do a little fun reading and brush up on your business IQ at the same time.

Start by looking for books relevant to your degree that offer an interesting story, not just dense textbook-style content. Finance majors may enjoy Barbarians at the Gate, while future marketers may prefer books like Seth Goodin's Purple Cow and Permission Marketing.

This is also a great opportunity to start practicing the language of business. The business world reads The Wall Street Journal and watches CNBC. These media outlets offer an opportunity to get up to speed on modern business challenges.

While you're at it, choose a few fun books before school starts to keep your mind sharp outside of the business section. There's nothing wrong with a little Harry Potter or another fun read to mix things up.

Prepare a solid financial plan for your education

Lastly, take some time aside to build your financial plan for business school. MBA degree-holders from 16 of the top 20 business schools graduated with an average of $94,962 in student loans. Doing a little work ahead of time can help you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes when financing your education.

Start by simplifying and streamlining your financial accounts to make them as easy to manage as possible. Then do research on the full cost of attendance and create a budget for your time in school. Take into account the cost of tuition, fees, books, room and board, and other expenses you may incur during school.

Get started with a favorite budgeting app or budgeting method to track your spending so you don't have any worries when your first payment is due. You may get access to some federal student loans — or look to additional MBA loans — to meet your entire financial need in business school.

Get ready for an amazing experience

Business school can be life changing. Like most other opportunities to improve your life, you get out of it what you put into it. By setting yourself up for success before you arrive, you are taking the right steps to maximize the value of your business school experience.

Use the summer before school starts to your advantage in order to get the best value from your business school experience while laying a solid foundation for your financial future. If you are getting ready for business school and have yet to lock in your financing, check out the MBA student loan program at CommonBond.

CommonBond is currently hosting our annual MBA Summer Series, weekly events at our Soho, NYC headquarters geared toward business school students and graduates. For more information, click here.

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