How Do I Get Started in an MBA?
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How Do I Get Started in an MBA?

Starting anything new – a course, a relationship, a job – can be both challenging and filled with anxiety. The following tips may assist if you are starting a higher education program – specifically an MBA. Look carefully at the options and structure of the course Most courses have a structure – often CORE and Electives (Streams). Many institutions want you to complete the CORE program first (makes sense) before selecting electives/subjects within the streams.

You need to make sure you understand the essential structure before making optional selections. This should be apparent from the outset – but – make sure you have a clear idea of what is required of you – and when. Better to find out about the structure early in the piece – finding out late in the story can be costly and frustrating.

Choose Your Subjects Carefully

It might be a good idea to start with subjects that you are most familiar with. If you have completed similar subjects at the undergraduate level – it would be wise to start with them – this will build your confidence and at the same time reinforce familiar ground. Make sure you are aware of any prerequisites required to do an MBA degree.


Examine The Subject/Unit Outlines

Once you have chosen your subjects take a close look at the subject/unit outlines. The key elements that you need to examine from the outset include the summary of the content of the subject; the assessment requirements of the subject; and the specific learning outcomes – that is what the professor is looking to achieve. Appreciating and understanding these are key to success. It is highly likely that all three elements are interconnected and interdependent. If textbooks are indicated – make the most of them If a Text Book or eBook is noted in the outline – get one immediately and use it to your advantage.

Firstly, scan the book from top to bottom – spend a couple of hours on each book. Align the chapters with the topics outlined in the subject outline and read each chapter prior to the class/topic. This will ensure you are familiar with the content of the lecture in advance – this will make a huge difference to your understanding and your chances of interacting during the learning/teaching sessions.

Diarise Assessment Tasks from The Outset

On reading the subject/unit outline clearly diarise the timings of all the assessment items making sure you have a clear understanding of the timeline needed to complete all tasks in a timely and appropriate way.

Getting started can be stressful – but getting into the program can be informative and illuminating – finishing the program is usually incredibly satisfying and rewarding.


Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor of Group Colleges.