4 Things to Accomplish in Your First Semester of Business School

Congratulations! You’re going to business school. This transition is quite an exciting time in your life. Now that the application process is over, the fun can begin. Before you dive headfirst into your MBA program, however, let’s take a look at a few items to take care of at the beginning of your journey. Beyond the basics—like meeting new people and getting an internship—here are four things to accomplish in your first semester of business school.

1. Make a list of MBA goals

Don’t simply store them in your head, make sure to write down your list of goals — otherwise, you might forget. Plus, you can review it at graduation and take pride in what you achieved over the course of your program.

These are goals that are specific to you, not anyone else. Remember what you wrote in your application about why you want to go to business school? Read over your essays again, and determine if your past words apply to your current situation. For instance, did you say that you want to study finance and become a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, but now you’d like to research developing economies and run a non-governmental organization in another country? Based on what you have learned during the months between clicking on the submit button and receiving your acceptance letter, you can revise your MBA objectives.

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2. Start strong in your core classes

The first semester of your first year may be your toughest period in business school. You’re still figuring on how this MBA environment works, and, for potentially the first time in years, you will be back in a classroom setting, sitting through accounting, economics, statistics, and strategy courses. Additionally, most MBA programs have a minimum GPA requirement for students to maintain overall in their classes. Many companies ask about and look at how well you are performing academically. Do the work. Find a study group. Read the material, prepare for the exams, and earn the grades you need to succeed.

3. Go to an MBA conference

There are a number of annual conferences for MBA students to attend in major cities across the United States. These events provide you with opportunities to meet students from other schools, connect with representatives from Fortune 500 companies for summer internships, and build relationships with alumni from your school who live in different cities but work in the industries you are interested in. You can also bond with your fellow classmates outside the regular confines of your school during the long weekend. Attending MBA conferences during the first semester of your program can set you up for success in a multitude of ways. However, make sure to plan ahead. Scheduling, logistics, and travel expenses will all factor into which of these events will best fit into your packed MBA calendar.

4. Make time for naps

A nap may be the only way you get any rest during your days as a business school student. With club outings, company presentations, study group meetings, homework, and yes, actual classes, your MBA schedule will overflow with commitments that you need to stay energized for. Getting eight hours of sleep every night can sometimes feel like a luxury you can’t always afford. To function as a human being, however, your body needs rest! Ensure you create space in your schedule to power down so that you can start up again more effectively later.

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As many MBA alums will tell you, business school will come and go in a flash. By the time you’re walking across the stage at graduation, you will wonder how you did so much in such a short period. Your MBA program will challenge you in unexpected ways, but the rewards will be more than worth it. By keeping in mind these four things to accomplish in your first semester of business school, you will be ready to face these challenges head-on.