Insights for the Incoming Class
Wow. July 19th. It’s hard to believe my fellow classmates and I are at the midway point of our internships which, of course, also means we’re halfway through summer. Fall semester will be here before we know it and, if last year was any indication, this upcoming school year will fly by.
As I get ready to embrace the title of “Second Year,” I can’t help but to think of how nervous I was this time last year about the adventure awaiting me. Because of that, I thought I would share some thoughts and tips for those preparing to walk through Kogod’s doors for orientation next month.
First: You’ll quickly realize that some of you know exactly what you want to do with your MBA and some of you won’t be quite sure. For those in the former category, I suggest you hit the ground running and start networking with second year MBAs who have similar interests or experience in the industry you want to get into.
Attend the career fairs and work on making connections – you never know what will turn into an internship offer. Also, make sure you sit down with the Kogod Center for Career Development (KCCD) so you can put together your internship strategy. Do this early in the semester in order to allow yourself enough time to develop your plan of attack.
However, if you fall into the latter category, don’t panic. Take it from someone who was in that position! I promise you, it will all come together and, remember, it will come together for everyone at different points throughout the first year of your program. It wasn’t until about two weeks into spring semester that I realized I wanted to go into marketing. So go to the various industry days, chat with second years, your professors and the KCCD team. Soon enough, you will figure out what direction you want to go.
Second: Study partners. Find them. Embrace them. You’re going to be spending a lot of quality time together throughout the school year. I would not have survived Accounting and Finance without my study partners. Also, find these lovely folks early in the semester. You don’t want to be that student scrambling two weeks before your accounting final because you still don’t understand what is considered a debit or a credit… which was on the first midterm. Same goes with your tutors. Befriend them early, as well.
Oh, and speaking of midterms? You’ll have two. And then a final. Ohio University was on the quarter system when I was in undergrad, so we had a midterm at the halfway point of the semester and then a final. Let’s just say I was not pleased when I found out that we had to go through two rounds of midterms before we even got to the final, but I digress…
Third: Every MBA blog out there mentions time management at one point or another. Yes, time management is important, especially when you’re working on group projects and your time management (or lack thereof!) affects your group members. However, I have a slightly different spin on this and that is to protect your time. I worked throughout my first year and will continue to do so this upcoming year.
A few weeks into my first semester, I soon realized I needed to draw the line when it came to group meetings that were less-than-productive, various extracurricular activities and other commitments because I needed to connect with my boss or send client emails. You only have so many hours in a day to get your work done and you must be in charge of how that time is spent.
You’re going to be stressed. You’re going to be overwhelmed. You’ll get through it. So my final tip is to have fun. Hang out with your classmates off campus and don’t talk about school (at least try not to!). Take a break from the project you’re working on, leave the breakout room you have been holed up in all afternoon and go to happy hour with your study partners. Put together an intramural team. Whatever you do, make sure you’re having fun. Your first year at Kogod will be over before you know it and you should enjoy it as much as you can along the way.