I know of people who’d die if they’d get less-than-satisfactory grades at MBA school, so for them am putting together this list. This is based on my own experience while studying. I hope you’ll find this useful too. :)
1. Comply with requirements on time
Professors ask stuff from time to time. Student papers, reflections, blogs, presentations, etc. Do comply with all these requirements and make sure you get to submit them on time.
2. Be friends with classmates
This is very important. Working with others can help reduce workload and provide an opportunity to clarify information.
At AGSB, we always connect with classmates on Fbook. We have Facebook groups on almost every subject and we talk there about assignments and projects. We share thoughts too about certain topics. The interactions make assignments less difficult.
3. Don’t be shy
In class, talk. Contribute. Ask questions. Of course I’d recommend that you read lessons ahead so you won’t look stupid and waste everyone’s time unnecessarily.
4. Be organized
At MBA School, you often have to juggle a lot of things at the same time. Plot your schedule and balance your time. If you think you’re spending too much time on something and it’s getting you nowhere, drop it and shift your mind to something else. You can go back later once your mind is already better conditioned.
Also - if you can, try and avoid having to cram. As soon as you have been given your assignment - get started right away!
5. Research, dig, and study
There are MBA books that you can purchase, but there is the internet too with a universe of information that’s available for free. Spend time on research. Professors like papers that are thorough and well researched.
6. Make use of technology
There’re tools and technologies now that can make studying easier for students. For instance, there are videos and tutorials online that can teach you stuff. There are even sites dedicated to MBA subjects. My favorite sites are www.learnerstv.com and http://hbr.org There’s also this site called mbabullshit.com. The url is funny, I know, but the content is certainly not.
When collaborating with classmates on coursework, make use of Dropbox and Google docs. Many people are using them already in their offices, so it shouldn't be so hard to use them at school.
If you need to do presentations, try and use videos and interactive stuff. Videos can break the ice and make presentations more entertaining.
7. Be competitive, but in a positive way
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with aiming to be on top of class. This gives you motivation and direction. Of course, don’t sacrifice your morals in the process. Help others and encourage them to be successful too.
8. Be prepared for exams
During exam day, come to class earlier. :) This way you can condition your mind and prepare beforehand. I know this by heart because I’m slow as turtle and I often come to class late. Pretty bad example, I know. If there was anything I could have changed about my style, this would have been it.
When taking exams, read each questions carefully before you start answering. Once done, review/rewrite/correct again and again until you’re satisfied (or until time is up).
9. Read regulations
Every school has its own student handbook. Your school should have guidelines and policies for students. For instance about grades, about what not to do, about requirements you’ll have to comply prior to graduation, etc etc. Me and two of my hard-headed friends are perfect examples of this. AGSB requires students to finish all requisite courses prior to taking the final Strama subject. We read the guideline but didn't take it to heart. This mistake cost us several months of delay in graduation.
10. Learn and have fun
Reading and complying is not what MBA is all about. We’re not trained here to be robots. We’re here to be better human beings. What we learn is not as important as what we do with what we learn. So it’s important to understand context and be able to connect learning with real life.
Lastly, have fun and make beautiful memories. Hang out with classmates, drink beer, talk, dine together. My classmates and I even climb mountains together. Some of my closest friends are people I met at MBA school. Despite all the problems, I am having a great time with them. I'm sure I will never forget.
I'm passionate about business, art, and technology. For more about me, click here.
Here's a book I co-wrote with a bunch of industry colleagues. Not sure if you'll find it useful, but feel free to check once you can.
Ateneo Graduate School of Business
University of San Carlos