Much has been said and spoken on as what is to be done during the two years of MBA, but there are some unsaid things too which a candidate should refrain from doing in a B-school.
Prior to joining a B-school, one should be clear about the fact that MBA is not any another degree just like Engineering or for that matter any course, and B-school isn't like any other place. The rules and cheat codes are different here!
First things first – Gulping of theories is a strict ‘No’ in a B-school. Theories are futile here. What really works here is the application part. No matter how well you know the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of a Marketing Plan, if you aren’t able to design an impactful marketing plan then all your efforts of gulping theories and making thick notes are futile. On similar lines, there’s nothing called a ‘Syllabus’ in MBA. You don’t need to stick to particular books and topics. Read diverse books, research papers, journals and HBR cases studies. (Jahaan sey gyaan mile, le lo!)
Procrastination is the second not-to-do thing that you need to unfollow in a B-school. Whatever comes to your way, you need to do it then and there and get over it because you have a hundred more things to do in the next hour. Delaying the task will take you nowhere and is merely a lag. You need to, at least, maintain your pace along with others. Be it a Case study, Assignment, Pre-read or Committee work, get it done asap and move ahead. This will help you in putting your time in critical stuff.
Introspect and find out if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. If it comes out to be the latter, you’re safe but if it’s former then you need to really work on your personality type. B-school is a place where you learn more by interacting with your fellow folks, corporate stalwarts and subject matter experts than books. And in order to have a sound interaction, you need to have an outgoing personality. The concept of ‘keeping-yourself-confined’ doesn’t work here. You should be open and feel confident and comfortable in conversing with new people. Open up!
Next thing on the list is having and strictly sticking to ‘ONE’ group. I agree that there should be a close circle but you should not restrict yourself to only those 5-6 close buddies. The biggest blunder that students do is that they ignore their batchmates and entirely get committed to those 5-6 friends. I believe those close folks will be there only. Two years is a very short duration and so you need to try to work with different people and in different groups. This will give you the team insights and help in understanding team dynamics. MBA is a try-fail-try kind of affair and you must try to mix with everyone. The approach should be to work with the entire batch in one or another assignment/project. In continuum, converse with the seniors, build a healthy relationship with seniors as their inputs are really substantial. You need be in continuous conversations with them. Keep them updated on what all is happening and how you’re doing.
Deep insights come from deep discussions. And such discussions happen in classrooms. Thus, the next thing to avoid is bunking the classes unreasonably. It is my personal experience that the best outcomes come from classroom debates – so many inputs, facts & figures catapulting and cross-questioning and at last, the class ends with no right or wrong answer but a thought and direction. That’s the real beauty of MBA classes. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to never bunk the classes. Miss the class only if you believe that what you’re going to do in that time frame is more valuable than class.
There will be certainly certain situations where you need to be really strong and thus here’s the next thing to not to do – Never break down. I’ve seen students breaking down and behaving like they’ve lost everything. There are some good days and equally not-so-good days. So, you need to be strong enough to manage yourself, especially in not-good days. Collapsing and dissolving into tears is not acceptable in a B-school. You need to stay strong, prepare yourself for the worst situation and act like a self-motivator.
MBA is nothing but business. And even the small general store in the campus is a business. The point I want to make here is that you can learn from even the minuscule thing. Don’t ignore the BASICS. Observe the environment and people around you. A small in-campus store is a business and you can learn what strategy is the store-guy is implementing to increase revenues, what kind of stuff is he selling, how is he managing store’s daily operations, how accounts are being managed by him and how he treats his customer and a co-worker (if any). And to understand all this, go and talk to the store owner. Whatever we read in books (store management, marketing, operations, JIT, demand, and supply etc. etc.), everything is being implemented in that small store. Thus, try to apply such sort of approach to learning and understanding the business in a simpler yet comprehensive way. In short, don’t ignore BASICS.
The last one is my favourite not-to-do and apparently, I hate the most i.e. Doing nothing. You have invested lacs of rupees, two-years and have put so much efforts to get into a B-school; do not just pass the time. Believe me, until unless you do something, no company will offer you a job – no matter whether you belong to an IIM or any other top-class institute. Getting into a B-school is just a beginning and not the end. The real journey starts once you’re in. The competition is fierce. Everyone is the best. And everyone wants the best. In such a case, you can’t afford to sit and do nothing. The non-study stuff (trips, drinks, relationships) can go hand-in-hand with studies. Many manage both beautifully and excel. In a nutshell, once you’re in a B-school, you need to do something to achieve something.
The list is not exclusive one and does not end here. But yes, these are a few of the many things that can help you in one or the other way, provided you don’t do all the above mentioned. Apart from all this, whatever you feel can hamper your learning and progress, avoid doing that.
Make the most out of these two years.
All the best and have a great journey!