Things to do before starting your MBA:
With the IIM A declaring their results just 2 days ago, we now know that the official admission process has begun. Similarly, the other B-schools will also start their admission process for the year 2020. So whether you start your journey this year, or is planning for the next year, this article is for you! Read on to find out the things you need to do before starting your MBA journey.
1. Go through the basics:
Most of you may not be of a management background like the students from BMS or BBA. Hence, a good idea would be to go through the basics of what the MBA has to offer. Try to proactively learn some basic terms and concepts from general subjects like marketing, finance, economics, etc. Examples of some concepts you can cover are 4Ps of marketing, SWOT analysis, Balance sheet format, etc.
You don’t have to delve too deep into the topic, but be sure to understand the core concept of the subject. A lot of free online PDFs and ebooks are available online, like Marketing 101, Accounting and finance basics, etc. Getting your basics clear will actually help you a lot to get a clearer picture of what is to come in your MBA course, and you will not be clueless when the actual sessions start.
2. Do a short term course:
Try to get at least one certification course done before you start your MBA. You might not get much time once you start with your classes, hence it would be a good idea to get take up a course before that. You can do a course that is related to the specialization (that you would eventually choose in the 2nd year), or it can be a generalized relevant course like Google analytics, Communication skills, Google Adword, Advanced excel, etc. However, make sure that you enroll in a course from a recognized website like Coursera, edX only.
3. Learn Excel:
Excel will be your best friend throughout your MBA journey. If you already have an experience of working with excel, that’s great; but if you aren’t very familiar with excel, you might want to start brushing up your skills. Almost all your projects during your MBA will require you to work on excel, so try to learn not just the basics, but also shortcuts that can help you to optimize your time during your projects. From Pivot table to analytics, you can do wonders with excel, so invest some time now and learn you’re way through excel.
There are plenty of free online videos (from beginner to expert) available on the internet. So, you can easily access these videos or you can even opt for an advanced excel certification, which will help add weightage to your CV.
4. Learn Microsoft Powerpoint:
Presentations would be a focus of your MBA journey, and you will be required to give presentations numerous times every trimester/ semester. B-schools put a lot of weightage to your presentation skills, and if you want to score good, you might as well brush up on your PowerPoint making skills. Powerpoint is a powerful visual medium that can actually make or break your presentation. Once you join the corporates, you will ultimately have to give presentations every time to present your ideas and strategies. So, learn to use PowerPoint like a pro, and ensure that you make impressive presentations that will attract and main in your audience’s attention.
5. Learn report making basics:
This is an often neglected skill, and you will be confronted with this all throughout your life; whether it be a daily report or a project report. While I’m sure you would know the basics of MS Word, learn how reports are formatted specifically. Throughout your MBA journey, you will be asked to make numerous reports and even after you join the corporate world so master your reporting skills. Sometimes the presentation gets more important than the content and that’s exactly what a good report does. It gives your teachers or your client a very good impression in the future, and you will have a greater chance of success in your project.
6. Prepare your CV:
The resume you used in order to get into a B-school would be pretty different from what you would require during your placements. Start working on your CV as soon as possible, you might not get enough time to build it once you start your MBA life. Try to include all your relevant work experience and achievements that are aligned with your chosen specialization. You might get a specified CV format from your B-school as well, but it doesn’t hurt to keep one well prepared to ease your work later on.
7. Start networking:
Networking is truly the soul of the MBA. This is the opportunity for you to expand your networks, and while you will get plenty of opportunities to do that once you’ve joined in; it would be a great idea to get in touch with your seniors or alumni through Linkedin or College groups on Facebook Instagram, etc. before the start of the season.
If you are still confused about which specialization to choose, then contacting past alumni or seniors is the best way. This will be very beneficial as these people have a lot of insights to offer and you might get a lot of valuable knowledge on how to manage yourself and your course. This might even help you during your internships and live projects, so don’t shy away from connecting to others.
8. Stock up on MBA essentials:
This is the fun part of planning before your sessions start. Make a list of all the things that you might require before your school starts like formal clothes, shoes, a good laptop, robust laptop bag, any essential gadgets, and go on a shopping spree! It’s a good idea to do all this before time so that you can focus just on your studies once your course starts.
9. Start reading economic times:
MBA is an official entry into the business world, which is why you now need to stay updated with all business news. We can’t emphasize enough on the importance of reading business newspapers. Start getting into the habit of reading Economic times or Financial times, which are solely based on the current business happening around the world. Get into the details of the world economy, geopolitics, share market, etc.
A good practice might also be to note down major events and news that you can refer to at any point in time. This will not just be useful for you during your classroom discussion, but also for your placement related GD / PIs.
10. Start reading business-related books:
If you don’t already have the habit, start reading good books and autobiographies relating to business. You may get these very common questions during placements about which books you read during your MBA. Make sure you read some really good and well-known books which you can talk about in any situation. Read books like 7 Highly Effective Persons Habits, Freakonomics, Connect the Dots, etc.
Also read: 10 must-read books for every MBA Aspirant
11. Learn about your B-school :
While I’m sure you must’ve gone through what the B-school has to offer in terms of their specializations, start exploring more about the extra activities and offerings by the college. Get to know more about their clubs and committees, or events an competitions that they host routinely so that you identify your area of interest and can pre-plan on where you want to participate.
12. Start researching and targeting companies:
Read all previous reports that your B-school has published regarding the placements and top recruiters than come to your campus. Start making a list of colleges that are of your interest, and research on these companies in depth. Make sure you try to understand what these companies expect out of their candidates in terms of skills and qualities, and start building your profile accordingly. For example, if you want to get into a digital marketing firm, you can start building your profile on the current Digital marketing practices like SEO, SEM. This proactive approach will give you a huge lead in the final years of your MBA.
As the saying goes “Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation,” your preparations on how to start will determine how successful you become in your endeavor. MBA is no doubt an expensive investment, so give all your time and energy to make the most out of these two years. Start learning to Prioritise your tasks, at the same time learn to multitask. These two things will be your saviors during MBA.
Finally, also spend some time with your friends and family before you embark on your journey. This might be the only ‘free’ time you’ll have for the next two years. But overall, it’s a super exciting start to something new and you will definitely have the time of your life. So gear up for the adventure that’s awaiting you.
All the best!
Also read: Top B-schools with the best ROI