Getting an MBA is one of the best decisions you can make for giving a direction to your career goals and achieving both the intellectual and leadership skills of a manager. As amazing an experience it is, a one-year MBA can be too intense if you aren’t prepared well, aren’t focused and wish to attend every social gathering in this awesome university. There are a few things I wish I had done differently, and here is my advice to those who would be starting next year:
1. Have a clarity of the jobs function, industry and geography
You can pick more than one (I would advise not more than two). This would help you explore the companies, profiles and help you with your cover letter and informal interviews. Not just that, you need to start preparing early to make sure you stand out, considering everyone in your cohort would be achievers.
2. Start with your informational interviews
Start finding alumni, start talking, schedule meetings; understand their industry, company, job function and most importantly the company culture. Starting now gives the alumni more time to help you and he/she is rest assured your focus is to understand their job and not to get a referral. This would not only help you understand their job function but also to prepare in advance.
3. Make sure you have the first draft of your CV and cover letter
You will need to update your CV and cover letter more than 50 times this year. But having a solid draft before stepping into your MBA will put you in a good place. Recruitment events start within weeks of joining.
4. You may want to have a list of case competitions and clubs
It is my strongest belief that experiential learning can teach you more than 5x hours of lecture. I have participated in Women in Tech Challenge, Adobe Pitch and Prototype Challenge amongst few other, and currently working on HULT and L’Oreal Brandstorm. Case competitions are mostly about latest technologies and trends, and participating in these would give you a first-hand experience of learning new concepts, meeting leaders from various industries and add more thrill to your learning.
5. Prepare yourself for the best
Start on preparing case studies NOW. This takes more than 100 hours of dedicated practice and is a skill which is relevant to almost every job position you look for. Pick up the Victor Cheng case practice, find a case partner and practice as much as you can. Start preparing for Behavioral interviews as well. Additionally, take up courses online. If you are in tech, learn SQL, Big data analytics and Digital Transformation. This will save you hours when you are here.
Trust me, you want to do as many things as Cambridge has to offer you. So use the time well, before heading to Cambridge and make this one year MBA the best learning experience of your life.
PS: You will receive tips on preparing before the course. Do what the career team asks you to!