Ten New Year’s Resolutions for MBA Students

ID-100127157As 2012 ends, many MBA students will take the time to reflect on the year and their many accomplishments while others will take the opportunity to look forward by establishing goals, which, at this time of year, is usually referred to as 2013’s New Year’s Resolutions. With this thought in mind, I take this opportunity to suggest a few resolutions for the current group of MBA students.

My suggested Resolutions are somewhat simple, and I believe they are easy to keep or to perform at least once. Most relate to things you can do to influence the perceptions others have of you, especially your MBA peers. While the MBA program environment is the focus of my resolutions, adopting and keeping any one of them may go beyond the MBA classroom and have a positive effect on other areas of your professional and personal life.

I recommend that you adopt one, some, or all of the following resolutions sometime during the first 90 days of 2013.

RESOLUTION 1: Take one of your MBA faculty members to lunch. Select a faculty member with whom you would like to establish a networking relationship or one you will likely want to use as a reference. More often than not, the quality of a reference letter depends on how well the faculty member knows you, and this is a good way for a faculty member to get to know you.

RESOLUTION 2: Do all class-reading assignments for a 30-day period. Faculty members are not naïve enough to believe that all students read all of the assigned readings for their class. However, from a faculty member’s perspective, there is a noticeable difference in class participation between students who come to class having read the assignments and those who have not. More importantly, you will get more out of class discussions and work when those reading assignments are completed. Try a 30-day period and see what happens.

RESOLUTION 3: Take one of your MBA classmates to lunch. MBA students often say that one reason for enrolling in an MBA program is the opportunity to network, yet many MBA students fail to develop their networks. A way of meeting people who can one day be of help to you is to connect periodically with classmates with whom you are not working on a MBA team assignment.

RESOLUTION 4: Send a handwritten thank-you note to someone. Handwritten notes are a rarity, given the popularity of electronic communication. Because such messages are rare, it means that recipients of handwritten notes will likely remember receiving one and who sent it.

RESOLUTION 5: Reflect after a class period or class weekend. Take a few minutes after each class period or class weekend and make notes about the one or two most important things you learned. On the other hand, you can identify what went well or needs improvement about an instructional period. Periodically reviewing these notes helps reinforce learning and you will be able to measure your progress during the program.

RESOLUTION 6: Provide feedback to the people who recommended you for your MBA program. More than likely, several people wrote letters of recommendation for you as part of the MBA program application process. They helped you achieve your goal of getting into an MBA program. Have you thanked them? Have you provided them feedback about the program? If not, then there is no time like the present to so.

RESOLUTION 7: Contribute to class discussions for one or more class periods. More often than not, too few students participate in class discussions. Coming to class prepared to contribute and then doing so can change the dynamics of the class, especially when you are one of the rare contributors. Faculty members and classmates remember thoughtful contributions from members of the class.

RESOLUTION 8: Surprise someone you have neglected since starting the MBA program. When you added an MBA program to your already busy life, it is likely that you began neglecting something or someone. Identify the neglected someone and surprise him or her with a phone call, a visit, or a special gift.

RESOLUTION 9: Create and lead an extracurricular project or activity for your MBA class. MBA program extracurricular activities provide opportunities for classmates to see another side of you. You can do something as simple as identifying a charitable cause for the class to sponsor a fundraising event for or coordinating with a local high school’s Junior Achievement group to have MBA class members work with their students.

RESOLUTION 10: Share a MyeEMBA article or make a comment on a MyeEMBA article. MyeEMBA’s purpose is to help MBA students live and work smarter while they earn their MBA. You can help other MBA students by sharing articles or commenting on posted articles. It is as easy as clicking on the SHARE icon.

I am sure that many of you have created your own set of New Year’s Resolutions. Please share one or two with the MyeEMBA readers by adding a comment.

Happy New Year!

Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Professor of Accounting
Founder, MyeEMBA.com

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 comments for “Ten New Year’s Resolutions for MBA Students

  1. February 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Right now I am really liking Resolution 5 and want to adapt it as a learning exercise. How extensive should the notes be? can they be as short as 10 words written on a coloured flag? or should the notes really be a bit more extensive, e.g. identifying where this is applicable rl or how it relates to another issue.

    • March 1, 2013 at 6:06 am

      I think the note should be long enough to cause the person making the note to remember enough detail to provide meaningful feedback when requested to do so. If notes are being prepared for feedback to someone else immediately after an exercise or class session, then I think more detail is going to be needed. Asking “what went well” and “what needs improvement” is open ended enough to get a wide range of feedback that may require additional investigation to find out the meaning. When I do live training classes I ask these two questions as part of a facilitated discussion. This allows me to drill down and get the insight needed to make change.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the article and make a comment.

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