The Path to a Happy First Year in Business School (Part I)
Your first year of business school is likely to be a busy one. Adjusting to a new place, meeting new people, learning new things, and opening new doors will make it an exciting, even thrilling experience. Yet, the best way to ensure that you will enjoy your first-year of business school is through preparedness. There are essentially three key ways in which to prepare, and thereby easily clear some of the main hurdles of the first-year.
1: Math Prep
Before you arrive on campus, you should focus on academic preparedness for the Math aspect of business school. If you feel a little weak on your quantitative skills prior to beginning your MBA, you are not alone. Approximately a third of MBA entrants need a full Math review course before they begin classes, and an additional third are weak in some area—whether accounting, statistics or excel spreadsheets—and need to spend some time working on it in the summer prior to beginning school. This does leave an additional third—these engineers, accountants or “traditional” candidates, who have been working in the finance industry prior to starting their study. If you fall into this category, you are unlikely to need much additional quantitative before your first-year classes begin. There are also diagnostic tests you may consider taking if you are uncertain of whether or not you are ready for MBA math.
Many business schools offer a math camp or quantitative review to students prior to entering the fall semester. Check with the school you will be attending to see what summer programs they offer. (It’s also a good networking opportunity.)
GMAC sells a Quantitative review program called MBA Survival Kit, including 4 CDs covering finance, accounting, math and statistics skills. Each CD may be purchased separately. Available for $60 each or $155 for the complete set.
MBA Math is an online math review course modeled on the Math Camp at Dartmouth University’s Tuck Business School. It’s available for $99.
Seek out a program that is approved or recommended by the school you are going to attend. Many schools offer their own Math Camps during the summer.
If you do fall into a category like “career-changer” (those out of practice in terms of quantitative skills), take a course. Not doing so will leave you in a position of having to catch up with your classmates, many of whom are accustomed to using analytical or quantitative skills daily. Not taking the time to review will make your first-year a much less pleasurable experience—academically, professionally, and socially.
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