What To Do Before You Start Your MBA
“You have a month. Make it count.”
You can bet that the Class of 2017 is starting to feel the heat. Soon enough, they’ll be racing to campus, not quite sure what awaits them. They’ve heard the stories. From recruiters to clubs, everyone wants a piece of you. You’re running 100 MPH for 16 hours a day. And those quant courses are no joke!
So what can you do to prepare for the onslaught? Recently, Cristina Arango, a second year at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, produced a 10-point checklist for incoming students as part of her internship with Pymetrics.
Like most, Arango encourages new students to brush up on their industry knowledge, citing the usual resources (Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist and Vault among others). However, she also lists several books to prepare first-years for technical interviews – a format that terrifies most career changers. For aspiring investment bankers, for example, Arango flags Joshua Rosenbaum’s Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers & Acquisitions as an excellent resource for fundamentals and the classic Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco to provide a inside look at the strategies and processes used in practice. She also includes links to helpful texts in consulting, accounting, marketing, real estate, entrepreneurship, and general business in her checklist.
At the same time, Arango advises first-years to brush up on their quant skills. For brief lessons, she points readers to the Khan Academy, which includes video modules on areas like economics, capital markets, statistics, and finance. For more in-depth instruction, she refers to MBA Math, which covers basics from spreadsheets to statistics. If students have a week (and a thousand dollars or more), they can jump into Training the Street’s courses that provide in-depth study on Wall Street fundamentals like corporate valuation and financial statement analysis.
For the months before business school starts, Arango also supplies several resources for establishing a budget and finding housing. One is the Mint app, which enables users to integrate their accounts, formulate budgets, automatically pay bills online and identify tends in their spending. Even more, Arango counsels first years to take a career assessment test before stepping foot on campus (though this is becoming a staple of many first-year orientation programs). With stress being a constant in business school, Arango recommends that students “take charge” of their health. If anything, she notes, it will get students in shape for intramurals.
To read the full checklist and access the links to various apps, books, and opportunities, click on the Pymetrics link below.
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