January Start Panel: Advice for New Students

Incoming Student Series

From our January start panel, we present sage advice from returning students who began their studies in the winter term as well.

           
The January Start panel (L to R): Jeff Strauss, Marianne Neilans, Michael Roebuck, Talha Valam, and Bobby (Mario) Lewy

[box]Network at Launch Week and the Club Fair[/box]

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  • “I highly recommend joining a club or two immediately and attend CDC events such as information and skills sessions (resumes, cover letters, interviews, etc.). You learn a lot of useful tips that are so important to your career and you won’t really learn them at any other point in the MBA program.” – Jeff
  • “Get involved with case competitions and extra-curricular activities. Allow these events to expand your network of professionals when you leave the MBA. Don’t spend every moment getting the best grade possible; five years after graduating, you won’t remember the grade you received, but you will remember the people you’ve met.” -Talha
  • “It can be difficult to connect with the September cohort who has had a chance to make connections. Get involved in extra-curricular activities and the GBC to get the most of your experience and close that gap.” -Marianne
  • “I’m thankful I ventured up to school and familiarized myself with the building and its surroundings from TTC stops to the library and printing facilities, etc. I know some students hadn’t stepped foot on campus until the first day and appeared quite flustered with everything.” -Michael

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[box]Source Your Textbooks and Course Materials Smartly[/box]

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  • “Obtain as much class information as you can ahead of time, such as readings, textbooks, and course details, before the term starts. I wish I had had more feedback about professors’ expectations earlier on. It’s a shock at first – be as prepared as you can be.” -Bobby
  • “I wish I had known about the GBC Textbook Exchange. It could have saved me a lot of money as a lot of the core course textbooks there.” -Michael
  • “I wish I had known just how quickly things pile up. I would have gotten my books prior to starting and got a head start on some readings if possible. You don’t realize how quickly you fall behind. This is one of the few opportunities you have to get ahead of your readings.” -Jeff
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[box]Manage Expectations Around Your Transition[/box]

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  • “Take a week off and reset your soul, get some sleep, and get ready to plow through the next 16 months!! The MBA doesn’t wait until you are ready; it begins on day one and doesn’t stop until graduation. The MBA requires all of you, around the clock. Surround yourself with positive influences.” -Marianne
  • “I wish I knew to take more time off before school started. I kept working until just a day or so before the start of the MBA. If I knew the speed with which students are launched into the MBA, I would have taken at least a week off and prepared myself by refreshing my knowledge on basic economics, accounting, and other subjects so I could make the most use of the first few days.” -Talha
  • “Get in contact with other students. For international students, take advantage of the GBC Buddy Program to start meeting current students on a more direct level even before the program starts.” -Bobby
  • “Accept the fact that you are going to have an insane amount of work thrown at you and you will have to make Schulich your life. At times – many times – you will question what you got yourself into. Have faith that this is a strong investment in yourself and one that is well worth it.” -Jeff

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[box]Make the Most of Your Cohort[/box]

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  • “Meet and introduce yourself to everyone and don’t be shy. Everyone is in the same boat, nervous and unfamiliar with the circumstances.” -Michael
  • “Spend as much time as possible with your cohort. By doing so as you kick off the program, you position yourself strongly to be able to rely on your peers going forward and vice versa. I remember reaching out to international students (new to Canada) for coffees or little chats during class break and it has resulted in close intimate friendships that I cherish.” -Marianne
  • “Ensure you are working with many different people on group projects across your classes. There are hundreds of students here to work with and learn from.” -Jeff
  • “The class sizes are small and this is a perfect opportunity for you to get to know everyone. Take time and meet everyone in your cohort, especially during Launch Week activities. Because of the small cohort size in the winter, you connect more closely and end up with good friends for the rest of the program.” -Talha
  • “Meet people inside and outside the classroom. Spend as much time as possible on campus getting involved and meeting people.” -Bobby

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[box]Invest in Professional Development[/box]

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  • “Be proactive. A lot of the services and people here are easily accessible, but it is pretty much up to you to make use of them. Similarly, don’t rely on Schulich to do things for you. If you want an internship or job, it is up to you to do the hard work and put in the time. The school can be a source of assistance but ultimately, it’s up to the individual.” -Jeff
  • “In my first year I wish I had approached my professors more and engaged with them before/after class and during office hours. They are a vast source of knowledge and experience not only just in their field. In the beginning we may be intimidated but that can cause us to miss out. Professors are all very approachable.” -Michael
  • “I wish I knew that the elective course offerings in the summer term (second term for January start students) was more limited than in the fall and winter. In hindsight I may have considered a summer internship. Recruitment for them starts in the very beginning of the winter term and you have to start preparing for recruitment before recruitment begins. It comes quickly and you are so busy with school work that once the term starts it can be a challenge to properly prepare.” -Talha
  • “Start your relationship with the CDC from day one. Meet with an advisor to have your resume and cover letter reviewed and ask for constructive feedback. Most of us pursue an MBA for a career change or advancement. You have to obtain feedback on the tools you are using to market yourself.” -Bobby
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[box style=”rounded”]Looking for even more peer-to-peer advice from returning students? Check out the sage advice GradBlog posts for September start students, part 1 and part 2.[/box]

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