Making the Most of Business School
Business school is a crucial time for growth and education. But how do you ensure that you’re making the most of your time and money?
Bernie Klinder, a serial entrepreneur, investor, and consultant, recently penned a Quora post offering a few tips for those who are about to embark on their business education.
Get Your Money’s Worth – Literally
MBA’s aren’t cheap. Klinder, for example, dished out roughly $1000 per class as a Bowling Green State MBA. Overall, his entire class spent over $1 million to graduate the program. For b-schools students, it’s important to remember just how much an MBA education is worth.
“Keep that in mind everyday when you sit down in class: Imagine forking over $1,000 in cash (or whatever your tuition breakdown is) when you arrive each day,” he writes. “Make sure you see the value in that class. If not, demand it.”
Lauren Gianino, a Harvard MBA, says it’s important that b-school students make use of their time wisely. She recommends defining individual priorities and goals regularly.
“It is easier to manage your time (and not let your schedule overwhelm you!) if you have created a list of priorities and reasons for being at business school before you start,” she writes in a post for Harvard’s MBA Voices. “For each decision or trade-off that you make, this list helps you correctly allocate your time.”
Know Your Classmates
On top of valuable knowledge you’ll gain in b-school, an MBA is also valuable for the network you’ll build.
Klinder says building a professional network is an important lesson to remember.
“Communities and networks are small,” he writes. “The best way to leverage your MBA is to grow your professional network. If you’re on a group project, do more than everyone else. Be more prepared. Be the team hero – but be humble.”
Kelly Gibbons, Founder and Managing Partner of Main & Rose, where she creates personal brand strategy for clients, says creating communities is one lesson you’ll never learn in b-school.
“Many MBA programs tend to encourage a ‘go it alone’ mindset that applies not only to competitors but to clients,” Gibbons writes in a Forbes article. “We’ve found that the old-school way of thinking of businesses as ‘webs’ (that is, entities that attract customers but don’t create interaction between their clients) isn’t always best. Instead, we think of our business as a hub — an organization that brings together clients around a shared lifestyle or ethos.”
Making the most of your MBA education can often come down to your mindset towards learning.
Klinder says being proactive means, “sit in the front row, be engaged, ask questions. Don’t be afraid of asking the wrong question, everybody does sooner or later. If there is a guest speaker, really leverage their knowledge. Don’t wait until the lecture is over to ask a question in a side bar.”
Part of being proactive is stepping out of your comfort zone. And Gianino, of Harvard’s MBA Voices, says being forced out of your comfort zone is a common part of the b-school experience and, ultimately, something you will build upon through your education.
“Each day in class, you will take a position on a variety of choices presented in case studies,” Gianino writes. “HBS requires you to defend that position while being open to critically listening to opposing views. This is the best test of public speaking and debate skills, and it’s something that you will continue to refine each day.”