If you have never heard the phrase “drinking from a fire hose” in the context of getting your MBA, you will. It’s perhaps the best comparison for how intense it can be.
Right now, you’re probably more worried about getting into b-school than you are about managing b-school, but as you prepare your applications, it’s a good idea to go ahead and begin thinking about this phenomenon.
Being ready to handle rigorous, quantitative analysis is paramount.
One reason why b-schools like to see good quant scores on the GMAT is because they don’t want you to be miserable in their program. While you will receive support from colleagues and professors, there is simply not enough time to slow the pace of the coursework down to let students catch up. If you are at all worried about your ability to dive in and quickly assimilate your math skills, I highly recommend you bone up over the next year by taking refresher courses at a local community college or online (hint: go for the in-person class if you can, as it will better help you get back in the saddle than online will).
Classes in b-school move very quickly and you cover voluminous amounts of information in a very condensed timeframe.
Schools like Fuqua and others even cram two “mini-mesters” into each semester, which gives you literally half the time in a class as you might have in other graduate programs, or like you had as an undergraduate student. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being the only one in the room who doesn’t understand something and the pressure to avoid outing yourself as that person is palpable. Do yourself a favor and arrive ready.
But it’s not just the academics that challenge you in an MBA program.
You will hear it over and over, but time management is critical to success in any MBA program. Schools expect their MBA students to take a very active roll outside the classroom and run all the various clubs and organizations. They will expect you to carry the same extracurricular load which was carried by others before you, examples of which include mock interviews for classmates, hosting guest speakers, running the annual golf tournament or leading trips-in-cities events. You could literally spend your entire week in outside activities, so managing time in and out of the classroom will determine your ultimate success.
Additionally, companies will descend upon you practically from day one.
Most MBA students interview for and accept their summer internship offer within six-eight weeks of landing on campus. This means you are dressing up and attending company presentations on almost a nightly basis from your very arrival on campus. In the next post, we’ll address this gauntlet in more detail.
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