Now wrapping up a three-month internship at the Chicago office of a major US consulting firm, Kelly Ladiges arrived at Kellogg with an undergraduate degree in economics. That background provided a welcomed boost during her hectic first semester: “I knew that the work was going to be really hard. But I wasn’t afraid of being academically overwhelmed. I was more worried about all the other distractions.”
Create a Study-Friendly Environment
Get organized before you hit the ground. Become familiar with the classes you are going to take and the expectations for those classes. In addition, make sure your home is all set, and that you are completely moved in. Eliminate the little nagging things that you shouldn’t worry about when classes start.
Think about what you want to get out of school. Where do you want to take your career? Two years is not much time, and there are a billion things you could do during business school. But if you try to do all of them, you won’t do them well. So, think about your goals and then select the most suitable activities.
For every hour of class time, you should expect to prepare two hours on your own. For example, if you have four hours of class, you should expect to prepare eight hours a week for that clas. The average total preparation time is approximately 32 hours. But there are always ups and downs. Generally, the classes that require a lot of group work are more time-consuming because you’re trying to coordinate the teamwork.
Enjoy Healthy Competition
The classroom is a very safe environment where anyone can say what they think. You don’t need to be afraid of looking stupid or being slammed by your classmates. And for the most part my classmates are my friends. There’s a healthy level of competition that makes everybody strive to do better. It’s not a forced curve, and people want everyone to do well. For example, if students put together a page of test notes prior to an exam, they are generally happy to share those notes.
Sap the Second-Year Students
One of the best ways to gather information for your job search is to talk to second-year students about their summer internship experiences. Of course, Kellogg’s career center has a lot of resources. But that’s primarily information published by the companies themselves, so it’s not always the straightforward. Second-year students are probably the best source because they give the most honest, candid answers.
Return to MBA Survival Guide