Agenda For Your Business School Stint – A 10 Point Checklist
Business School is typically the last educational institution for most students though there could be a couple of exceptions. All the same here is a list of 10 must do’s in any Business School, in no particular order, other than the always existing academic rigour. It is a personal opinion and there are many other points that could be added to the list!
1. Build Relationships: As Napolean Hill quotes “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” Networking is one of the most important elements of your Business School tenure. A wise way to begin would be through interaction with your peers, seniors, alumni etc. At the outset, it would be worthwhile to activate your professional networking account such as Linkedin. In the corporate world too, everything centres around building relationships and there isn’t a better place to begin than a Business School. Who knows, your dream job may be knocking at your door through that network!
2. Participate in Competitions: A number of business schools have competitions to cater to different areas of interest, skillsets and functional spheres. One must participate in competitions be it debates, article writing, thematic whitepapers, case study analysis, business games etc. This can not only earn laurels for your institute but also boost your self-confidence and help you to shape up into a maestro. These competitions also enable one to interact with students from other institutes and to grow professionally.
3. Develop your soft skills: A business school is a good learning ground to elevate one’s communication skills, interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, managerial & leadership capabilities etc. among others. Be it in group activities, events or study circles, almost always develop and boost these soft skills. It helps you to retain a competitive advantage and stay focused on the bigger picture whilst pursuing your own goals. Add finesse to your managerial repertoire and the responsibility for this is on you!
4. Be a part of committees and clubs: Most business schools have placement cells, extracurricular clubs, committees for events etc. Make sure that you are a part of at least one such cell as it is an enriching diversion from classroom learning and a positive way to channelize your energy in activities that interest you. It also helps one to interact with peers and seniors who share similar thought processes in that spectrum. Thus, the learning from such an interaction would leverage your experience to a new horizon.
5. Lead, don’t always follow: Take the initiative in group projects, events or committees. Organizations generally don’t appreciate complacent employees, so instead practise this from your business school days. There is a tendency to get influenced by peers who feel that certain activities don’t add value. This could be attributed to the fact that everyone has priorities. Set your priorities right, from the beginning. While “What’s in it for me?” is important, a good leader is one who would always consider the bigger picture of “What’s in it for them?” so that an overall balance is maintained.
6. Pursue some hobbies and socialize: Amidst the grilling academic schedule and juggling with assignments, take some time out to rejuvenate through sports, indoor games, playing musical instruments or doing any other activity that interests you. In corporate parlance, they say, “Work hard, party harder, as you know that you have to get back to work.” Keep a fixed time every week for this activity and adhere to it. You will definitely be more effective with added vigour for the upcoming hectic week!
7. Market yourself: While this is normally a trait inherent in a personality, I believe it is very essential that students should market themselves in a discrete way in Business School. Don’t overdo it to be considered a show off, but don’t be someone who is relegated to the background either. In organisations too, be it a promotion or an international posting, the choice of an employee to be considered for the same, is perception based to a very large extent. Gone are the days when a job is defined and you get your due based on that definition. Walk the extra mile and be known!
8. Engage in Group Dynamics: This is also a fundamental learning point in Business School with a dynamic blend of students from diverse backgrounds who share different ideologies and beliefs. Be a good listener in group assignments and be open to learning. Opine and be assertive, don’t always succumb to peer pressure in a group. A simple technique for cumbersome groups is to delegate work based on a peer known and proven skillsets, though ones reaction should be situation based. Avoid arguments as it is a mere waste of a valuable resource – time but try to resolve conflicts in an accommodating mode.
9. Complete Certificate Courses: The 1 or 2 year stint is the perfect time to pursue add-on courses relevant for your career. These could be certifications from renowned institutions, foreign languages or anything that will upgrade your resume. A word of advice here though – Don’t do something since your whole batch is doing it, do it only if you are fully convinced that it is something of value to you. Besides, keep the budget in mind too as you have already spent a good amount on your education, with a loan too probably. However, once you start working, it may be difficult to make the time for this!
10. Interact with faculty: Most institutes have the best brains in the fraternity as faculty, some with a corporate exposure and others with academic expertise. Make the most of this opportunity and interact with them. Most faculties are seasoned personalities with humility as their driving force, who can guide your decision making process to a great extent. They are also the backbone in events and competitions and share their ideas to bring in new perspectives. Don’t be afraid to go up to them for advice or help!
I would like to conclude with the words of Robin S Sharma – “As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.”
That new normal will definitely go a long way in helping you to become a successful professional with a glorious career. So ignite that new normal during your Business School days! Wishing you the best in your future endeavours!