It’s official. Come next fall you’ll be working towards your MBA at one of your chosen schools. Congratulations! You’ve earned the right to celebrate. However, you probably suspect that there’s more you could do now instead of partying until fall.
Business school will be a major transition and milestone in your life and what you do in these upcoming summer months can help you get the most out of it. Here are a few recommendations on how to spend your time before your first semester begins.
Your program may already require you to take an online course to brush up on business fundamentals such as business math or accounting, but MOOCs (massive open online courses) can let you explore budding interests or develop new skills in addition to flattening any learning curve you may encounter.
Perhaps you’d like to learn about entrepreneurship, become a better leader, improve your public speaking ability, or learn about something further afield from business such as biology or literature. There’s MOOCs for all of these pursuits, many of which are taught by esteemed professors from prestigious institutions. Check out this list of business related MOOCs here or peruse the various MOOC platforms such as Coursera, NovoED, and edX.
Admit weekends are a great time to visit the schools you were accepted at, especially if you haven’t visited them yet. You’ll get to see where you’ll be living, find your way around campus, and perhaps most importantly, meet some of the people who will determine so much of your MBA experience: fellow classmates and faculty.
Often schools have two admit weekends: one in the winter and one in the spring. If you’ve missed your school’s admit weekends, consider getting in touch with current students online or in person. Ask about their first year experience, their likes and dislikes, and any clubs or extracurricular programs they might be involved in. Two years goes by fast, so it’s best to do some research before you arrive on campus.
Unfortunately, the GMAT may not be behind you, especially if you’re considering going into consulting after business school. While most consulting companies claim they do not have a minimum GMAT score requirement for new hires, many do look at GMAT scores when making hiring decisions. Improving your score now could help you land the big job after business school.
The best learning often takes place outside of the classroom. Traveling inspires us to ponder the big questions about life and our purpose. Also immersing yourself in another culture helps you see the world a little differently, at least temporarily. This wider perspective can help clarify what you want to get out of business school and what you may want to do with your education.
Volunteering boosts self-confidence, helps you form connections with others, and advances a worthy cause. It’s also a great way to give back and express gratitude for what you have. We’ve likely all benefited from circumstances that were beyond control. Volunteering gives you a chance to pay it forward, and who knows, it may become something you continue to do while in business school and after.