How To Make The Most Out Of First Few Months In MBA
June-July are the months when action begins in b-schools. Thousands of eyes filled with dreams and bank account debited heavily (barring a few) steps in to campuses. Welcomed with ‘Personality Development Sessions’, team bonding activities and long inductions (read: boring) kick off the first year. Often energy-draining, intense, experimental, sleepless, exciting and rewarding (depends upon choices you make); first year of MBA is definitely eventful.
With the heavy workload, assignments, PPTs and committee selection; difference between days and nights often become a blur. In performing this balancing act, one might lose sight of ‘How to make most out of MBA’. First few months in b-schools are often very critical to set the sail of journey towards the right direction. Here is a list of things that can help one in setting the sail-
1. The Academic Project Group: In a lot of institutions, project groups are formed by the program office itself, while many give this flexibility to students. Project group mates would be the people with whom you would interact the most initially. As it happens in a lot of teams: 80:20 rule might apply here as well, where 80% of work is done by 20% of members. Free riders exist everywhere, make sure that you don’t get one in your group. Try to bring diversity to your group; the more you debate and re-iterate, the greater is the learning.
2. Is Academic Knowledge the Key? While many would downplay the importance of academics for ROI in MBA; one needs look from a slightly different perspective for expanding their knowledge base. Every term can have close to 6-8 major projects which make it to approx. 20 projects in the first year; make sure that you choose a different sector and company every time for the projects that you do. This would also help you prepare for summer placement interviews.
3. Networking: On an average, there are approx. 350 students in a year of b-schools, it might go up to 650+ in case of IMT or IIM-I, might go down to 70-80 in baby IIMs; but then let’s take the average of 350. As a lot of people say, Alumni base is the biggest asset of any b-school. You’ve got an opportunity to connect with 699 future business leaders, CXOs directly on campus. Connect with as many people as you can, don’t be limited to seniors from your club/committee only. Immediate advantages that you would get are the insights on companies and processes for summer internship, and long-term benefits are immense.
4. Don’t make Competitions your priority: This is the time when registration for a lot of corporate competition opens. Folks who have just joined the b-school and started taking basic classes, start registering for these competitions. Cracking these competitions need in-depth understanding of various frameworks and their application. A marketing competition would involve finance and operations into it as well as the HR aspect. All of this would not be mentioned in the problem statement but it comes naturally when you complete a few basic courses. Riding many boats at a time would only undermine your prospect of getting to the shore. Utilise your time first to understand the concept, models and their applications and strike hard once you are ready.