The first day of business school is always an interesting experience. Some students are anxious to learn about what will be expected of them by the professors and their classmates. Others are wondering if they’ve picked the right degree, the right school, or even the right career path. Many will be excited about the opportunities ahead of them both in the classroom and also the next chapter of their lives.
The number of students applying for master of business administration (MBA) degree programs is on the rise, according to the 2013 Application Trends Survey Report published by Graduate Management Admission Council, which can be an indicator of an increase in undergraduate students in business schools, too. Students will need to be at the top of their game, not only to finish their degree programs, but also to remain viable candidates when applying for jobs because of this increase in the total number of students in business school.
There are students who will flourish in a business school setting. They usually have several characteristics to help them succeed in school, as well as in whichever direction their career may take them. Those characteristics include:
* Curiosity – Life is a constant adventure in learning. This learning can happen in a conversation with a stranger on the street, it can happen in a business education setting, and it can happen in the workplace. What makes the learning process ongoing is a sense of curiosity in the student who acts upon that curiosity.
In business school, students who ask questions will not only clarify areas where they are confused, but they also bring value to the discussions with professors and other students. This insight helps everyone enhance their awareness and understanding of a given topic. Questions also open the doors to taking a discussion down a new path, which can help to increase everyone’s overall understanding of the business industry. This skill doesn’t just help students succeed in the classroom; having the ability to ask for feedback from peers in the industry can help to quickly resolve challenges, and one of the best ways to create a network of peers is through attending business school.
* Responsibility – Good business students know how to make the business degree they’re earning theirs. They know the value of earning the degree and the potential doors it might open in the future, and for these reasons, they invest themselves fully in all the offerings of the degree program. These students take the time to research the business school before enrolling, and they know as a result that they’ve chosen a school that is the right fit for them financially and academically.
This sense of responsibility isn’t just for accomplishing the classroom work to earn the degree. Responsible students also know they need to connect with their fellow students and professors in the classroom setting and in a professional capacity, too, in order to build their professional network. They take ownership of the knowledge they’re gaining in the classroom to become better employees, either at the job where they currently work, or at a future job down the road.
* Sharing – Learning is a give-and-take experience, and students who are successful in business school are able to share their personal experiences and knowledge with their classmates. This sharing also transitions good students into good employees for businesses in all industries. At the Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University, an online business school, students are encouraged to share challenges, successes, and projects they’ve faced in their careers, because it brings value to other students in the class.
Good students also know that the best way to learn anything is to teach it to someone else. Only those who take the time to explain a lesson to another person will fully understand the material. Sharing knowledge with someone else showcases how much you’ve really learned, how much you understand, and whether there are areas where you might need to review notes or look for more information in order to better comprehend the material.
* Take advantage of opportunities – Business schools are full of educational and professional opportunities for students. First there’s the curriculum, which is designed by the school to provide the knowledge the student will need for their future career in that specific business field. If you’ve chosen to attend an accredited university, then you know the business school has been evaluated by a third-party vendor and found to have met all the criteria needed in providing a quality education for business students, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The department does not do the accrediting, but publishes a list of accredited schools as released by several agencies in the United States.
Second, there are networking opportunities. Students enrolled in online business schools might have a better ability to network with their classmates, because they’re already interacting with them in an online setting. Being out of a face-to-face classroom environment forces individuals to reach out and ask their peers for ways to connect during the class, which can then carry over into a solid network outside of school.
Taking advantage of these two opportunities and many more can certainly help a student successfully complete their business school degree, and they may also translate into increased opportunities after college.
* Create a good support system – In the educational world, the working world, and personal life, a good support system is a must for success. Students who have support from family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances usually have a better chance at succeeding at what they’re setting out to do, according to a report published in The Mentor, an academic advising journal. However, the key is that the student must share with their support system what their intended goal is. If it’s to earn a business degree, the support system needs to know when classes are being taken and if there’s anything challenging about them. This way the support team can help and encourage you if you’re struggling, cheer you on when you’re working hard, and share in the celebration of your accomplishments by giving you a pat on the back for a job well done.
Business school isn’t easy, and all students enrolling in a traditional classroom or online business degree program should know they’re going to be challenged with the knowledge they’ll be learning in their courses. If you are aware of the characteristics that can help students be successful both in school and in their careers after school, you can work to strengthen these traits in yourself.