5 Mantras For Surviving The First Year At A B-School

Hola newbies (even though I know I may be addressing some of those who have a work-ex as high as 5-6 years). Congratulations on landing in the college of your dreams. Let the feeling sink in for some time before you move on to what can only be called the best and the most challenging year of your academic career, if not life.

First of all, not all that you hear is true. Yes, the first year is difficult, no two ways about it. But some things are over-hyped. It is better to discover the journey for yourself rather than just hearing & formulating pre-conceived notions about it. Still, having gone through the ordeal myself, let me take the opportunity and try to list down some hacks you can use to survive the dreaded first year at your b-school.

Things To Keep In Mind During The First Year Of MBA

  • Healthy competition is not a cliché: In a batch of over 450 students (for IIMs), you are competing with each of them. But the irony is, you cannot do without them. You need their help at every stage from now, and they will, in due time, become your closest companions. So, what do you do when your friends are your competition? Well, the idea is to do your best. Be the best version of yourself and put in your 100%. Try not to focus too much on what others are doing, but rather put your best foot forward.
  • To each his own: The batch will consist of different students with varied experiences, exposure, and upbringing. To constantly fret over what others have/will achieve, is a sheer waste of time. Try to figure out why you really wanted to be in a B-school in the first place (not the cliched why MBA answers though) and work towards achieving it. Some may be early risers, some may be nigh-owls. Do what suits you best and leave the rest.
  • Your forte: Many of us are clueless when we enter the gates of a b-school for the first time. One important management learning of all times is more the time you spend in planning, lesser the time you’ll have to spend on execution. Take your own sweet time in figuring out what you want and how you wish to go about it. The first few months you might find yourself bogged down by the opportunities and circumstances, the b-school will throw at you. But have patience and take time to figure it all out before jumping to the ‘execution’ part.
  • Biting off more than you can chew: This is one huge mistake many of us make when we enter a b-school. We try to do it all. It is essential that we respect our limits. There’s only so much you can do in the finite number of waking hours you have. So, it is ok if you let go of a few things you thought would want to do but can’t do now. Classify your to-do list in the order of urgency & importance and let go of what you could do without.
  • Rest for the best: As much as many seasoned b-school gurus hate to admit it, but MBA students do sleep! How could you not? One needs a minimum number of hours to function properly. Do not give your body the unnecessary jolt of sleep-deprivation if you could do without going to that overnight party or avoid attending that late-night phone call. Try to stick to a schedule so that your body functions well because you need to be at your very best every day of those 2 years.

I know the above pointers may not be the necessary & sufficient conditions for succeeding at a b-school. But the idea is to be kind to yourself. You will get there. You just need to choose your battles wisely and ace it.

May the force be with you!

Further Reading:

5 Survival Tips For The Class Of 2020

MBA First Term Ultimate Survival Tips By An IIM Bangalore Student

11 Tips And Tricks For Your First Year At An IIM

MBA Survival Cheat Codes By An Extraordinarily Ordinary Student Of XLRI

Sambhavi Ganguly

Sambhavi Ganguly is a second-year student at IIM Lucknow. She is a Core Member of IIM Lucknow's Industry Interaction Cell. She has about 4 years of work-ex in Synopsys India as an R&D Engineer. She loves reading and dancing. She lives by the mantra of "Keep it simple, silly!" :)