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7 Study Tips for First Time MBA Students

Posted by Neil Trotta on Aug 24, 2015 10:48:00 AM

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Whether you’re going from your undergraduate studies directly into a master’s program, or you’re leaving the working world to pursue your Master of Business Administration, the curriculum can be grueling.

Between work and family commitments adding the extra requirements that go along with a rigorous graduate program can get the best of many first-year business school students.

We’ve outlined seven time management and study tips below geared to help first-time MBA students survive their first semester in business school.



Photo courtesy of Flickr


1. Be prepared

“Always prepared” isn’t just the motto for the Boy Scouts. As a first-year B-school student you need to make sure you are ready before you enter the semester.

Buy or rent books early and read the first couple of chapters before you set foot in your first class. Having at least a cursory familiarity with the information will help to reinforce it later.

Sit in the front row and take detailed notes. It’s easier to get distracted when you sit toward the back of class, and being closer to instructors helps them to recognize you should you need help in the future.



Courtesy of Flickr


2. Increase your reading speed

For MBA students, investing time in increasing reading speed before your first semester will pay off later.

Throughout your grad work you’re going to have a lot of reading to do. Textbook chapters, case studies, lecture notes, and other required readings will take up a huge chunk of your time and effort.

The ability to digest and recall information more quickly is a valuable asset.



Courtesy of Flickr


3. Create a daily schedule and stick to it

Break studying into smaller blocks. Each day do assigned readings and review notes. If you keep the material fresh in your mind, it is easier to recall later.

Schedule a weekly review to refresh what you’ve studied throughout the week. This will reinforce the information, making it easier to recall later.



Courtesy of Flickr

4. Study the “right way”

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to study. A five-hour cram session, for example, is far less effective than five one-hour study sessions.

Although people have different learning styles, psychologists have studied the most effective study techniques. This Washington Post article digs into this research and offers up the most effective of these study tactics.


Courtesy of Flickr


5. Schedule regular breaks

Your schedule may be frantic, but you need to schedule blocks of time a couple of times a week to be away from work and school. Burnout is a huge problem for MBA-track students, especially first-years.

You’ll need time to recharge your batteries and refocus on your goals. This Harvard Business Review article offers some tips to stave off frustration and exhaustion.



Courtesy of Flickr


6. Limit TV time

This may be the toughest sacrifice to make for many people. But TV is a huge drain on your time and it should be limited. In a 2010 interview Stanford University President John Hennessy said he quit watching TV the day he interviewed for his job 10 years before because it is a “waste of time.”

Although it can be a nice way to turn off and relax, rather than watching the tube two hours each day, cut watch time to an hour or less.

 Your free time is valuable. Use it wisely.



Courtesy of Flickr


7. Make use of “dead time”

Life in a city like Boston means a considerable amount of time is spent waiting. You wait for the T, wait while you’re on the T, wait for your kids or spouses, wait for appointments.

While those small snippets of time may seem insignificant, they add up. Try to keep your study material handy—perhaps in an e-document that can be accessed on the go—so you can use those empty spaces to your advantage.

Although they aren’t a guarantee to make your B-school experience easier, these tips should help to alleviate at least some of the stress involved with the rigors of your MBA program.


For more information about program requirements and course schedules for Fisher College's MBA program, click the link below.


Fisher College MBA  

Topics: Boston Campus, Boston DAPS, MBA, DAPS

Fisher College DAPS

Division of Accelerated & Professional Studies

Fisher College first opened its doors in 1903 in the predominantly working-class city of Somerville, Massachusetts, just two miles north of Boston. The school was founded on the belief that the immigrants of that city should have an opportunity to advance beyond unskilled labor jobs.

The Division of Accelerated and Professional Studies was established in 1975 to serve the adult population of Eastern Massachusetts, with branch locations in:

  • Boston
  • Brockton
  • North Attleborough
  • New Bedford

The Fisher Online division began in 1998, and currently serves students from all over the United States and around the world.

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