Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. We asked current MBA candidates what wisdom or knowledge would have been most helpful before they started graduate school.
Stay in touch
You should’ve started building your Rolodex years ago. I didn’t keep in good touch with many people from college or people at previous jobs. Networking is easier the more people you know and the better you know them. Be authentically interested in everyone.
– Stephanie Hardiman Simon, Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelley School of Business), MBA Class of 2019
Try new things
Look for opportunities at work to try new projects and lead initiatives. Work with people with different styles than you and see what works and what doesn’t. In general, try things outside your comfort zone so you will be prepared to do it (almost) every day in grad school!
– Elizabeth MacLaughlin, University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management), MBA Class of 2019
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track. I worried that making lateral moves to pursue a different track or taking up an activity to try something new would make me seem less goal-oriented when applying, but that is exactly what will give you insight into what you want.
– Adi Rajapuram, University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management), MBA Class of 2019
Take the GMAT while you’re fresh
As painful as it sounds, take the GMAT as soon as possible out of undergrad. The score is valid for five years, so don’t worry about applying right out of school. Just secure the score while your brain is fresh before it gets out of test-taking mode.
– Danielle Molyet, University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business), Class of 2019
I would have taken the GMAT a couple of years before applying. It would have made the application process a bit less overwhelming. I also took three months off before my program started and benefited from arriving at school fresh and firing on all cylinders.
– Georgina Young, HEC-Paris, MBA Class of 2019
Give yourself a break
I wish I had taken more time before starting graduate school to get back into that “school life” mentality. It’s really different going from working full-time back to school full-time, and I wish I had traveled and rested more before that transition.
– Casey Brown, University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business), Class of 2019
The hardest part of transitioning back to school is getting started. Once you begin studying for the GMAT and writing your applications, things begin to feel more natural. I started scheduling 30 minutes once a week to spend time thinking about where I wanted to be in 5, 10, and 20 years, and it was so helpful to reflect back on those notes while working on my application!
– Margaret Fletcher, University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School) MBA Class of 2019