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Mohanbir S. Sawhney

Tribune Professor of E-Commerce and Technology at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management

“Teaching is like lighting a spark,” says Professor Mohanbir S. Sawhney. “When students tell you that you changed their lives, that’s possibly the most satisfying thing a teacher can hear. You can put them on a career path that they may not have considered, which makes it a pretty fine job.”

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Free Your Mind
You shouldn’t be asking every day, “How is this going to help me on Wall Street? How is this going to help me make money?” Business school is a unique experience. You’re exposed to new horizons, and you can discover new things about yourself and your interests. I’ve seen so many students come in and say “I had no idea that I wanted to go into marketing” or “I had no idea that I wanted to go into high tech, but I took a couple of classes and my attitude changed.” So take a chance.

Mingle with People Unlike Yourself
Even though it may be tough in the beginning, avoid the temptation to seek out familiar folks: same university, same country, same culture. That’s a mistake. Diversity is one of the most enriching experiences at b-school. Build relationships with people who are different. You eventually will learn more from them.

Be Yourself
People who come to Kellogg are very smart. Most of them are individuals who are accustomed to being at the top. But not everybody can be at the top here. It’s very important to not let that affect your self worth. Grades are not everything. Business school offers an ability to grow on many different dimensions. You might not do as well in academics but you might be a great student leader. So, be comfortable with where you stand and come to terms with your abilities.

Test the Water
Do a summer internship. Especially if you want to change your career, this can give you the relevant experience. Today, for example, more and more students want to work for startups. Most of them have never worked in a startup. That’s why a summer internship is extremely valuable as a stepping stone toward your career goal.

Have the Courage to be Different
That’s especially important when recruiting season starts. Don’t let peer pressure overwhelm you when colleagues entering the consulting or investment banking route get job offers with big signing bonuses. Wanting to try something different can be unsettling. But don’t feel intimidated, and have the courage to strike out on your own. In the long run, it’s not all about money — it’s also about the satisfaction your job gives you.

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