The first year on campus at business school can be a very challenging time for many students. For some, this brings about a new city, new friends, and a return to the classroom after years away. There is very little that can prepare many students for all of this change. Who else could understand what a 1st year student is going through in this very specific circumstance? 2nd year students, that’s who! The proverbial upper classmen of the business school world are a 1st year student’s best bet on navigating life as an MBA.
Here are a few areas a 1st year MBA can utilize their more experienced classmates:
Where should you go grocery shopping? Which hair salon is the best? What’s the closest vegan restaurant? These basic questions can often be a challenge for incoming students as they transition to a new community. 2nd year students are the best source to address all of these life related questions that are so integral to surviving the two years of business school. Of particular help are student clubs that cater to needs of students like the affinity, international, or lifestyle groups on-campus.
2nd years are also key when it comes to handling academics on-campus. Knowing the best classes to take and when can help 1st year students make better decisions when it comes to maximizing their academic experience. Timing is a major factor with academics because some classes can help prepare students for internships in certain industries like marketing or finance so might make more sense to take during the first year. Other classes require a lot of work so may not make sense to take during heavy recruiting periods. 2nd year students in similar career paths can provide a lot of context when selecting which and what time to take certain classes.
Recruiting advice is one of the best uses of 2nd year students on-campus. An easy way to tap into the right classmates is via campus groups. Each major recruiting track i.e. marketing, finance, consulting, etc. will have a campus group focused on providing support in the recruiting process. These career focused campus groups are led by 2nd years that have already gone through the process and should serve as a resource for 1st years. These groups will often match-up 1st year students with experienced 2nd years to encourage mentorship throughout recruiting season.
Make the most of your 2nd year classmates during your first year and avoid all of the mistakes of inexperience by utilizing the bevy of resources available on-campus.
Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.