A new MBA student has plenty on her plate: classes and projects, networking events, recruiting opportunities — not to mention the typical grad school challenges of making new friends and (for some) adjusting to a new city. Reader R wonders…
Hi there, I was wondering if there could be a post centered around starting a full-time business program? I’m moving in for orientation next week and would love to see a post (with reader comments) about how to balance schoolwork with social activities and career recruiting/networking, suggested reading (BusinessWeek and WSJ?), how to approach recruiting events with the major companies on campus, etc… Thanks!
I think this is a great question, so I reached out to a few MBAs I know, and asked the Corporette Facebook group for tips. I’ve always thought of the experience of getting a law degree very different than an MBA, if only because socializing and networking is such a big component of the MBA, compared with the mentality of “your GPA is everything” in the first semester or two of law school. Some good tips from friends, when asked about balance and reading recs:
- The first semester will be overwhelming. Focus on survival, and try to minimize outside commitments. It gets easier after that.
- Hahaha I had no balance. I was newly married, and then pregnant. Not prime times of life for going out. I guess that helped? I did read the WSJ every day, and used an RSS reader to keep track of industry news. And my GPA totally sucked. It all works out. Very few people fail their classes. I was told by an alum (who had been valedictorian) early on that it isn’t worth having a high GPA at the expense of the social and networking benefits and I took that to heart.
- The key to survival is figuring out which 20% of the assigned reading you ACTUALLY have to read.
Some other reading that may be interesting to you:
- Business reading: the WSJ, Bloomberg, Business Insider (it’ll be easier once you narrow your focus; right now look at it as a generalist), Harvard Business Review — you can also follow influencers you like on LinkedIn.
- Women’s business reading: The Forté Foundation, Forbes Woman, Catalyst.org, Ellevate Network (formerly 85 Broads) — there are a ton of others such as The Muse, but those tend to be more freelancer/entrepreneur focused.
- An amazing NYT article (that I recommend often here because it’s such an interesting read) about why some women DON’T excel at business school (hint: it’s not them — but understanding how some of the cards are stacked against you can be positive).
- An excellent post on “Making The Most of Your First Year in an MBA Program” from a second-year student at Kellogg.
- A collection of Stanford Business students’ accounts of a typical week in an MBA program, Chicago Booth student blogs at The Booth Experience, and blogs from MIT Sloan’s class of 2016
- I’d also suggest reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg — she only talks about her MBA experience briefly, but in general it’s a quick read and a good one.
- Also, Lisa from Privilege has blogged before about her takeaway from major MBA classes (an amusing read), and a friend of a friend is apparently planning to blog her Kellogg MBA experience (after being a TV producer for years) at TV to MBA.
A note about the Forté Foundation’s website: Their “MBA Central” offers free webinars, a schedule of in-person events, GMAT prep, tips on picking a school, free student membership, an e-newsletter, and more.
Psst: we’ve talked before about how to become a leader (including reading suggestions for leaders), as well as the best reading material for MBA students, deciding whether to get an MBA, financially preparing yourself for grad school, and getting used to a full-time student budget, all of which may be helpful to you as well.
Ladies, what are your best tips for folks going back for their MBA full time? What is the best reading for them; how do you suggest they balance school and life?
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