Monday, March 4, 2013

How to make the most of your time in Business School

Everyone warned me. I thought I was prepared. I thought I was ready. Turns out, I had no idea what I was in for. Hundreds of emails every day. Student groups inviting me to multiple events all on the same night. Co-chairs telling me I needed to join their groups. I felt so overwhelmed. What groups should I join? What do I want to get involved in? I only have two years to make the most out of my MBA experience!

Now, as I look to my graduation in June, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the opportunities I have taken advantage of. Learning how to prioritize time and involvement is key in making sure you do not leave school with any regrets. My three pieces of advice are as follows:

1. Stay focused but open-minded. You all wrote in your essays about why you wanted to get your MBA. Remember that. Focus on what roles, industries and companies interest you. Don’t get caught up in what your classmates are doing. Stay your course. But at the same time, be open to hearing about what else is out there. This is a unique time when employers literally come TO YOU to hire you.

2. Get involved. It’s like joining a sports team in high school or pledging a sorority in college. Business school is a GREAT way to put your leadership, organizational and teamwork skills to use. Join clubs that interest you and take on leadership roles that you are truly passionate about. I have prioritized my time by getting involved with admissions as well as planning our school ski trips and Thursday night social events, and couldn’t be happier with what I have accomplished in my time at Booth.

3. Have fun. This is a magical two years, and you need to take a step back at times and make sure you are enjoying it. While recruiting and studying for exams can get stressful at times, always be sure that you are taking time to do things you enjoy. Is working out important to you? Make time for it. Do you like trying new restaurants? Get a group of friends together to check one out. Do you like to travel? Plan spring break or long weekend trips with your classmates. Do you enjoy spending time with your family and friends? Make sure you stay in touch and see them as often as you can.

Best of luck to all of you and feel free to comment with any questions you may have!
Jaime Streem, Forté Fellow
MBA 2013, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

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