When I enrolled into my executive MBA class, I wasn’t expecting anything dramatic. I was already, what you may call a “wizened old owl,” having “done this and seen that,” that nothing seemed to surprise me anymore. And it didn’t
Aside from Accounting, which really baffles me, all the other subjects seemed a rehash of the things I was too familiar with through years of reading and working.
My work schedule forced on me the part-time program which was kind of easy to deal with. My curriculum may differ from yours but a student of a general MBA can expect a typical first year class to be similar to that of mine. And this could take the form outlined below:
General business education:
The first year will most likely deal with the core courses usually covering the following:
– Organizational behavior;
– Strategic planning.
If you are having a specialization, it may include some subjects related to your specialized field. For example, a specialization on Finance may have subjects on Fund Management or Mergers and Takeovers.
Participate in class discussions:
Your MBA is a preparation for the realities of the world where you may have to fight and claw your way every step of the promotion ladder. It would then be best, at this early, to be in the middle of class discussions; you must participate to learn.
In some cases you may be singled out by your professor to share your opinions and assessments of an issue, while in others, you may be asked to participate in classroom discussions.
Some schools require you to join study groups, form your own study group and work with a group on projects. All these require active participation.
Note: Study groups supplement your individual study and allow you to gain a greater understanding of your subjects, share notes, study tips and ideas.
Expect a lot of homework
This is the worst part of my MBA experience. There were things to research each day, make a report for class presentation the following day.
The amount of work you are required to do at home is sometimes unreasonable.
There will be a lot of reference books to read, case studies to go over, and other assigned reading materials which you need to have good comprehension to be able to hold you’re your own during the class discussions.
Written assignments will be plenty, as well. These could be in the form of essays, case studies or case study analysis.
If you feel handicapped in these areas, you learn how to speed read and to write case study analysis.
A taste of the real world:
MBA classes provide the opportunity for a real hands-on experience through analysis of case studies of real or hypothetical business scenarios
You will be encouraged to apply the knowledge you have acquired in your own work experiences and share them with your classmates.
Some programs require internship where you are assigned companies to work with. Some business schools, the big ones, have career centers that can help you find an internship related to your field of study. If there is none, you may have to fend for yourself.
Even if there is, this should not stop you from looking for internship opportunities outside of the program so you can make comparisons. There are websites that can help you find one that suits you best.
Learn how to cope:
An MBA class requires s lot of reading. If you don’t have the habit of reading, develop one now. You can start by following this simple routine:
– Find a good place to read:
Though you can read anywhere, it might be better to find a good place for better comprehension and retention.
Find a place that is quiet, well-lit, and comfortable for you to read.
– Learn how to speed read:
Speed reading is the act of quickly absorbing written information. The goal is to read quickly but still retain comprehension of the material read.
– Focus on recall, not reading:
Just like seeing a movie, you don’t get to memorize the dialogue but you get the whole story by recall.
It is often impossible to digest everything that you are reading, especially academic books. Reading every word is not necessary, you will be overwhelmed. But do remember the key points and details of the materials you are reading.
Don’t let the above scenario of a typical MBA class drive scare you. More is still to come. Take consolation that the second year may be a lot less reading, but a lot more doing.