Reposted from September 2017

by Jasmin Amin, MMgt 2017

Hello to all the new students! You’ve made it through applications, prep courses and webinars, and now you’re about to get your orientation and classes underway. Some of you may have attended various welcome events and have spoken to alumni about their experience. However, if you’re like me, the more information, the merrier!

Obviously, this doesn’t encompass my complete experience at Schulich, nor does this represent my entire class, but here are five things that I think will be helpful for you to know about the program and to make the most of your experience.

1: There will be group work. Lots of it.

Having come from a Science background the concept of group work was non-existent. I spent more time writing papers and looking at the computer screen in my lab than having group interaction with my peers during class. However, this program is completely different! In all your classes at one point, you will have a group assignment and likely the biggest group undertaking of them all will be your Enterprise Consulting Project.

The key here is to understand that everyone will handle group work differently. People have different goals (some students just want to pass, while others want to get top marks), everyone learns differently and everyone has different work habits. Although all the group work may be overwhelming at times, these group projects are going to give you the chance to learn how to deal with a variety of different personalities and how to manage teamwork effectively.

2: You need to get involved.

Unless you completely avoid this altogether, there’s no way you won’t find an opportunity to get involved. There are a plethora of clubs on campus to help you explore your personal and career interests. If you don’t know where to begin, reaching out to both the Graduate Business Council and Graduate Ambassadors is a great place to start. Being proactive and connected at Schulich will allow to you meet students in other programs and it will look good on your LinkedIn profile (If you do not have one, make one ASAP!)

3: None of your peers are out to get you.

I didn’t personally feel this way coming into the program, but it’s common to hear questions about competitiveness and comradery in any program. Take a deep breath. Most people coming to this program are probably just a nervous as you are. You may be nervous about anything from feeling that you aren’t going to be smart enough, to feeling like you won’t get along with your peers. Instead of psyching yourself out, look at this as an opportunity to meet new people and potentially create lasting friendships. You may find the Thelma to your Louise or the Chandler Bing to your Joey Tribbiani.

4. Your professors are your best resources.

Start talking to some of your professors about something other than the upcoming test. You can get solid career advice from your professors as they have industry experience and they can provide insight on what jobs suit your interests. Even if your professors are in an industry that you have no interest in, they may still be able to shed light on any questions you have about your next career move. In addition, your professors know so many people in various industries and they could refer you to someone who may provide you with more insight. All this networking will only provide you with more information to make a decision about your next steps.

5. It’s okay to not know what you’ll do when the program is over.

I feel like this is an important point to stress – and something I’ve personally come to realize. When I first came into the program, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do by the end of it. Some people knew exactly what they were going to do once they graduated, and it stressed me out! I felt if I didn’t have a plan I was somehow less legitimate, but the funny thing about plans is they are always going to change.

There are many paths you can take with this degree; you could go onto a career in finance, human resources or continue your education (with an MBA, PhD or JD) just to name a few. As you go through the program, you’ll be exposed to different branches of business and you can see which one peaks your interest. Therefore, instead of feeling you need to know what you are doing when you come into the program, just gather information. Enjoy learning about yourself and being a student while you can.