Tips for new MBAs

This week sees the start of the LEAD programme for all our 2014.15 MBAs.    The first group (in total 7 groups) is an enthusiastic and energetic bunch of people ready to tackle the next two years.

This got me thinking.  Year on year students stumble over what we see as minor stumbling block.  I got a group of current MBA students and alumni together to draw up a list of tips of our new MBAs.

They recommend getting through your first year:

  • Don’t leave your pre-reading to the last minute.  You are just cheating yourself, your fellow classmates and the faculty.  Do a little bit every evening.
  • You need a support structure while on the MBA.  Don’t forget to say please and thank you to your family, friends and colleagues who want to see you succeed.  Make sure your loved ones feel loved and are supported too!
  • Get to know as many of your classmates as possible and don’t just stick with the same crowd.
  • Support your classmates and share material, ideas and insights
  • Take it step-by-step.  You can worry about your research in a few months.  Focus on getting into the new routine and a new way of thinking.
  • Respect your brand and reputation, you are leaving a lasting impression with a lot of influential people.
  • Always bring any content, tools or models back into the context we live and work in – this will prove very successful in exams.
  • Your syndicate is like your family, you can’t choose them but you have to learn to love them.  Find out who is good at what and build on each other’s strengths.
  • Be nice to the second years.

  • Make friends with alumni.
  • Start the spade-work with faculty from day 1 – supervisors are everything on the research.
  • Life still happens – plan ahead get things done early so life doesn’t happen to your assignment.
  • No matter what anyone says about getting the full experience – splitting the syndicate assignments up in your group makes for much happiness.
  • You WILL start comparing your own environment to what you learn in class.  You WILL be tired and grumpy.  You WILL PROBABLY make some comments to your work colleagues which you may regret later.  Keep your head down and save the criticism for after you’ve finished and taken some time to rationalise things.
  • Take thorough notes in class and imagine yourself having to write a short exam straight after each session.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  There is nothing like a stupid question.  It is good to make your voice heard.
  • Get into a routine and try stick to it.
  • The MBA is a degree in time management. VERY IMPORTANT POINT

Tips for your second year and research:

  • Electives are not a walk in the park.  Be nice to the second years, you may get some hints.
  • WRT research.  Slaps from my supervisor… it’s a masters, not a doctorate.  120 pieces of literature is a bit much (30 is apparently fine).  Using Atlas for your literature review is probably a bit of an overkill.  20 statistical tests are also probably a bit much….
  • Qualitative is a lot more difficult than quantitative even if you have no idea what a factorial analysis is and how many degrees of freedom are acceptable.
  • Interviews take time – don’t assume access will be granted.  Take breath mints.

Good luck with your studies and know the Information Centre is there to support you.


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