Managing a management degree

Months have passed since you gave your MBA entrances. Over the time that has gone by many things have happened. You cleared the cut-off for your dream colleges and got calls for the further rounds. You prepared yourself for these rounds and aced it. You played the waiting game and one day your phone goes “ding! one new mail”. You open the mail, and you see it is from the college you were aiming for. “Dear XYZ, we are pleased to offer you admission to the MBA program…….”. This first sentence is enough for you to get up from your chair and dance with joy! “I have finally got into my dream B-School and now my life is set”! “Now just 2 years of smooth sailing”. Or is it?

The reality of a B-School is something that only hits you when you enter a B-School. No number of testimonials, LinkedIn posts, or YouTube videos can really prepare you for the experience that you are going to have during these 2 years. That is something that all MBA students can vouch for.

You do not get time to settle into a B-School. It feels like if you are not working at your maximum capacity from the get-go, you will not get anywhere. Be it doing pre-reads for lectures, getting into clubs and committees, meeting deadlines, building your CV, preparing for the placements, networking, a million things are just thrown at you. MBA students know the equation, “the world is VUCA, so you got to increase your KASH to stay at the top of your game”. [VUCA being volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity which describes the state of the business world and KASH being Knowledge, Abilities, Skills and Habits, something you need to tackle this VUCA world]. Is it though? As an MBA student myself there are 5 things that I have come to realize as going through this journey. They are as follows:

  1. You need to learn how to let go and move forward

Did not ace the quiz? Did not do the pre-read for the lecture and weren’t able to participate? Did not crack the interview of a company? It happens to the best of us. What you need to understand is that you cannot win all battles, but you can certainly move ahead and win the war! That is one thing that you learn in a B-School and is an important life lesson. You really understand that sometimes things may not work as you expect, but you need to learn from them and apply those learnings ahead. This really helps you shape yourself as you learn to adapt to the various nitty-gritties in a B-School. Learning is key. You always need to remember this, after all you are paying for it!

  1. Sometimes it is okay to take a step back and relax

This is something people may forget as a million deadlines come at them at the same time. You are reading, preparing, and trying to understand so many things at once, that after a point, your brain stops accepting more information. That is the point you really need to take a step back and relax a bit. I am not saying deadlines are not important. What I mean to say is that in this journey make sure you divide your time so that you leave some space for relaxing too. Be it a movie, be it hanging with your friends, be it playing sports or a game, it is something that you need to relax your mind and body during this journey.

  1. Compare yourself only to yourself

Now this may seem a bit weird, as from the very get go we are thrown into a rat race, but now you are in a place where you have to make sure you are learning and growing. You have paid quite a lot of money to come here and get an MBA. So, during your time here you really need to ask yourself this question, “did the time and money I invest here really help me in any way?”. It is in your hand to make sure that the person who is graduating from the B-School is more informed and evolved than the person who entered the B-School two years ago. The only way you can do that is if you introspect and see whether you are learning or not. It may be some new concepts in a particular subject, managing your time better, learning to work in a team etc., the learning here is vast. Make sure you compare yourself only to yourself!

  1. Look beyond the syllabus

An MBA syllabus does teach you a lot, but you need to go beyond that is in the syllabus. This is to really expand your learning and help you ahead. Be it doing a course online, taking part in competitions, joining a club or a committee, learning from other people, the opportunities are many! Make sure you make full use of this and really go beyond just monetary ROI. This will really help you get the maximum out of your degree.

  1. Network, network, network!

This is essential to managing a management degree. People come here with different sets of skills and expertise. The more you network, the more you will learn, be aware you will be of who to approach when you need help and also really be aware of things around you. Not only that, the friendships that you build here are the ones that will go beyond the B-School!

These are a few things I learned from my experience as a B-School student, though it may differ from person to person. That being said it is a journey you need to enjoy. So, make sure as you go on this journey, you too make the most of it and all the best for your future endeavours!