Written by: Sarah Jiva, JD/MBA ’24
Like many other grad students, before I began the UB MBA program, I thought to myself, “I completed my undergraduate degree in business administration, so the MBA program will be super similar and easy for me, right?” WRONG!
While having some sort of background in business is helpful as you will recall subject matter concepts, the UB MBA experience is its own unique journey that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about industry, as well as yourself.
Below are some things to know as you begin the UB MBA program:
It is fast paced! Courses that you may have taken throughout one full semester in undergrad may be packed into just half a semester, or roughly 7 weeks, in the UB MBA program. This workload can feel overwhelming at first as you start to get into a rhythm. What kept me sane is knowing that the TAs and professors were there to help me and my peers.
Your first couple weeks may be a process of trial and error until you find a review and study method that works best for you. Make sure you stay on track with deliverables, and even more importantly, make sure you are patient with yourself.
Multitasking level = 100. In graduate school, it is more than likely that you will be navigating courses, a job, your internship search, interview prep, and more all at the same time. You have to consistently have your eyes open for both upcoming assignments and upcoming opportunities!
The School of Management’s Career Resource Center (CRC) does a great job of alerting students to assistantships, internships, and full-time jobs. It is imperative to make a personal connection with the CRC so they can forward opportunities and help you pave your way forward. You must begin with the end in mind and make sure that you spend as much time looking for future opportunities as you do making sure you excel in the classroom.
Everyone knows your name. Unlike in undergrad where you may have encountered several large lectures with many students in them, you will move through the first year with the same individuals. Additionally, your professors will get to know you on a personal level, which allows for a really special camaraderie between students and faculty. The MBA program is a very social program, and in order to excel and make the most of your program, it is best to embrace that.
Teamwork like you’ve never experienced before. In undergrad, it is likely that you experienced working in group projects. However, the lessons you will learn from teamwork in the UB MBA program are unmatched. In undergrad you may have several different classes with different team projects. Once the project is over, you may never have had to speak to your teammates again. This is the antithesis of what happens in the UB MBA program.
In the first year of the UB MBA program, the majority of your work is done in the same group. You will have every class with your teammates, working on deliverables across all classes and one comprehensive project that encompasses what you learned in several of the core classes. This constant contact and collaboration within your team makes conflict resolution and interpersonal skills a necessity. Open and honest communication amongst my team led to some difficult conversations, but due to our dedication to one another, I can confidently say that my teammates are some of my closest friends in the program.
I am continuously learning new things in the UB MBA program that I never experienced before in any of my undergraduate business courses. The challenges you encounter in the UB MBA program are not made to break you, rather they are made to stretch you so that you may reach new potential. At the end of the day, the UB MBA experience is what you make of it, so remember to enjoy the journey!
Sarah Jiva is a current JD/MBA student at the University at Buffalo School of Management. As of this post, she is working as an intern at Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization, and U.S. Small Business Administration. She also is a teaching assistant for Introduction to Management Information Systems (MGS351).