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How MBAs Can Use The Summer Before School Starts

For most applicants, the summer between admissions decisions and the start of school represents a badly needed reprieve from the stresses of the application process before diving into an entirely new set of stresses related to academics, social life, and recruiting.

But the summer months also represent a great opportunity to prepare yourself for new adventures to come, and there are plenty of easy ways to make sure you arrive at school ahead of the curve.

Familiarize yourself with the curriculum

“The first thing to do is look at the first year curriculum and see what courses are going to be most challenging for you,” explains Alex Min, CEO of The MBA Exchange. “If you’re armed with that insight, you can read books on the topic or even hire a tutor to brush up on the subject.”

And while studying over the summer probably sounds unpleasant to some, it is much more unpleasant to teach yourself a new subject during the school year, when you have significantly more responsibilities and little to no free time.

Invest time up front to prepare for your job search

Caroline Diarte Edwards, Director at Fortuna Admissions, says “preparing for your job search is [also] a good use of your time. Time goes very quickly once you get to campus, and there are so many wonderful ways to spend your time once you’re there, so invest time up front in preparing your job search.”

This prep could include building an initial target list of companies, conducting industry research, or even starting the networking process.

Maintain a long-term perspective

While you’re doing all of this summer prep, it’s important to maintain a strategic point of view. “Aim past the target,” says Angela Guido, founder of Career Protocol. This tactic is commonly used in martial arts: aiming past your target (e.g. the wall behind your combatant’s head) gives you the best chance of hitting the target in the first place.

“Your next target after [being accepted to school] is that summer internship, so you should be aiming for the full-time job you want” in order to maximize your chances, says Guido.

This sort of long-term approach can be really fruitful as you approach school, and there’s no better time than the present to start thinking about the future.

Sarah Rumbaugh is the CEO of RelishCareers, an online platform that helps master’s-level business school students connect directly with corporate recruiters. Available to students and alumni from network schools, RelishCareers gives candidates access to employer branding and MBA and MS-specific career exploration resources (including exclusive webinars).