June 4, 2009, 5:35 am

Survival Guide to a MBA Part4: A Few More Tricks Before You Start

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: MBA
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I finish this small series about surviving to a MBA with a few more tricks to improve your efficiency and your overall experience while during the programs.

Don’t bother reading everything

You may start your MBA with great intentions and motivation. However, the level of reading required by each teachers is ridiculous. They give you a 800 pages books, note, powerpoints and articles to read for each class. If you do everything, trust me, you will spend the next two years of your life only doing the MBA. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Based on the Paretto Principle (this is my motto!), you should use 20% of your time to create 80% of the results. Therefore, listen to the teach in class (you are stuck on that chair anyway, so you rather listen to what he says) and then, identify the important part to read in the book according to what he says and what he spends the most time. Be careful, this method can be misleading if you are not use to “read between the lines”. But if the teacher spends some time on a concept, that you find it again in your notes and you have a chapter on it in the book, I would bet that it will be at the exam 😉

The key is not to know everything and I think it is one of the goal of the MBA; to make sure you can manage a inhuman amount of information and still get what is important out of it. Do you think that VP’s and Presidents of this world know everything single details of their company, their market and the economy? They don’t, but they have this amazing power of synthesis!

Make a lot of friends

The MBA is also about cooperation. If you make friends among and outside your team, you will not only build a strong network for your career but you will also benefit from the experience of several people while studying, making your researches and writing your papers. Be careful of not benchmarking too much as the best team always sets the rule and don’t really care about what the others say or do. However, when you have a question, it is interesting to validate with more than one source.

Work with leaders in each project

When we started our first session, we decided to try the following model: Each of us took the lead for a class where he has strong points. The team leader of each project would decide and define the project for the session. He would determine what needs to be done and by whom. Finally, he was responsible to put all parts together and make sure it makes sense at the end. While putting all parts together, he was able to add more knowledge and details to the paper since he was working on his strength. This saved us a lot of time because we didn’t argue much about what should be done and we got excellent marks for all our projects.

Don’t meet when it is not necessary

You will always have people that are fans about team meeting. They just love it! They want to meet every week and believe that they will be better / more productive by doing so. We completely did the opposite. We rarely meet off class. We actually meet once or twice per session and we determine why we meet and what needs to be done in team before we attend to the meeting. For some weird reasons, we always managed to put the less number of hours in our project than the other teams but we were always able to get in the top marks. You don’t have to work hard to get good results; you only have to work smart 😉

To see the other post of this series, click on the following links:

Surviving to the program

Surviving to your job

Surviving WITH your family

If you have any other questions about my MBA program, don’t hesitate to send me an email at thefinancialblogger (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll be happy to share a piece of my experience with you!

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Thanks for the advice. I’m starting my MBA next year and I hope to have a team that values meeting effiiency as your team did. I’m very much like you when I comes to fighting. So you offer a good tip to not fight pointlessly. Keep up the good blogging!