At Stanford, Business & Education Go Hand-In-Hand

How to Spend Your First Year in Business School

With the two-year duration of an MBA education, it’s critical that students spend their time wisely. After all, the cost of those two years can easily exceed $200,000 at top business programs. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a few tips on how students can maximize their first year in B-school.


Students, Blackman says, often get access to connections and opportunities that non-students don’t. For first-years, it’s important to remember to leverage your student title to connect with others and expand your network.

“Is there an alum, local businessperson, politician, or community leader you admire?”, Blackman writes. “Use the fact that you’re a student to try and set up an ‘informational interview’ or an informal meeting over coffee. You’ll be surprised at the kind of access you may receive.”

On campus, it can also be a good idea to attend visiting speaker talks—with speakers ranging from big-name CEOs to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

“At least a few big-name CEOs and public figures will give talks on campus,” Blackman writes. “Obviously, everyone’s going to turn up for those. But we encourage you to also consider going to hear what lesser-known business and political leaders, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit executives have to say — especially some of the younger ones. In a decade you just might find yourself bragging about how you rubbed elbows with someone who became internationally respected.”


Many first-years will want to do everything during their time in B-school. However, Blackman says, this isn’t a realistic approach.

“Don’t sign up for 20 clubs only to end up regretting that you can’t meaningfully participate in any of them,” she writes. “You will feel totally overwhelmed by how many cool things you’ll have the opportunity to get involved with outside of class.”

Rather, Blackman suggests that students “think long and hard about what you really want to learn and what’s important to you. That way, you can focus your efforts accordingly during your first year at b-school.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

Next Page: The top feeder school to technology.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.