As I wind down my CBS career, I figured it would be a good time to impart some of the wisdom I’ve picked up over the last 12-plus months in business school. That means, if you’re a second year student — stop reading here. :)
For the rest of you (B-school applicants and first year students who are still open to suggestions), here are three pieces of free advice.
None of it is unique, some of it you may have heard before, but all of it has been useful in my B-school career.
1. Figure out what’s important to you — and quickly: Business school is a deluge of recruiting events, social functions, courses, group work, interesting guest speakers, etc. If you don’t figure out what parts of your business school experience are most important (and do that early on in your first year), you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed, and potentially unable to capitalize on the great opportunity you’ve been afforded at a top business school. Enjoy the diversity of experiences that are available to you, but don’t sacrifice depth for breadth. And don’t feel bad making trade offs — business school is all about prioritization and time management.
2. Try something that you wouldn’t have thought of trying, or that is outside of your comfort zone: For me — 150 lbs., 6 ft., with a body mass index of zero :) — that “something” was rugby. Other people I know have decided to pick up a new language, take up squash, travel to a developing country over winter break on a consulting project or learn to play the guitar. And the guitar players got school credit — you can’t beat that!
3. Stay attached to the world outside B-school: This is especially important for those of you who are married or have significant others. Make sure you involve that special someone in your business school activities as much as possible. Sure, your other half is not going to want to hang out with you at the library while your learning team cranks out a DCF model, but happy hours, cluster events and the like are great opportunities to invite them along. And, at least at CBS, this is totally welcomed and encouraged.