Tips For Round 2 MBA Applicants

European MBA Alums Share Advice

People attend business schools with different aspirations, backgrounds, and expectations. For some, B-school may be a ticket to a new career. For others, it may be a means to advance in their current field.

Financial Times recently spoke to alumni of some of the top European B-schools, who shared their advice, expectations, and experiences of the MBA.

DISCOMFORT MEANS GROWTH

For Nika Drobnič, a University of Ljubljana School of Economics and Business alum, B-school meant stepping out of her comfort zone.

“I needed to know how to communicate effectively, work in teams and take advantage of the diverse skills people bring to the table,” Drobnič says. “I knew the course would be challenging because I am an introvert, [and] you could not complete a project on the course without teamwork.”

Additionally, Drobnič says B-school forced her to overcome her ‘perfectionist’ tendencies in order to meet challenging deadlines.

“I was shocked on the first day when a professor asked us to do a final presentation on Friday: we would not have time to perfect it,” Drobnič says. “So the course was quite uncomfortable for me at the beginning, but it enabled me to develop. I now know how to work with different people, and how to present almost anything — regardless of how ready I feel the presentation is.”

KNOW YOUR WHY

An MBA education is challenging. Often, business school students will find themselves having to balance schoolwork, internships, and personal life. Esther Vispoel, an Aalto University alum, says she had to realize that she cannot strive for perfection in every aspect of her life.

“I had to manage my time and make conscious decisions about where to excel and where ‘good enough’ is acceptable,” Vispoel says. “The social support from the other students was a huge help.”

One piece of advice Vispoel says may help potential students is to always remember your “why.”

“Crystalise your ‘why’ . . . and choose your electives, business project and self-development actions accordingly,” Vispoel says. “This will help with your motivation and make certain ‘sacrifices’ easier.”

EMBRACE DIFFERENCES

For many, B-school will be a time of making connections that last well beyond graduation. Sanjin Damjanovic, a Norwegian School of Economics alum, says the most important lesson he learned in B-school was how to cultivate a global perspective and embrace diversity.

“This journey has given me the ability to collaborate more effectively in teams, improve my communication skills and facilitate deeper, more meaningful dialogues with peers who have different backgrounds and viewpoints,” Damjanovic says.

Sources: Financial Times, P&Q

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