I had picked up that call from an unknown number and squealed in joy when I heard the words, “…We are excited to offer you admission to Columbia Business School.” I hugged the person next to me, our COO, who responded, “Checked out, already?” I wanted to throw my laptop down the office stairs, walk out and say, “Hell yeah!!”
But I didn’t. Not just yet.
While waiting for your admission decision may be agonizing, waiting to actually start school is no less painful. I know this first-hand: I was admitted last September, and have waited almost a full year to start at CBS!The joy you felt upon getting that letter is replaced by an immense desire to leave your job immediately if it weren’t for your miniscule savings account. The lack of desire I felt to continue working began to show and I quickly had to create ways through which I could maintain a balance between future CBS Sunny and current start-up Sunny.
Here are some of the methods I used (and use currently) to keep myself busy and sane. I divided them up into two categories: b-school and personal.
1. Get your to-do list DONE: Stay on-top of your to-do list, and complete b-school-related items (e.g. foreign student visas, figuring out how to finance your education, where to live) as they become available. You’ve got spare time now, so why not use it?
2. Know your career plans and start networking: B-school recruiting can be very grueling and at certain schools, can start as early as when you set foot on campus. The best way to reduce the stress you may feel at that point is to think about a suitable b-school exit now. This involves networking with individuals who are in industries and paths that are of interest to you, and then narrowing your recruiting approach when you start school.
3. Network with other students: Your classmates will become your greatest resource, so start meeting others before school starts. Hold a few happy hours and start building that alcohol tolerance that is so highly valued in school. For instance, I created the CBS Class of 2013 Facebook page, which has become a popular forum covering various topics such as financing, admitted student events, and summer travel plans. If you haven’t already, either join a Facebook group for your new class, or create one!
4. Set an exit timeline: Determine how much cash you think you will need for the summer months before you start and how many months you will need to continue working to save up that needed cash. As the date nears, have your exit interview, and exit gracefully – and not necessarily how you would have wanted to leave your job when you heard you got into school.
5. Hang out with family and friends: All those nights you spent slaving away at the office or – if you’re me – in crappy cities, is finally coming to an end. As you transition yourself out of your company, start making time for family and friends. You will not have this time when you start school, which may – like in my case – involve a move to a distant city.
6. Set personal goals: Lose weight (because you’ll definitely gain beer weight when you start!), take a comedy class, or even learn how to fly. All of these will add to the value you bring to the class and will make for some great stories during happy hours, interviews, etc.
* * *
Related articles from MBAsocial:
- Things to know before you go: Explore your business school city
- Things to know before you go: Start a company while you’re at business school
- Things to know before you go: Spend time with friends and family