Well I can’t believe it but our first term is over! It feels really good to be done AND have a couple weeks off before our next intensive week & a fairly packed January.
You know, there were times when I didn’t think I was going to make it through so I want to share with you some survival tips for those considering the Morning MBA program:
- It’s not just 2 mornings a week – one of the best features of the morning MBA program is the convenience of having classes two mornings a week, from 7 – 9am. However, I feel it is only fair to caution you that the commitment is much more than that. There are often tutorials with Rotman scholars, speaker series, extracurricular events and prep courses that fall on evenings & Saturdays. And of course, you’ll need time to prep for classes, study and work on group assignments. So make sure that you are able to commit the appropriate amount of time and not just think it’s only going to be two mornings a week. I think that this really took me by surprise in September when everything started to pile on.
- Support from friends/family – any graduate student will tell you that you need ongoing support from your friends and family to survive your program. Whether it’s simple words of encouragements, helpful prompting to stay disciplined to study or just the understanding that you won’t have as much available time as you used to, support from your close friends and family is vital to successfully completing your program.
- Good study habits – I’ll admit that I am *still* following my poor undergraduate study habits of not preparing before class, procrastinating on assignments and cramming before exams. That might have been OK for undergraduate programs but it will really inhibit your learning, especially in the Morning MBA program. It’s easy for us to understand the benefits of GOOD study habits and preparing for classes in advance but in this program, these are not only key to achieving a good grade, they are essential to surviving your program. Since many of us have other full-time commitments such as work, it is very easy to fall behind and then almost kill yourself to complete the assignment or prepare for an upcoming exam. This is also good for those times when other stuff becomes more of a priority and you are able to juggle both work and school efficiently as opposed to always playing catch up with one of them (or both!)
- Take initiative/meet new people – I have really come to appreciate all of my classmates in my cohort. We are all in this together and everyone is extremely supportive. Especially my project team (see previous post). And so I would encourage you to take the initiative and get to know new people, particularly your classmates. Having that supportive environment (tip #2) will really ensure that you make it to the finish line (and in one piece!)
- Don’t go to everything – and lastly, make sure you pace yourself and don’t try to attend/participate in everything. As noted in Tip #1, there is usually a lot of stuff going on and many ways to get involved. Trust me, they are all good opportunities but it is simply impossible to do everything, I would encourage you to absolutely get involved but be extremely selective about what you get involved with. Make sure that it contributes to your overall goals of completing your MBA. Otherwise, it might not be worth your precious time. (Speaking of which, creating goals for what you want to get out of the program is also a good tip.)
That’s all I have for now. If I come across more pearls of wisdom, I’ll be sure to pass them on to you.