In my third blog post, I want to explore the steps necessary to set yourself up for success in graduate school especially if you are pursuing an MBA or have been accepted to an MBA program. Recently, our MBA cohort just finished our first round of midterms as the half semester courses were finishing.
Unfortunately, I did not set myself up for success when preparing for midterms especially as I took an undergraduate approach to taking tests. Let’s explore my experience with lessons learned so that potential readers may benefit from my mistake while setting themselves up for success without the agony I endured.
As I received the syllabi for our classes, I circled the week of October 10 as this was when most of our tests were being held. Initially, I had planned to study incrementally throughout the weeks leading up to midterms so that I would not be stuck studying for four tests the weekend previous to October 10. Studying went well for the beginning two weeks until I became comfortable with adjusting to life in business school.
I became too comfortable.
I started to relax my study habits and focus on only those classes who had assignments or homework due that week. What happened to my resolve to study incrementally? I can point the finger or make excuses, but it falls squarely on me thinking that graduate school exams would be similar to those I took in undergrad. And complacency set in.
As October 10 approached, my anxiety heightened and stress set in thus I felt the need to really hit the grind stone and start preparing for a week’s worth of exams. Not only did I fall behind in multiple classes, I had to start over and begin learning subjects which I let fall by the wayside. So here I am one week before midterms and I have a mountain of work to be completed and textbooks to be read. I am definitely not setting myself up for success in doing this. I also approached these exams in a manner that I approached undergraduate examinations such that I crammed last minute hoping to memorize as much material as possible in the hope of doing well on the exam. Very immature and short sighted!
I failed to realize that memorization only gets one so far and that the material is not fully retained when approaching the material in this way. I also failed to realize that the material that I am working on in class will be useful in my career thus only memorizing information for a test will only fail me since I will not be able to effectively practice what I memorized. I managed to free my schedule and study as much as I could prior to October 10; however, it was not without stress, anxiety, and fear that I would not have enough time to cover all the material.
I realize I must approach graduate school as I would approach a full-time job. The lesson I learned was that I must remember to set myself up for success by keeping up with the material on a weekly basis instead of covering six weeks worth of work in one weekend which was a complete disaster. I must look at business school as preparation for employment who will expect me to work diligently every day while not letting work pile up only waiting for deadlines to approach. The lesson learned is that time management, preparation on a daily basis, and prioritization are ingredients for a recipe for success and happiness in graduate school.