5 Lessons from My MBA Experience that I Will Apply to My JD Experience

Written by: Sarah Jiva, JD/MBA ’24

My first year in the UB MBA program was incredibly rewarding. The challenges that I encountered allowed me to learn a lot about myself, as I reflected on what I overcame, as well as what I could have done differently. With the first part of my MBA journey complete, I feel well prepared to begin the next phase of my dual degree – my first year of law school at UB!

Here are five lessons that I learned from my MBA experience that I will apply to my JD experience: 

  1. Make a personal connection with everyone. As one of my MBA classmates always says, “your network is your net worth.” My first year in the MBA program taught me to talk with as many people as possible. I want to personally know each of my peers as more than just a familiar face. I want to take the initiative to speak with my professors after class and forge a relationship with them. I want to utilize the knowledge and expertise of upperclassmen and learn from their experiences. There is so much to learn from everyone I meet.  
  1. Over-communicating is better than under-communicating. No one knows what is on your mind unless you say something. Whether you need further clarification about something, feel overwhelmed, or just want to make sure everyone is on the same page, I have learned that over-communication is far better than under-communication. Furthermore, communicating openly and honestly is the best way to get work done in teams. Although law school is primarily individual study, I know I will encounter a variety of team-based settings in law school, clinics, internships, or associateships.  
  1. Set boundaries and take care of your well-being. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of such intensive programs. However, success is contingent on physical and mental well-being. I struggled during my first semester of MBA, as I did not maintain a healthy sleep schedule or physical activity routine. I was in a constant state of tiredness, and this led to decreased attention and productivity. I learned the importance of setting time aside to relax, refuel and recharge, and this is still something that I am trying to improve upon.  
  1. Always keep the future in mind. I learned the importance of looking for internships, job opportunities, and connections early. It is never too early to start planning for the future. Websites like LinkedIn are essential for career visualization and networking, as they give an idea of what career path opportunities are out there as well as providing contacts of those who can serve as mentors. The choices that I make today have a direct impact on my opportunities tomorrow. It is easy to get caught up in academic deliverables, but I must remind myself to keep my end goal in mind.  
  1. Keep strong ties with my MBA community. Even though my academic headquarters will be changing from Alfiero Center to O’Brian Hall, I have every intention of staying connected with my MBA community. My cohort contains the brightest and most supportive people I have ever met, and I will continue to support them in all of their endeavors. I will find ways of staying connected, whether that is attending Graduate Management Association events, reaching out to professors, or grabbing an Oreo Iced Capp with a teammate.  

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).

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