As I am in the last quarter of my MBA program I can certainly look back and identify where I did well and where I did not. However, as from every mistake in life, I am able to learn from those mistakes as well, which helps me easily say “whatever” and continue improving myself preparing for my future-self.
Be organized simply means arrange all your stuff, all your classes, all your books, notebooks, pencils, pens, rubbers and rulers. Keep everything under control. Know where each small piece of paper is and make sure that when you need that handout – you know where it is and you do not need to turn around your room to find it. Furthermore, have every deadline written down and look at the table every day to make sure you are not going to miss any assignment or deadline.
The lectures are invented so that students could learn better and easier, so stay focused, listen in class and stop Tweeting! Maximizing your learn outcome does not mean read the book 3 times, it means listen to what the professor has to say – he already read the book 3 times and for sure knows something useful.
Keep a healthy work-life balance:
If you aim at marrying your job and having companies instead of kids, then this advice is not for you. However, if you consider a happy life then you should think about it! Keep a good work-life balance and make room in your schedule for the things and people who make you happy. If you want to go to the movies tonight and there is no deadline tonight or tomorrow morning, you should just go! Hey, life is life and work is work, but life surely comes above work from time to time!
Building on the previous point – have fun! Make sure you have time to enjoy yourself. Stressed people end up unhappy and unsatisfied, because work and success does not necessarily make you happy – it makes you rich and everyone knows how this story goes: the everlasting debate whether money makes you happy. Well, it does not! So be happy and have fun! However, make sure you have completed all the assignments before doing so!
Do not love – respect:
As in every circle of life, in your MBA you will meet some people you might not particularly enjoy, but that is ok! You do not need to love them, but you have to respect them in order for a successful and valuable learning outcome to be achieved.
Be a team player:
Building on the previous point – be a team player! Know how to work in team, do not try to avoid work, do not try to give more to your teammate, do not be a control-freak, do not argue, do not scream, do not think you are better. Simply be a team player! This skill will help you everywhere and especially in your future career.
Concentrate on yourself:
Stop comparing yourself with the others! If John has an A – well probably the professor thought he deserves an A. If you have an A-, well then the professor thought you deserve the minus. Relax, and concentrate on yourself – what could you have done better and not why John has a better grade. Simply get out of the Kindergarten.
Keep good time-management:
Of course it is easier to say than to do, but try organizing your time in the best way possible. Stay focused here as well. Try to keep a good time-management and avoid losing time. Maybe you should take the public transportation because it is faster? Or maybe you should even read that chapter in the bus? Think about possible ways to reduce the time you lose every day and this will help you achieve more.
Emotions and problems need to stay outside of the classroom – exactly as they have to stay outside of the work place. The sooner you learn it, the better you will be in your career.
Have a big picture:
Do not focus on small things such as grades, that paper or that very annoying classmate. Think big – how is this program helping me for my future, what can I do knowing all these things, where are the additional opportunities? Keep the big picture in mind and try to look ahead as sooner as you can in your MBA.
Do other things as well:
Continuing from the previous point, try doing other things during your MBA. Find a part-time job, finally go to the gym, play with your kids more or simply read that good book that your friend told you about. Find time for the things you love or the things you need. If the MBA program stresses you – you can always “run away” and “chill” in the “other” place.
Try to connect with as many people as you can – networking, yes I know you have heard about it, – and yes it is very important! It is also fun!
Stay fit and healthy:
Health is the most important thing, so do not sacrifice studying for your health – it is not worth it!
Do not stress too much:
Success, career, studying, books and papers can be stressful. Therefore, make sure you do not stress too much – again, it is bad for your health and health is the most important thing!
It is not the end of the world:
This is a quote I like to use – it is what my father always says to calm me down when I am extremely stressed from studies, papers, grades, etc. – it helps and it is true!
Do not stop:
Finishing the MBA (finally) is not the end destination, I am sorry, it is the starting point! The “start” line of your future, better career. So do not even think about a year in Japan or a work and travel program for the summer – go ahead and work! Prove yourself, grow and think big! Do not ever stop! Otherwise, the others will run you over.