Being a new student can be difficult--no matter how old you are or how many years of school you already have under your belt. This can be especially true for first-year MBA students. They are thrown into a new environment that is known for being rigorous, challenging, and quite frequently competitive. Most are nervous about the prospect and spend a great deal of time struggling with the transition. If you are in the same spot, the following tips may help.
Tour Your School
One of the problems with being in a new environment is that you don't always know where you're going. This can make it hard to get to class on time and find the resources you need. Before your class sessions start, be sure to take a thorough tour of the school. Familiarize yourself with the location of all of your classes as well as the facilities you might use--the library, the admissions office, the career center, etc. Knowing where you are going will make the first few days a lot easier to get through.
Establish a Schedule
Making time for classes and coursework can be a challenge, especially if you are trying to balance a job and family with your education. The first few months can be particularly overwhelming. Establishing a schedule early on can help you stay on top of everything. Buy or download a daily planner and use it to track everything you need to do each day. Making lists and crossing things off as you complete them will keep you organized and help you with your time management.
Learn to Work in a Group
Many business schools require study groups or team projects. Even if your school does not require this, you may want to consider joining or starting your own study group. Working with other students in your class is a great way to network and get team experience. Although it is not a good idea to try to get other people to do your work for you, there is no harm in helping each other work through difficult material. Depending on others and knowing that others depend on you is also a good way to stay on track academically.
Learn to Read Dry Text Quickly
Reading is a huge part of business school coursework. In addition to a textbook, you will also have other required reading materials, such as case studies and lecture notes. Learning how to read a lot of dry text quickly will help you in each one of your classes. You shouldn't always speed read, but you should learn how to skim text and assess what is important and what is not.
Networking is a big part of the business school experience. For new MBA students, finding time to network can be a challenge. However, it is very important that you incorporate networking into your schedule. The contacts you meet in business school can last a lifetime and may just help you get a job after graduation.
It is easy advice to give and hard advice to follow. But the truth is that you shouldn't worry. Many of your fellow students share the same concerns. They are nervous too. And like you, they want to do well. The advantage in this is that you are not alone. The nervousness you feel is perfectly normal. The key is to not let it stand in the way of your success. Although you may be uncomfortable at first, your business school will eventually begin to feel like a second home. You will make friends, you will get to know your professors and what is expected of you, and you will keep up with the coursework if you give yourself enough time to complete it and ask for help when you need it. Get more tips on how to manage school stress.