Acceptance into business school is a time for celebration, and while new doors are opened adjusting to university life can often be daunting. Any incoming student has to adjust to university life, which can often be far away from home and a brand new environment, but new business school students must face their own unique set of challenges and experiences their very first year.
Business school students should expect to learn their school’s academic expectations quickly. The curriculum for business programs obviously varies from program to program, but business schools are often much more regulated as to what a student’s courses should be each semester. In many cases, there will be very few, if any, elective courses. Therefore, students who have a strong desire to take classes outside the regular business school curriculum should work closely with academic advisers in order to create a diverse but manageable schedule.
Newly inducted business school students must also keep in mind that their time at university is limited, and that their choices are very important. Deciding right away to aim for a duel degree, multiple concentrations, certificate programs, or accelerated business tracks is incredibly beneficial and saves a lot of hassle later on, for students, parents, and administrative employees alike.
Of course, business students will have to adapt to campus life in their first year. This includes adjusting to living in a new place in many cases, or getting used to commuting to school every day. New people and new experiences are part of everyday life, during classes and downtime alike. Many business school students take advantage of extracurricular activities, from sports to special interest clubs, in order to connect with other students and create lasting memories during their first year at business school.
Nevertheless, the business school experience is unique from that of a regular college freshmen, as the business track involves constantly relating to the applicability of knowledge to the real world. No matter the program, business schools tend to focus on the entrepreneurial spirit and quality experiences. First year business school students should already think ahead about companies or organizations they might like to intern for, paid or unpaid, in order to gain experience. At many schools, these internships can take place during breaks or concurrent to the school year and often count for academic credit.
This real world centric outlook should be very important during a student’s first year in business school, as keeping career minded is one of the wisest outlooks a student can adopt. Many business schools have specialized career centers for internships, part time jobs, and longer employment opportunities both during the first academic year and later on. This allows for lasting ties to form between a student and the career center, making it easier later on when the student requires assistance, guidance, or references.
First year business school students should also expect to get involved in the community around their school. In many business programs, community service is heavily encouraged and sometimes required for graduation. Service opportunities not only form bonds between students, but allow students to understand the community and make a positive impact.
Every business school is different, but a first year business school student should expect to find challenging academic work, innovative classroom experiences, new bonds with peers, and a pathway to savvy business sense and skills that last a lifetime.