How to Stay Sane During B-School

By now, you’ve either fantasized about how hectic yet amazing business school life is,  or you’re living it right now. Rohan Rajiv, a first-year student in Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management‘s two-year MBA program, has written a thoughtful blog post on how to prioritize your experiences—and it begins with putting yourself above all else.

While he started the program fully aware of the many interesting academic things he would learn throughout his time at Kellogg, Rajiv says he didn’t expect he would have to learn about such things as decision-making and trade-offs, both of which guide the daily experience at business school.

The challenge of competing priorities—academics, career planning, extra-curriculars, social, family, ourselves—can sap all your energy until you learn to rank them in order of importance. Rajiv shares three core ideas he’s learned about maintaining balance so far:

Make decisions easy for yourself by being crystal clear about your core priorities.
“If you aren’t clear about the relative importance of your core priorities, you are going to drain your energy every day just thinking about these decisions. Once you get clear on your own priorities, decisions get much easier.”

Pre-decide your days and weeks as far as possible.
“Most of the time you have enough information to plan in advance. There’s a high return-on-investment on being brutally organized. Pre-decide by blocking off your time for the week based on your priorities. If you don’t prioritize exercise and sleep, other things will get in the way. Be proactive to drive your own agenda. Or someone else will.”

Make time to reflect.
“The busier things are, the more you need time to reflect. Learning-by-doing is incredibly inefficient if you don’t have enough time to take stock. Again, the return-on-investment on a little reflection time is incredibly high.”

The competing priorities never go away, Rajiv acknowledges, but figuring out the best way for you to get a handle on it will make all the difference in your enjoyment level throughout your MBA experience.

You may also be interested in:

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your B-School Experience

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