How To Make The Most Of Your MBA Experience

Sustained performance is an often overshadowed component of successful narratives. Doing the difficult task, day in and day out isn’t what comes to mind when most people think of triumph. Our society is drawn to the “overnight success” or the “immensely talented,” ignoring that the “overnight success” was probably years in the making. Successful completion of an MBA program is certainly a proud moment, but it won’t come without a commitment to its daily requirements. As an MBA student, I’ve developed some best practices on getting the most out of my degree and would like to share a few suggestions for your journey.

Do the work

The MBA environment is collaborative. Everyone is bringing in their strengths and the goal is to make the best use of them for everyone involved. This can create an avenue for you to shy away from things that you don’t do well, opting to let those “more experienced” handle tasks you haven’t surmounted just yet. Learning is what the experience is all about. Maximizing strengths is a part of the process, but so is mitigating weaknesses. Stepping up to lead a portion of a project that is uncomfortable for you will build and improve necessary new skills for taking the next step in your profession.

Go to the events

The education in the classroom is only a portion of the value added by pursuing an MBA. Getting in front of people currently working in your desired or current field is invaluable. In a world dominated by machines filtering resumes, what will be your edge to getting that next job? A great hire is more often located via a relationship than a job website. How do you meet said people? At events! The Rady School hosts events catered to students at various stages in their career. From panels, to mixers, to the incredibly popular breakfast speaker series, there’s no shortage of opportunities to make the connections needed for professional growth.

Schedule your time

As a working professional, time management was my biggest challenge with going back to school. The work requirements don’t stop, the family requirements don’t stop, but you’ve elected to introduce this new experience that requires its own level of dedication. The requirements are surmountable, with planning. Some of the best advice I received before starting at Rady was, “Work on something for at least two hours, everyday.” It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and behind. ‘Chunking’ my productivity, at a minimum, to a couple hours a day has aided my success.

Marshawn Williams is a member of the FlexWeekend ’18 cohort, a representative for the Rady Student Board, a Student Ambassador and serves as the Vice President of Marketing for the Rady Veterans Association. He currently works as a Government Contractor for SPAWAR. 

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