The MBA Student Voice blog of UCLA Anderson School of Management recently posted some great advice from second-year student Nathan Adelman on how to make the most of your MBA experience, and it rings true no matter where you eventually end up.
Adelman lists key lessons he’s learned while at Anderson, and we’ve summarized four of them below. For more of his thoughts on each subject, click over to the original post linked above.
Lesson 1: The difference between a good MBA experience and a great one is about $10,000.
No one is denying that business school is an expensive endeavor, but Adelman says ponying up an extra $10K will cover the international trips, clubs, and social events that will take your entire MBA experience to the next level.
“These experiences will impart to you a global perspective, lifelong friends, and a strong business network that will benefit you for the next 40 years of your career,” Adelman says.
Lesson 2: Not studying for a test is actually harder than studying for the test.
Getting straight A’s doesn’t open any more doors for your career path than getting B’s, Adelman says, who believes classes are the activity in business school that have had the least influence on landing his dream job.
“Once I was comfortable with that feeling, it enabled me to better manage my time and prioritize my commitments which in turn allowed me to get the most out of my business school experience, inside and outside of the classroom,” he explains.
Lesson 3: Greater career focus yields more career opportunities.
Recruiting for multiple industries and job functions actually creates fewer opportunities for finding something you truly like, Adelman believes. Be as focused as possible, he urges, and take the time to go for something that really gets you excited.
“All this extra time allows you to focus on specializing in your specific area of interest. This means you actually have the time to do industry research, network with people in the industry, and get to know the companies intimately – all things that you will actually talk about in your interview!” Adelman advises.
After all, he says, it’s much easier to help the “Restaurant Girl” or the “The Pharma Guy” than it is to help the “Maybe consulting, maybe marketing, maybe tech Guy.”
Lesson 4: Mentors cannot be assigned, they must be found.
While most schools have mentorship programs that pair students with someone experienced in their field of interest, Adelman believes the best mentorship relationships happen organically between people with an authentic connection both professional and personal.
“It is this personal connection that really separates an ‘advisor’ from a ‘mentor’, and also it cannot be faked,” he says. “So don’t be afraid to seek out those people whom you admire and want to emulate – odds are one of them will see something in you as well.”
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