Congratulations! You bested the GMAT, wrote an inconvenient number of essays, and excelled in your interview. Now, your MBA program begins in several months, and you are equal parts excited and worried about what lies ahead. How difficult will your classes be? What work will you be expected to complete?
These are excellent questions, and the answer to one – “What work will I be expected to complete?” – appears below. Here is your guide to common business school assignments:
In most MBA programs, you will be asked to read a number of case studies in preparation for class discussion. These assignments are regular and relentless – roughly 60% of the workload during my MBA program involved case studies.
Consequently, aim to make reading a significant part of your daily schedule prior to the start of your MBA: Read the business, finance, economics, and science and technology sections of newspapers to stay abreast of current developments. This will help you better understand how each case study applies to the current business environment.
Another near-weekly routine for most MBA students is preparing a class presentation. As a future business leader, you will frequently be called upon to address a crowd. Business school presentations are designed to improve or enhance your public speaking skills — but creating a clear and concise PowerPoint presentation should ideally be second nature to you before you begin your MBA.
Practice public speaking as often as you can – at work, at home, or while volunteering.
Sometimes, the best way to learn is to do, and your business school professors will take advantage of this fact by assigning you problem sets to work on at home. During my MBA program, these problem sets were most common in finance and statistics courses.
Resist the urge to work in groups to solve these problem sets. Instead, use them as an opportunity to absorb the quantitative concepts, as they span almost all of the material that you will be exposed to during your MBA program – and beyond.
Work with others only after attempting the questions yourself, and do so with the intention of learning about alternative approaches to the same problem. You may find that your learning experience is enhanced if you try these problems alone before working with anyone else.
Many of the classes that I took in business school involved an end-of-semester paper. These assignments were often completed in groups, and they were intended to encourage us to explore one of the many topics discussed during the semester in greater depth.
They also mirrored the working world, where business leaders typically have multiple ongoing projects that span several months.
To succeed on this type of assignment, meet regularly as a group, and start well ahead of schedule. Create an agenda before every meeting, and take initiative by delegating tasks and ensuring group discussions stay on topic.
Most of your business school assignments will be centred around reading and summarizing case studies, preparing class presentations about the cases, solving quantitative problem sets, and working on an end-of-semester paper in a group.
Make reading part of your daily schedule, know how to put together clear and concise PowerPoint presentations, attempt problem sets on your own before meeting with classmates, and start end-of-semester projects early, taking on leadership roles whenever possible. Good luck!
The author, Emmanuel Yimfor, is a professional GMAT tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. He received his MBA from Kent State University in 2012.