It has been about a month since I have started classes at UCLA Anderson, and it has been the greatest experience I could have asked for. My calendar has never been so overcrowded with classes, career fairs, corporate presentations, club meetings and of course social activities. As I am making my way through these crazy, jam-packed days with my classmates, there are a few things I wish I had known before starting as an MBA that would have helped ease the transition.
- Reading & Research – Depending on what career path a student is seeking, there will be varying degrees of preparation necessary for the job search. I am currently pursuing consulting, which has one of the most rigorous recruiting tracks and a very demanding interview preparation process. For anyone considering a similar career in consulting, I would recommend reading “Case in Point” by Marc Cosentino. It will not only introduce the concept of case interviews, and allow you to decide whether this path is the right one, but also gives a great head start on reading and practicing actual business cases, which is invaluable.
- Network… and then Network Some More – Once school starts and the MBA experience completely engulfs your time, there will be little time to backtrack and reach out to people such as a former employer or coworker. It is therefore imperative to solidify these connections before getting to campus. Even though there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people once at school, the focus is on company representatives, recruiters and classmates and time to play catch-up will be extremely limited.
- Get in the Study Habit – Even if it’s Just a Little Bit – Getting back into the swing of classes, assignments and tests is never easy, especially when there are so many other events and distractions that are constantly vying for students’ attention. Many schools offer waiver exams, and give students an opportunity to free up their schedule in the first year by passing out of some core classes. Even if waiving a class is not an option, studying statistics, accounting, economics and finance before arrival on campus will be a huge asset, and will allow a bit more free time away from studying to engage in club and career activities.
Hope you find some of these helpful, and good luck with the MBA application and preparation process!
Forté Fellow & MBA Candidate Class of 2015
UCLA Anderson School of Management