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It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get into one of the best MBA courses. However, you have cracked the entrance exam and are admitted into a great college. But that’s just a job half done. Now the challenge before you is to make the most out of your degree. Going by the experiences of other MBA aspirants, that first semester of your MBA can be challenging.
Here’s how you can prepare for the first semester of your MBA.
1. Fine-tune your existing skills
The best MBA courses are geared towards skill development that will help you during your career as a management professional. However, before you set out to tackle the subjects of MBA 1st semester, make sure you brush up on everything you know already.
Since most MBA students are getting back to their studies after having taken a break from college (mid-career professionals), it can take some time to get used to college life. Make sure you have sufficiently developed your reading stamina, note-taking skills, memorising skills and juggling school life with personal life.
In case you are pursuing your MBA from a foreign country, ensure that you take some time out to learn the local language. While this is not directly pertinent to the coursework, it will help you settle into the new culture and make daily life easier.
Ensure that you are working on your quantitative skills since these are considered the more difficult parts of all MBA 1st sem subjects. Most business schools offer pre-MBA primers. In case your institute doesn’t, it makes sense to take extra classes.
2. Network, network, network
One of the most important aspects of obtaining an MBA is to network with peers and mentors. The best part is that this begins even before your official curriculum starts. For instance, you can register for off-classroom campus events organised for new students, or join the social media pages for newcomers on LinkedIn or Facebook to mingle with your classmates. This way, you can see some familiar faces when you arrive on campus.
When you prepare for MBA first semester, social media can be a powerful tool in your hands. You should consider updating your profiles to communicate that you have enrolled in a business school. This helps expand your network and gets you in touch with present students, alumni and even professors.
Being reclusive on campus is perhaps the worst thing a new student can do. You should attend any social mixers that may have been organised for the students. This helps you mingle, make friends as well as participate as part of a student community. Also, you should join student clubs, groups and societies that pertain to your interests. This fosters stronger connections and allows you to mix with students from other courses.
3. Make yourself feel at home
When preparing for an MBA program, especially one that is not in your home city, you must make an active effort to familiarise yourself with the place. When you take a tour of not only the business school that you will be attending, look out for the lecture halls, libraries, career centres and any other important infrastructure you will need to use.
Next, tour your neighbourhood and the city at large. Become familiar with the public transport system, figure out how you will be travelling to campus, and make sure you memorise all the important places you will need to use.
Another extremely important thing to keep in mind is to ensure that you have a good hold over aspects such as budgets. By taking care of your financial planning before moving into your campus or new accommodation – plan a budget and take out insurance plans for your life and health.
Moreover, ensure that you build a life outside of school. Incorporate healthy activities into your lifestyle such as joining the gym, taking up a sport, engaging in group activities and even investing time in learning a skill or perfecting a hobby.
4. Start thinking about your career
Remember, you and all your peers will go through the same education and training starting from the first semester. So when the time comes around for recruitment, you will need something to give you an edge over the others. That is why you must start preparing for MBA program recruitment right off the bat.
Look into the potential employers who come for recruitment drives to your campus. Research any events externally that can help you with securing a job. Perhaps, try to get in touch with recruiters beforehand to know as much as possible about hiring policies, nature of jobs, etc. to get a sense of what you can expect when the time comes.
It is also a great practice to keep abreast of what is happening in the industry. Regularly read business publications such as the Economist and Financial Times to gain knowledge of real-world events – which is rarely imparted in classrooms. This will prepare you for better conversations with recruiters.
5. Manage your time
An MBA degree is not a cakewalk. The course load is exacting and also drains your social battery as you are required to hone your personality along with focusing on academics. Due to the intensity of the workload, MBA students must plan their timetables and budget their time allocation astutely.
A great way of doing this is to create daily routines on a good planner or an electronic device. Ensure that your schedule incorporates both work and relaxation time.
6. Make time for yourself
Before you can even be bothered with subjects of MBA 1st semester, make sure that you take some down time to relax and recharge. For instance, you can take some time off work before your semester starts. Avoid working close to your joining date. Perhaps you can consider going on a vacation or travelling before your program starts.
Make sure you can prioritise what is important to you. Yes, you are there to make the most out of your course. But remember, it is impossible to participate in all extracurriculars while also studying extra hours. Make time for yourself and do the things you enjoy to focus on your mental health.
Preparing for the course right after your MBA admission may be a tough ask. After all, you are expected to work hard during the course as well. However, by making the aforementioned small changes, you can ensure that your program adds value to your professional life while also balancing your personal life.
1. How can I prepare for an MBA?
As far as the admissions are concerned, you can prepare by brushing up on your current affairs, business knowledge, reasoning skills, writing skills and articulation.
2. What is the syllabus of MBA 1st semester?
MBA first semester syllabus includes business research methodology, spreadsheet modelling, financial reporting and analysis, macroeconomics, policy, marketing, organisational behaviour, operation research, business statistics and microeconomics.
3. How many papers are there in MBA 1st semester?
There are about 12 -13 papers in the first semeseted of MBA.
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