Written by: Caroline Soh, MBA ’23
You’ve set your sights high and should be very proud of your acceptance into B-school! Let’s get ready for this new and exciting journey of personal and professional growth. Being a new student can be difficult—no matter how old you are or how many years of school you already have under your belt. This can be especially true for first-year MBA students who are thrown into a new environment that is known for being rigorous, challenging and frequently competitive.
To make the most of the incredible opportunities an MBA can afford you, here are five tips for getting off to a flying start in the all-important first semester.
- Meet your peers.
Throughout the program there will be numerous ‘meet and greet’ sessions and networking events. Even if you lean toward introvert tendencies, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and get to know your classmates. While what you learn in class is functional, what you learn from classmates can be even more insightful. These are the people who can support you through the early weeks while you’re acclimatizing to a whole new environment.
- Network with a purpose.
Networking is a key part of every long-term career strategy. A strong network may position you for success at every stage of your career. Talk with second-year students as well as your professors. They may turn out to be future mentors, network builders and even a friend for life.
- Manage your time effectively.
You’re always going to have too much to actually do. Don’t let this get you down; prioritize your time so that you can maximize your productivity. Get into the habit of making a daily schedule for yourself, factoring in time for breaks and some time away from your desk to recharge. Look at your to-do list and prioritize the most pressing tasks. Reach out to your fellow classmates to see if you can work together and divide the load; discussions about course material may be just as useful as the reading you’ve done alone.
- Look after your physical health.
The risk of burnout is real, especially in the first few semesters, so be sure to take care of yourself physically and replenish your energy. Solo activities, like yoga and swimming, can give you much needed alone time. Or if you prefer to exercise with a friend or play team sports, these can provide a great way to meet people at your program. Whatever it is that gets your heart pounding, factor in the time for exercise. Try to fuel your body well, to feel the best that you can. You’ll not only feel more energized, but you’ll likely also get a better-quality night of sleep.
- Prioritize your mental health.
In the same vein, take some time out for rest and relaxation. Even spending just 30 minutes a day doing something you enjoy can make a real difference to your mental well-being. Whether it’s catching up on a Netflix episode, cooking a meal for yourself or connecting with family or friends, prioritize your health and happiness.
Bio: Caroline is a first year MBA student pursuing concentrations in Operations and Supply Chain Management as well as Data Analytics. She received her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Administration from Boston University. After college, she remained in the Northeast to manage the restaurant and bar operations at the Intercontinental Hotel Boston. She is excited to return to her hometown, Buffalo, to begin her MBA education.
After a few years in the hospitality management industry, Caroline became driven to sharpen her business acumen and gain critical knowledge in operations and strategy. Her direct experiences with workplace dilemmas motivated her to better understand process improvement and change management.
Caroline serves as the Director of Internal Affairs for the Graduate Management Association and is an active member of the UB MBA Consulting Group. She is excited to create opportunities for the MBA community to engage in social events and network with diverse peers. Caroline hopes to leave the UB MBA program with the tools necessary to become an impactful industry leader and facilitator of organizational change.
Alongside her studies, Caroline enjoys boxing, cycling, and baking. She enjoys serving East Asian pastries and desserts through her home bakery business Heart n’ Seoul.