First Year of Business School: Advice from the Trenches

1. Not long ago, most of your recruiters were in your shoes – they are human. Be respectful, but don’t be overly impressed. You should go to interviews and corporatepresentations prepared to have a conversation and tell them about yourselves.

2. If you do not get involved with some activity outside of the classroom, you will not be reaping the full benefit of the MBA experience. There is a multitude of ways to get involved, and you will learn as much from these activities as you will from your studies. Activities will also help with you with networking and give yousomething to talk about in your interviews.

3. While plenty of people go back to their summer employer, many do not. Even if you end up not enjoying your summer internship, it’s still worthwhile to have the experience, and learn from it. Better to find out you don’t like banking on an internship than a full time job. Do your best and know that no matter what happens, it is a valuable learning experience.

4. Summer positions are often more competitive than full time offers. If you are not able to land your dream internship, you still have a great chance at the same job full-time.

5. Your grades really don’t count all that much. Even if your school has a grading system, after you graduate, no one is going to ask. So go to class to learn but don’t study so much that you miss out on the rest of the experience.

6. Your classmates will seem to be phenomenally accomplished, perhaps even intimidating. Don’t forget that you, too, were accepted into the class for a reason.The school believes that you have a great deal to contribute so make sure that you do.

7. Even if you are entering school with a firm idea of your career goals, use this time to explore a few options. Go to diverse corporate presentations, take classes in new subjects, interview with one company outside of your focus – you may be surprised.

8. You will probably gravitate to the “people like you”, from the same country, with similar backgrounds. Your MBA class is an extremely diverse group. If you make aneffort to get to know those outside of your comfort zone, your experience will be greatly enriched.

9. Not all, but most MBA programs are very flexible and constantly evolving. If youare dissatisfied with some aspect of the curriculum or programming, don’t sit back and complain, rather speak up and do something. Often you will be able to initiate a new class, a trip, a club, a conference and more.

10. Remember that your classmates, whether you like them or not, are your professional network. Your class and the classes above and below you are all members of this priceless network. While you will want to relax, enjoy and make friends, always keep in mind that you may network with any of these people down the line.

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About Stacy Blackman

Stacy Sukov Blackman launched her MBA admissions consulting company in 2001 and has since helped thousands of clients gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world, many with merit scholarships. Blackman is the author of "The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Business School," and has published a series of online guides which contain in depth guidance on how to develop essays for top business schools. Blackman has degrees from both the Wharton School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.