If you are reading this blog, you are probably giving serious consideration to the pursuit of a graduate degree in business at The Ohio State University. Congratulations on taking the first step towards achieving your academic and professional goals! It may have been awhile since you have been in school and perhaps you are a little bit nervous about sitting in the classroom again. Here are some helpful hints to get you “MBA ready”:
1) Learn how to use Microsoft Excel – you will learn what you need to know once you arrive here, but it is always helpful to have a basic understanding of the core Excel functions. There are numerous resources online, including this free tutorial I found by doing a quick google search.
2) Read Accounting for Dummies – many students find that accounting is one of the more stressful courses. You may feel a little less overwhelmed if you have perused this book, especially if you have never taken an accounting course before.
3) Read the Wall Street Journal – be aware of what is happening right now in the business world. You will feel more prepared to contribute to classroom discussions and derive the maximum value out of your experience if you are connected and “in the know.”
4) Become familiar with the case method - many instructors use business case studies as a way to thoroughly study and analyze real-world business situations. Harvard Business Review offers pdf cases for purchase as well as resources to help you prepare to analyze a case in the MBA program.
5) Go to company websites and take a look at their financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, cash flow). Familiarize yourself with how to read them and use them to interpret the financial health of the organization.
6) Access MBA prep tutorials that are available to you, such as the GMAT Business Ready Collection, which offers tutorials in accounting, finance, quantitative skills and statistics.
7) Paint your house.
Ok, you might be wondering why in the world I am telling you to paint your house, but what I am really trying to say is: Get your personal life in order. You will be juggling many competing priorities during your 2-5 years in the MBA program. Take care of those household projects that have been on your “to-do” list for awhile now, because they might remain on the “to-do” list for quite some time if you don’t. I am not suggesting that your life as you know it is about to end, but you are going to have to shift your priorities a bit. This is especially true if you are a married student or a parent. You are going to want to spend your “free” time doing those things that are most valuable to you and spending time with the people who matter most. You are not going to want to worry about home improvement projects and other items on your list that are not of high priority.