MBA candidates spend a significant amount of time working to get into a program. It’s equally important to plan how to get the most out of your business school experience once accepted. Given the cost and time commitment required to earn an MBA, you will want to maximize your return on investment. Here are a few ways to take full advantage of the opportunities before you.
Build Your Network
One of the top benefits of an MBA is the opportunity to build a professional network of colleagues that can be a valuable asset throughout your career. Reach out to professors and the business professionals involved in your program as well as fellow students. Professors and other faculty can provide recommendations, career advice and job connections. Relationships with professionals in the industry can lead to employment opportunities while peer-to-peer relationships play a significant role in forging professional bonds. Although business school lasts only two years, the benefits of the network you build last a lifetime.
Develop Cultural Competency
Business school brings together students from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Make the most of that diversity and network broadly. In addition, take advantage of study abroad programs to gain cross-cultural skills. Due to the global nature of business, employers value recruits familiar with foreign cultures, business practices and relations. The ability to understand and honor cultural differences leads to better business practices, increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. This makes cultural competency a highly valued asset at the forefront of many companies.
Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Reap the full benefit of the business school experience by participating in extracurricular activities. Options vary by school, but there are a number of different ways to get involved like joining an industry-specific club, service or philanthropic society, recreational group or even an athletic team. In addition to building relationships with fellow students, extracurricular activities provide a way to manage stress and gain skills and experiences helpful for securing an internship and post-MBA job.
Contribute to the Success of Others
It’s normal to feel a little intimidated when you’re surrounded by accomplished peers. But keep in mind that you were selected for admission because the committee felt you would be an asset to the program. Add value and contribute to your classmates’ learning by actively participating in classroom discussions to share your experience and perspective. Consider joining a study group as well. Collaborating with classmates can improve your understanding of the material by learning from one another.
Explore Your Career Options
Even if you already have a firm idea of your career goals, take advantage of the opportunities provided by an MBA program to experiment with skills in a variety of roles. Classes, clubs and extracurricular activities allow you to dabble in consulting, marketing, finance, operations, management and more to help you determine what it is you really want to do.
An MBA can open doors to new career opportunities and help you climb the corporate ladder. But as with most things in life, you get out what you put in. Use the first few days of class to get acclimated then dig in and follow the tips above to maximize your experience. If you’re still looking for the perfect MBA program, register for a Virtual MBA Tour to connect with the world’s leading business schools.