The first term of a business school is hectic. This cannot be stressed enough. With resume finalisation, academic workload, cultural orientation sessions, college festivals, competitions, and a million other things to occupy one's mind, it easy to feel over-encumbered and lost among choices. Proactively preparing for the coming terms in the months leading up-to joining date makes the transition much easier.
So here are some prior to-dos to get the best out of your two years:
1. Prep your resume: Trying to build a resume while juggling multiple events crisscrossing your day is a difficult feat. Having basic points ready beforehand goes a long way. List down all your achievements from your junior school to current day. Make a note of what strengths they show. Points are easy to recollect when you are relaxed and don’t have a 12 am deadline looming (and you will have a lot of those). If possible gather the required proofs for them as well, as most schools have a strict verification process.
2. Network: One of the biggest asset MBA provides you is connections. In a few months, a future CXO or industry pundit might be having dinner on the same table as you. Start reaching out early, connect with students and alumni on the social network, and actively participate in informal meetings the Institute organises. Seniors know what choices you will face in the coming months and have extensive views on them. Chatting them up gives you significant insight into the life ahead and (especially for introverts) removes awkwardness when you approach them on campus.
3. Read up material: The first term courses are designed to clear basics. Despite intimidating appearances, they are just extensions of common sense and concept application. If you find yourself with free time, look up online resources (Coursera, Khan Academy, Youtube) or read up standard XI and XII NCERT books on Economics, Statistics and Accounting (if you are feeling adventurous try Marketing). Later even if you don’t remember the exact definitions, it will be easier to keep up in class and note the important tidbits that are not in the official course material.
4. Regulate sleep: Reminiscing about past sleeping hours and habits is a favourite pastime of first year MBA students. Hit by the initial wave of assignments and other submissions, sleep duration is crunched to 2-3 hours or at times to no sleep at all. Students often find themselves disoriented, removed from peak efficiency or asleep during classes. Reducing sleep hours in the weeks leading up to the joining date can help cushion the shock of drastic sleep deprivation. Try aiming for 6-7 hours, as in the long run, the daily sleep time will average off at 5-6 hours.
5. Explore yourself: The frenzied schedule leaves little time for self-discovery and being without purpose can lead to herd mentality. Travel, read, meditate, or party. Whatever you do, it should help you introspect and clear your objectives.
Reading all this can make it seem that MBA is a prickly path to tread. It’s true, the objective is to train you for the unpredictable challenges higher up in your career ladder. The 2 years spent at a b-school doesn’t provide you with a rule-book to solve all contingencies but instead enables you to analyse and solve problems under constraints. So breathe in and relax.
And there are the perks as well. Memorable parties, supportive seniors, a variety of college festivals & clubs, interactive sessions with speakers. Life is hectic but if managed properly, it’s enjoyable.
Follow through the aforementioned points and the transition into the MBA life will be a lot smoother.