MBA - Current MBA Students

3 Tips For Entering Business School This Fall

Featuring: Haas School of Business

It was a December evening in Boston, and I sat on the bus home as it crawled through the usual commuter traffic. My phone buzzed in my lap: a California number. This phone call – my acceptance into the Berkeley Haas full-time MBA program – transformed me from applicant to admit, and ultimately student.

Haas was the dream, and my family, friends and colleagues were part of that journey. Knowing what my decision would be, my Dad got me a Cal sweatshirt for Christmas that year, long before the formal decision deadline. Work was similar: I was fortunate to be in an environment in which I could be open about my plans, and shared the news with my Manager and team within a day.

The following months, I prepared: logistically for a cross-country move, and mentally, to uproot my life and become a student again. To the Class of 2021: here are some tips from the experience.

Relax a bit, and start fresh.

MBA programs are engaging, challenging, and fun. They are also very, very busy. Everyone is balancing academics, career, extra-curriculars, and social. You’re meeting hundreds of new people while also trying to find your own path.

My last day of work was in June, giving me roughly five weeks before moving to California. Taking this time gave me the mental and emotional space to get ready for the next phase. It doesn’t matter what you do – travel, spend time with friends and family, sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day – just let yourself appreciate the accomplishment, get excited, and breathe for a second.

Arrive early.

I landed in California two weeks before orientation, just in time for Haas’ Statistics and Communication Skills bootcamp. Beyond providing an opportunity to get back into the rhythm of school and dust off those quant skills, Math Camp brought everyone to campus. It was like a mini-orientation, a warm-up before the pace picked up.

Even if you happen to be a statistician, I would recommend arriving early. Even if you don’t participate, it’s a great way to settle in and meet some people.

Accept the uncertainty.

You’ve done your research, talked to people, and made an informed decision that an MBA is the right step for you, right now. Whether you are moving or staying put, 100% sure or taking a leap, you are about to make a big change. The experience will be highly personal. Some things will be what you expect, and some won’t.

Be patient, and give yourself some time to adjust. Most importantly, trust yourself – and your classmates – to make the experience a great one.


Erica Rhodin is a first-year full-time MBA student at the Haas School of Business. She has six years of experience designing and implementing scalable processes, technologies, and organizational models to drive growth and address business challenges, and holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University.

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