Information Gathering for Your MBA Program
Now that you have regrouped and re-focused for your MBA program, you need to gather some information so you can work your way through the remaining steps I suggest effectively and efficiently.
The objective is to gather the details you will need as you assess and prioritize how you will use your time between now and the first day of class. For example, when addressing some of the work-life-MBA issues, you will need to know how often classes meet or when classes are scheduled so you can share this information with your family, employer, coworkers, and others.
Most, but not all, of the information can be found on your MBA program Web site. Gathering the rest of the information may require some meetings or phone calls to your MBA Program Director or the admissions people you worked with through the admissions process.
Much of the information you will want from them, in all likelihood, will be distributed to you; however, you want to get ahead. You may end up pushing some of these people, so you need to be aware that you are one of many newly admitted students they are dealing with at this time. Another approach is to ask them if you could have lunch with one of the first year students so you can get a different perspective. No matter what, your initiative will be applauded.
Let me caution you that there may be an attempt to deflect some of your inquiries. They may respond, “We will be covering that during the orientation (scheduled two months from now)” or “You will receive a package early next month that addresses all of that.” Remember, your purpose is to get the information you need to help you use the time you have available before the first day of class to your benefit. You may need to be persistent and courteous.
Using the following categories as a guide to gathering information for your MBA program, prepare a checklist of information needed. To gather this information, start with a review of the MBA Program’s Web site and then interview the following people in the order listed: first year student, admission’s counselor, and the MBA program director.
1) Dates. Relevant MBA program dates include graduation, class dates, team meetings, international trips, guest speakers, student group activity dates, etc.
2) Graduation Requirements. Included in this information set are your MBA course requirements, minimum GPA, elective course requirements and options, etc.
3) Course Scheduling. When are the MBA courses I need for graduation offered? Registration deadlines First day of class Last day of class, etc.
4) Technology. Colleges and universities usually adopt standard technologies campus wide. However, some MBA programs adopt their own unique set of technologies. More often than not, the adopted technologies present a problem for newly enrolled students. For full time students, it may be nothing more than learning to use the technologies provided. However, for part time, executive, and online, the issues may be more complex. Often employer firewalls prevent access to the campus technologies so alternatives may need negotiating with the IT people at work or other options identified for accessing explored.
5) Student Services. Colleges and universities provide a wide variety of services for enrolled students. Generally, these services are usually designed for the benefit of undergraduate students or the MBA program provides a unique set of services for their students. However, some services are potentially beneficial to MBA students. For example, placement, which is either centralized at the campus level or decentralized at the MBA level, and technology services, may be of benefit to MBAs.
6) Logistics. The logistics from an MBA participant’s standpoint can be problematic. Logistics includes everything from parking and food service to travel for participating in international residency periods. For Executive MBA programs, most, if not all, logistics are taken care of for enrolled students. For the remainder of the MBA programs, each individual student must deal with the issues.
Perhaps over time we can all help build a checklist of information that we found helpful as we prepared to start the MBA program. Please feel free to add to the list or to expand the details for any item by commenting on this post.
Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of MyeEMBA.com