The Economist Ranks B-School Networks

advice road signsSome Honest Advice about Business School

You probably have an image of business school. The men dress like Alex Keaton and the women like Miranda Priestly. Everyone is taking a two-year sabbatical, spending their days drinking and playing Xbox. Some prospective students even envision a two-year job search, where they build a Rolodex and earn that magical ticket to easy street.

Boy, does that picture fade fast.

Suddenly, they’re working twice as hard … without earning a dime. They’re battling fifty others for a coveted summer internship. And their cost of living is burning through their loans faster than expected. Will I get the right job? Will I ever pay off my loans? Can I make this relationship work?  Those questions are hanging over them for two years. And they’ll always wonder if they made the right choice.

Napping on booksLooking for some other realities about business school? Beecher Tuttle of eFinancial Careers, recently surveyed four recent MBAs, three from top 20 schools. Here are some unexpected lessons they gained from their two years in business school:

  • It Isn’t Easy To Change Careers: According to one graduate, “Expect you will have to work twice as hard as someone with industry experience to get up to speed in your first post-MBA role,” he said. “I was at least a year behind my class peers when I started and didn’t realize this until six months into the job at which point I was probably 18 months behind them in knowledge.”
  • Recruiters Start Early: Recruiting starts the minute students step foot onto campus, if not earlier. As a result, Tuttle encourages them to master the basics early.Schedule your core courses–accounting, statistics, strategy etc.–during your first semester. You’ll then have a more solid base during the first round of internship interviews. If some concepts are fairly new to you, take an online course during the summer so you aren’t cramming while networking/interviewing. This also helps getting acclimated toward being back in school.”
  • Popularity matters: According to one grad, it pays to make real relationships. Aside from the companionship, students may need their classmates’ help to look good and make things happen. In particular, this grad advises students to identify the brightest students for group projects. “…be aggressive and ask to be in their group. If you aren’t smart enough, become the organizer.”
  • Don’t Waste Your Spare Time: You’ll have more time than you expect, warns one MBA. In fact, you may have more time than when you were working “even if you do all the readings and all the work.” Just don’t take your free time for granted. As this same grad noted, “I watched a lot of SportsCenter and dipped a lot.” Another graduate advises using your time strategically. While the clubs, networking events, and lectures are helpful, this graduate cautions against getting spread too thin. “Assess the value of every opportunity selfishly,” he says.

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Source: Business Insider

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