Things to Do Before Starting MBA: Most B-schools have announced their shortlists for the upcoming batch 2019-2021 and the GD-PI rounds have also seen completion. Students all over the country are preparing for the Battle of MBA now and can be seen scrambling for stuff, paying fees, buying shiny corporate suits and what not. We wish the students who have made it hearty good luck for this novel journey, and bring them some tips to ease out the preparation process and inform you them of things to do before starting MBA. If you are about to join your dream B-school, read on to find out what more you can add to your existing checklist.
1. Stock up the typical B-School Essentials
Just like you have a travel bucket list on what holiday destinations you would like to visit, similarly, you must also have a shopping list up your sleeve bearing all essentials required during B-school – a laptop, food, clothes, other gadgets, business suit, leather shoes, formal shirts, casual jeans – tees among a lot of other personal things suited to your preferences and personality type.
2. Learn Excel
If you are someone holding prior work experience and have worked on Excel before, kudos to you! However, if you are a fresher, it is recommended that you learn Excel since you will have to survive deadlines, overcome submissions and battle it out with others for your internship placements. You will also eventually land up in a corporate setup where you will have no other option that you make way amid Microsoft Excel’s pivot charts and tables and functions. If you can spare a couple of hours every day in learning Excel, it would sure be a pleasant kickstart to your MBA journey.
3. Learn Microsoft Powerpoint
As a corporate professional, you will one day come to learn that Excel and Powerpoint Presentations can help save the day since they help you showcase your work. They say the higher you climb the corporate ladder, the more your work will revolve around Excel and Presentations. Therefore, it would do you the world of good if you learn all the tips and tricks of making Powerpoint presentations. Structure, fonts, other Do’s and Don’ts – try and learn every nitty-gritty.
4. Brush up the Basics
Dreaming of a glorious management career and working towards it are two separate things – and that is precisely what the MBA program and your professors will teach you. B-school professors are widely known for their superior intellect and academic notoriety. Most will assume you are already well-versed with basic terminology and frameworks like SWOT and Porter’s 5 Forces. Therefore, before beginning the session, you must find out your first-term subjects and go through the curriculum. Start going through concepts from general subjects like Marketing 101, Microeconomics etc. This is not to suggest that you need to dive headfirst into the syllabus, but having an overview of a couple of things doesn’t hurt either.
5. Brush up your Soft Skills
Soft Skills have become indispensable to working in a corporate environment, and a B-school environment is going to be no different since one of the key objectives of the program is to groom students to be future leaders. And future managers and leaders cannot afford to have poor soft skills.
Strong soft skills will help you stand out from the average crowd at your B-school, so you must pull up your socks on this front. Chart out a Personal Development Plan (PDP) having actionable goals. This will teach you responsibility and effective communication will take you miles ahead of your peers in your journey.
6. Gather your CV points/USPs
This is considered to be one of the most important things to be put together before joining a B-school. Placement committees tend to ask for proofs and necessary certificates once the CV-building process starts. B-schools, like top companies, have a robust verification mechanism which cannot be fooled in any case, so one should avoid messing with it by adding fake or unnecessary points on it. You should start talking to your school teachers and professors already and let them know that you would be needing their assistance soon to get their extra-curricular points verified. Your boss and HR manager will verify the work you did with them, so maintain your ties well. Remember, you will require a lot of calls and mails when you need to get your extracurriculars verified.
7. Build a Solid Network
Networking is a unique skill which is known to take people far and wide. In the current era, fortunately, or unfortunately, who you know is more important than what you do. So, start networking at the onset of your career itself by reaching out to your immediate seniors through LinkedIn, social groups and forums. This will help you a lot as the seniors can give you valuable insight on how to make way through the maze of an MBA program, the placement scenario, the kind of companies that visit your college for summer and final placements, internships and more. It can also help you gain access to their notes and help you in quickly settling down.
8. Enrol into a short-term course
You can enrol into a short-term online course which provides you with a recognised certification as well. This course should be related to your MBA specialisation and should prove to be a great add-on. If you are someone from an engineering background transitioning to a finance career, a course aligning you to finance will work wonders for you.
You can try enrolling into other courses that pique your interest like courses on Google Adwords, Hubspot Inbound, Brand Management and Google Analytics certifications.
You B-school journey will be a roller-coaster ride for sure and can be summed up through a Charles Dickens quote, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ Therefore, you should start off preparing for the battle beforehand. Besides the aforementioned things to do before starting MBA, you should also try to read good books, preferably one financial newspaper every day, fix your sleep cycle and learn to prioritise and multi-task and you are all set for this thrilling journey. Good Luck!