First MBA Semester Lessons Learned

My first semester at CSUF’s MBA program is officially over, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience.  The differences between my undergraduate studies and the MBA courses were pronounced, and I’ve touched on them in a previous post.  There are a few lessons I learned during my first semester, and hope to incorporate them into my upcoming spring semester:

I learned I need to prepare for class ahead of time.  Each professor posted their class syllabus online and I ordered my textbooks a couple weeks before the semester started.  However, I didn’t realize the professors expected students to have read the first chapters of their books before the first day of class.  Needless to say, I hadn’t read the chapters ahead of time and played catch-up the rest of the semester.  Next semester I will read those first chapters before the semester starts so I can understand more of the lectures and not be as stressed trying to catch-up on the reading.

I learned that doing the homework makes a big difference when it’s time to study for an exam.  My accounting professor assigned several practice problems for each chapter we read, and I always waiting until I studied for an exam to attempt them.  But similar to the issues with the reading, I then played catch-up and hadn’t allowed myself enough time to learn the material.  I used to be very good at doing work when it was assigned, but balancing my job and studies has been a huge adjustment.  Instead of putting off my reading or practice problems after a long day at work, I will work on making a little progress each day in order to make the assignments more manageable.  This will cut down on the end of semester stress and help me to better learn the material.

I learned that I need to actively meet more of my fellow MBA classmates.  Anyone can strike up a conversation with the person they sit next to in class.  I found myself wanting to learn about my classmates’ occupations and career goals, but too often didn’t bother to introduce myself and ask them those questions.  No one can read my mind and know I want to talk with them – so I need to be more active meeting my classmates.  One of my strategies is to interview classmates for future blog posts and sharing those conversations with you.  My hope is those conversations will lead to new relationships that enrich the MBA experience.

I promised myself I would make the most out of my MBA experience at CSUF.  In my mind, this includes joining a club or participating in an organization on campus.  I sent emails to several organizations, and was disappointed in the responses.  One organization said there weren’t any opportunities for students.  Another organization was geared more towards undergrads, and met only in the afternoons (when I’m working).  However, my goal next semester is to get involved on campus and I may be off to a good start.  I sent an email to the Center for Entrepreneurship asking if they have volunteer opportunities available, and I scheduled a meeting to find out what (if any) opportunities are available.  Hopefully, this will lead to greater involvement on campus and me getting more out of my MBA experience.

Finally, I learned to be extra thankful for my family, friends and loved ones that helped me during my first semester.  I am especially thankful for my wonderful girlfriend, who was so patient and understanding during the last several months.  Before class started, we often would get together 4+ times a week.  During the semester our time together was cut down a bit, but she was amazingly patient and accepting of my schedule.  She was a huge help during my first semester and I’m so thankful for her understanding and support.  I cannot wait to see what the spring semester has in store, but I know I am much better prepared now that I have one semester under my belt.

Here are a couple of interesting articles I read this past week:

“10 Hot Careers for 2012 and Beyond” – This Fortune article lists 10 of the careers and skills in highest demand from employers, and it’s particularly useful for graduates and MBA candidates unsure of where they see themselves after graduation.

“Top 5 Most Common Networking Mistakes” – I am a firm believer of the following networking philosophy: Networking relationships are give-and-take relationships.  By addressing these common mistakes, networkers can build relationships that are beneficial for both parties involved.


2 Responses to “First MBA Semester Lessons Learned”

  1. 1 Johnny Boa January 20, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Great article! Very informative!! Thank you!!!

    • 2 orangecountymba January 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Glad you are finding the articles informative! I remember you mentioned that you had applied to CSUF’s MBA program for the Spring semester – how did that go? Were you accepted into the program?

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