Thursday, August 25, 2011

Defining Your MBA Priorities

For some of you, classes have already started. You’ve begun to feel the rigor of the MBA or perhaps become adjusted to drinking out of the fire hose. You’ve probably heard a few anecdotes on “Time Management” and how it will get you through the year.

Rightly so! Time management is going to be your best friend through the next few months. However, time management can only be fulfilling and productive when you have clear goals that define your MBA priorities. I don’t just mean your concentration, or where you plan to get your summer internship or full-time job, but what you want to get out of your MBA program.

Your MBA experience will be filled with various activities – classes, office hours, recruiting information sessions, networking opportunities, personal activities (i.e. family, friends, working out, sleep, etc.), running for a leadership or representative position, being involved with a club, getting to know classmates,… and the list continues.

When I started my MBA, I set up a few key goals that defined how I spent my time:
*Make sure I learned from every class, the goals isn’t just getting a high pass or A;
*Get to know my classmates and seek out professional mentors;
*Be in a position to drive change and make an impact on my business school, etc.

Once my goals were clear, they defined how I managed my time - Do I want to play tennis with a classmate, meet with a mentor for lunch, or study an extra hour of finance; should I run for the student representative position or settle for a leadership position in a club or both; do I attend the information session or go hear the CEO of another company speak? Neither of the options you face in business school will be unproductive, but having clear goals will help guide your choices amid the flurry of activities and ways you could spend your limited 24 hour days. Remember, priorities can change, so feel free to make adjustments in your goals throughout the next two years.

Oyinade Ogunbekun, Forte Fellow
Class of 2012, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

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