An MBA is a two year happy hour right? Wrong.

January 2, 2014
by Eric Norman

Happy hours, not reading the cases, and “delegating” to the rest of the study group. That’s what an MBA program consists of, right?

While this is what most engineering students may believe and the myth many MBAs instill to others, it is counter-factual and won’t get you many friends or skills. Unfortunately, there are very few hiring managers waiting to give you a job just because you have a shiny new degree. (If you are going back to your previous company/job you can stop reading here.)

The competition is tough. Just think about the one hundred thousand annual MBA graduates and all the other graduate degrees granted[1]. Now think about the talented undergrads rising through companies, gaining great experience, creating networks to be effective, and generally mastering their company and process, and remember that there is no bar exam or hippocratic oath to become a business person, just a cocktail of capital, trust, network, guts, and luck. At Rady in particular, take Berthelot’s course: CEO, BOD, & Governance (MGT211). You will hear first hand how much work the CEO has to be willing to do--how could it be otherwise when thousands aspire to one job?

So don’t be afraid to work hard and learn as much as you can. Learning to handle more reading than is humanly possible requires prioritization and teamwork, and you find and improve your limits by pushing yourself. School is an incredibly low-risk time to do so. And guess what. If you find what you are passionate about it turns out work can be a growing and rewarding experience.

Now, it is also important to be sociable and nice, and learn to work with different types of people. So of course you should socialize with classmates. One of the great strengths of Rady is the small size which fosters our close community; get to know your amazing Profs and dedicated staff.[2] Bonus points for mixing with the other UCSD schools and classmates with different backgrounds and experiences than yours. Because success in management requires playing well with others of diverse and varied backgrounds.

Eric Norman graduated from the Rady full time program in 2012 where he was elected CEO of the student board by his peers and won an MIT competition with three classmates.


[1] GMAC http://www.gmac.com/why-gmac/gmac-news/gmnews/2010/march/how-many-us-mba-students-are-there-gmac-has-the-award-winning-answer

[2] http://gmatclub.com/blog/2011/06/selecting-your-target-mba-program-a-look-at-class-size/