Student Perspectives: B-School Advice: Facts & Myths


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About Callie: Callie Gorman (’22) is a 1st year full-time MBA student at Anderson pursuing a career in entertainment. Prior to Anderson, she spent eight years working in customer success and internal strategy at a financial research firm in Chicago. Outside of school, Callie enjoys cooking, traveling, film, reading, and hanging out with her golden retriever, Brinkley.

It is time to make some big decisions in your life, and you are feeling a little confused. If you are a typical aspiring b-school student, you have probably been spending a lot of time doing research, gathering data, and asking questions so that you can make the most informed decision possible. No doubt you have been getting a lot of advice from alumni, current b-school students, and fellow applicants and it can all be a lot to digest. You have started to hear some of the same sentiments over and over, but you are not sure what to believe.

You are not alone! There are a lot of opinions out there and it can be overwhelming. I thought I would mention a couple of the most common pieces of advice that I heard before starting school and give my opinion on whether I found them to be true. Some might have different opinions than I do. The most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s perspective is different, and the b-school experience is what you make of it.

1: MYTH: Rankings are the most important factor in your b-school decision.

While b-school rankings do have their significance, it is easy to get swept up in the hype and drama of competing for spots at the highest ranked schools. Especially if you are active in online resources like Clear Admit and GMAT Club, it can seem like this is the only thing everyone is focused on. But do not lose sight of your goal and what you are hoping to get out of your MBA experience in the first place. Just like each applicant is different, each school is different and has their own unique advantages. Think about what program offers you the best resources to meet your career goal – perhaps a certain school has expertise in a particular industry or function you are interested. And most importantly, take time to reflect on your personal value system and which program aligns best with it.

2. FACT: Take some time off to rest before starting business school.

This was the most frequent piece of advice I heard from current b-school students, and boy was it true! Once you start school, you are going to be incredibly busy with classes, extracurriculars, recruiting, and making new friends. And for many of you, you might also be moving to a whole new city at the same time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to adapt to this huge life change and budget time for all the things you will need to do before school starts. If you can, tack on a couple of extra weeks to that estimate so you have some time to relax and take a vacation. That way, you can allow yourself to be fully focused and settled into your new environment once orientation starts.

3. MYTH: Say goodbye to your friends and family for two years.

I heard so many times that I was going to be so busy with business school, I was not going to have any time to spend with my friends and family once I started. While there is certainly enough social activity surrounding school to keep you busy 24/7 if you are looking for it, and you are going to make a lot of new friends, everyone approaches the b-school experience with their own perspective, and you can absolutely find a balance between the new community you have joined and the communities you already belong to. In fact, many of my classmates have spouses and kids that they spend a lot of time with and are no less a part of the Anderson community for it. There is even a great opportunity to introduce your new friends to the old. Just because you are starting a new adventure does not mean you have to kiss your old life goodbye.

4. FACT: Do not overcommit yourself.

Once you start school, there are going to be so many exciting opportunities and it is going to be tempting to try to take advantage of all of them. Going from a 40-hour work week to a 9-hour class week is going to make you feel like you can take it all on. But keep in mind that you are going to be spending a lot of time outside of classes on your schoolwork and recruitment. Before you commit your time to another club or company info session, take a pause to reflect on why you think the opportunity will help you reach your goal or provide personal fulfillment. When a big-name company comes to campus, you might feel pressured to attend their presentation. Do not just go with the crowd. While it is okay to explore some new things, make sure you are staying focused on your goal, or giving yourself freedom to adapt your goal if you find yourself being pulled in a new direction. Think about quality over quantity and consider taking a leadership role in a few select clubs you are most passionate about, rather than signing up for every single club that seems mildly interesting.

I hope this was helpful in addressing some of the questions and doubts you may have been experiencing throughout this process. Stay true to yourself and best of luck!

Student Blogger: Callie Gorman ‘22

Undergrad: Washington University in St. Louis ‘12

Pre-MBA: Morningstar, Inc.

Leadership@Anderson: Director of MEMES Center Relations, Entertainment Management Association; Director of Allyship, Women’s Business Connection; First Year Director, Admissions Ambassador Corps; Director of Special Projects/EDI, Wine Club at Anderson


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