Tips for College Students Entering Business School

A graduate-level business school program is nothing like an undergraduate experience. Even if you earned a degree in business administration at the undergraduate level, things would change after entering a top MBA program. The decision to become an MBA applicant is a big one. Before making the leap and talking to an MBA admission consultant or applying to an MBA program, it’s important to be clear about your overall goals and ready for change. Earning your MBA will mean big opportunities in the future, and getting into a top business school could make a substantial difference in your salary and ability to make a change in the world. If you’re serious about advancing your education, read on for tips for college students considering entering business school.

Understand your overall goals.

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The best way to tackle any graduate-level business program is to have a clear career plan. If you haven’t begun the application process and have just graduated from undergrad college, take some time to think about your career goals. Many students make the mistake of jumping to the next step of applying to somewhere like Columbia Business School without taking the time to know what their plan is.

Start with a search on the most impactful career paths in your area of interest. If you have a current job and work in business, consider talking to a mentor about your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you get a better idea of your overall career goals. Knowing these will help you with not only interview prep but the entire admissions process.

Craft the perfect personal mission statement.

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Any of the top MBA applicant consultants will tell you that you’ll need a personal statement to apply to business school. After taking exams and finding a personal MBA coach, you’ll want to take that list of personal goals and hone it into a concise statement of where you’re heading. The same way you’d write an objective on a resume, you’ll need a simple and clear statement of what you hope to do with your business degree.

If you’re already in a top graduate program, going back to your personal statement to be sure you’re on track and sticking to your goals is important. Even if you decide to change them, you’ll want to keep that personal statement updated as it will matter when it comes time to interview for internships and jobs after school.

Prepare for lifestyle changes.

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Dorm rooms, late-night study sessions, and keg parties are not part of the graduate school culture. If you’re just completed an undergrad degree, it’s time to consider big lifestyle changes. Graduate students generally rent shared housing with other young professionals and work off typical banker’s hour’s schedules. That is, expect to be in a class by 8 a.m. and done with studies or internships by the day’s end.

Maybe you’ve been eating in a school cafeteria or bringing laundry home to Mom on weekends. In graduate school, you’ll need to adjust to fending for yourself. Usually, only two years off from a full-time career, this is a great time to make changes that will come as part of your daily habits and routines regarding overall scheduling and lifestyle. It’s never too early to start implementing new routines and healthier living.

Whether you are currently an MBA candidate, considering the application process, or already enrolled in a top business school program, your ability to stay focused on your professional development will add up to big results after graduation. Make no mistake: Graduate school is challenging.

With a proven track record of making it through a competitive MBA or other graduate-level business application process and challenging coursework, you’ll soon find yourself in the position to make great career progress and a difference in the world. Congratulations on your achievements so far, and good luck with the career opportunities bound to come your way.