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by Vault Education Editors | August 07, 2009


Orientation is right around the corner forfirst-year business school students.  Butbefore you arrive on campus, you'll need more than a spiffy new laptop.  You may be ready to walk the walk, but can youtalk the talk?  


While you brush up on your Finance 101terminology for class, also acquaint yourself with these unique MBA-isms soyou'll know what your second-year mentor is talking about outside of class.  We read thousands of MBA student survey responses each year, and we've compiled a short list of the must-knows for any new first-year.


Business school term:  CDC,CDO, CSC

Civilian translation:  Career development center, career development office,career services center

Yes, you probably had one of these offices inundergrad, but the difference in business school is that you will actually gothere.  Many B-school students say thatthose who received employment immediately following graduation were the oneswho used the services the most.

Business school term:  Case method,case-based, case studies

Civilian translation:  Student-led, discussion-based learning studyingreal-world business problems

Students are presented with a real case theyresearch outside of class.  In theclassroom, the students take on the role of decision makers, and discuss differentproblem solving techniques with their classmates, while the professor mediatesthe discussion.  Much of the grade is based on class participation.

Business school term:  Cohort

Civilian translation:  Posse, gang, comrades, friends—your classmates,duh

MBA programs that follow a lock-step structuredivide the student body into smaller sections, and students in the samesections will take all of the same classes at the same time.  Cohorts are designed to encourage interactionamong diverse groups of students, and allow future MBAs to learn from the diverseskill sets of their classmates.

Business school term:  Field Study

Civilian translation:  Real-world implementation class—plus, field trip!

Teams of students are paired withorganizations (usually local companies) to assess a real-life strategic problemthe company is facing.  At the end of thesemester the teams present their findings and recommendations to the “client.”

Business school term:  Lockstep

Civilian translation:  Preset schedule with the same group of classmates

(See "Cohort")

Business school term:  Lunch andLearn

Civilian translation:  Free food with a bit of talking thrown in

Consume your second meal of the day.  Listen to professors and guest lecturersdiscuss current issues in business in the wee hours of the afternoon. 

Business school term:  NetImpact

Civilian translation:  Prominent student club focused on social andenvironmental sustainability

Top MBA school students across the countryform their own chapters of Net Impact, and take part in student-driven projectsand initiatives.

Business school term:  OCI

Civilian translation:  On-campus interviewing; on-campus recruiting

You'll start seeing posters and reminders forinformation sessions and OCI the minute you step on campus, as it usuallystarts in the fall.  Career servicesoffices work hard to get companies to send recruiters to OCI sessions.  Traditionally, investment banks, consultingfirms and other finance organizations are the most prominent OCI attendees, in2009-2010, you'll probably see a more diverse range of recruiters, includingsmaller banks, nonprofit organizations, startups ,high tech and environmental companies.

Business school term:  S.O.

Civilian translation:  Significant other

MIT Sloan may be the only B-school actuallyusing this catchy acronym (we’re hoping that the rest wil catch on), but significantothers (partners, fiancées, wives, husbands, children) of MBA students arepretty involved on campus.  S.O. and partnersclubs help them find jobs and form a community. The clubs are where they commiserate about how much time you guys spendstudying and networking. 

Business school term:  Womenin Business, NAWMBA

Civilian translation:  Girl power in B-school

One of the dominant student organizations onMBA campuses, female business student clubs empower women pursuing their MBAand promote leadership diversity in the workplace.  The clubs host Lunch and Learns, seminars,recruiting sessions and other events for their members. 


Filed Under: Education|Grad School