Posts Tagged ‘Preparing for the start of term’

Despite being miles away from campus, I can sense all the excitement as the new class began its first year. Ambitions, aspirations, interests, enthusiasm, excitement – the start of the MBA journey is accompanied by a crazy adrenaline rush!
Looking back, these were my key first year takeaways:
1. Plan – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”. Everyone has a reason for pursuing the MBA. Be sure to not just know but write down your purpose. Have a plan for what you want to achieve. With the ocean of choices and wide variety of leadership roles and other opportunities, it is easy to get lost without a concrete plan.

2. Focus – Once you have your plan and know what you are after, it’s easy to focus on what it is that you want. Sometimes, despite the focus and the hard work, things don’t go as planned. This is when planning becomes even more important. Because when you plan, you also plan for contingencies. If the MBA has ingrained something even more deeply in my thought process, it is decision trees. I always think of situations and know the possibilities and can be prepared.

3. Don’t overcommit – Don’t fall prey to the FOMO (fear of missing out) game. It is humanly impossible to be part of every single activity on campus. Prioritise what you want. In my case, travel and some fun club activities took the backseat for career related stuff in the first term.

4. Balance – Balance is better than just being academic/ career focused or just partying. The important thing is that this balance is different for different people depending on their plans and reasons for the MBA. A career changer may have a different sense of balance than what a sponsored candidate would have. Knowing the right sense of balance for oneself is important.

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The admit letter!!  After months of preparing for GMAT, school visits, interviews and a nervous, anxious wait, you finally have a tangible output, starry aspirations and an ego boost.  Now, the honeymoon begins? After a well-deserved break, I think it is time to go back to the drawing board.

Perhaps the best advice is – Really (really, really) use the time before school to reflect on what you expect out of your MBA experience.  If you are a career switcher (like me) I think it is imperative that you do some ground work.  I divided my goals broadly in 4 categories:

1)    Personal – Get married!!! , Travel
2)    Logistics – Apply for a student loan, complete formalities of acceptance, accommodation in London, transfer money (without those exotortionary rates), stay on top of  emails from Program office
3)    Academics – if you are weak in a particular subject area (accounting  etc)
4)    Networking – connect with classmates and alumni (Facebook and Linked-in) and reach out to professionals in my potential career choice.

Planning is great but I found out all the tasks took much longer than I anticipated – so please don’t be hard on yourself if you feel you are falling behind. Try your best. And remember to have fun – Term 1 will hit you hard before you know!

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