Advice for First-Years from an HBS Alumna

There’s nothing like advice that comes straight from the source, so if Harvard Business School is on your short list, you shouldn’t miss this great post published recently in the student newspaper The Harbus.

Harvard Business School students

In What I Wish I’d Known This Time Last Year, Rahima Dosani (MBA ’16)  offers advice for first-year students, AKA RCs, which she wrote during her EC year.  We’ll share some excerpts here, but definitely check out her entire piece for some really helpful tips for students just getting their bearings as they settle in on campus.

You are your own worst critic. No one remembers a comment for more than 2 minutes after you make it. Sometimes not even that long. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say what you are thinking, and don’t beat yourself up afterward. Your opinions matter.

Stay in touch with your family and friends. In the craziness that is RC year, it is so easy to forget to call home and forget about your high school, college, and work friends who have been by your side for years. They may not really understand what your life is like, but keeping them close will be restorative and grounding for you in so many ways.

Quality over quantity.  Ask yourself: “Who would I want to keep in touch with or take a trip with many years after graduation?” Those are the people you should spend most of your time with. Be friendly with everyone, but don’t exhaust yourself trying to build close friendships with 95 people. 

Ain’t no shame in getting a 3. Your life and career will be filled with just as much meaning, fulfillment, success, and happiness as it would be if you had gotten a 2. Guaranteed.

Professors are awesome. Share with them your concerns or thoughts about participation, class content, or just life. They value connecting with you and can be an incredible source of inspiration and comfort.

You do belong here. When you feel like you don’t fit in, can’t figure out FIN for the life of you, and don’t see things the same way as other people, just remember that’s the value you bring to the table. And other people are definitely feeling the same way – you’re not alone.

HBS doesnt need to be the best two years of your life. It’s awesome if it is. But it’s totally okay if it’s not. It just needs to be worth it for you. So “do you.” Invest in what you really enjoy or want to learn. Do what you need to do to make this time here meaningful for you.

You may also be interested in:

5 Common Interview Questions from Harvard Business School

Image by HBS1908 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 
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