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Congratulations: not only did you get into business school; you are actually ready to go to business school. You've talked to your boss, filled out all the paperwork, and written that first tuition check. But there's one more thing for which you have to prepare before you waltz into your first class: gossip.
It’s one of the few similarities between high school and business school (including lockers for students): anything you do, especially in the first weeks, can haunt you for years. While the "I was a college freshman" excuse forgives almost anything short of a felony, "it was my first week of B-school" won't get you off the hook. Like high school, incoming MBA classes are relatively small. Like high school, most first-year MBA candidates take the exact same courses. Unlike high school, after which most people lose track of their classmates, you will still be in touch with your B-school cohorts long after you re-enter the professional world. With that in mind, here are the top three action plans to avoid in those first weeks of classes.
Don't be too, too, too anything. As I said before, if you get hammered your second night, you'll always be known as the drunk--even as an alum. Don't get stoned, because then you'll always be known as the stoner. Even on the more legal side of things, if you're too friendly, gregarious, arrogant, etc.--even if it's just first day jitters--that adjective will stick for a loooong time.
Don't be the first student-student couple. An MIT Sloan alumnus mentioned this one a few weeks ago. Everyone talks about the first class couple. A lot. This phenomenon is further amplified if everyone lives together on a residential campus like at HBS. That's not to say you can't ask that handsome (or pretty) new stranger out on a date or two. What it does mean, however, is that you should probably wait until someone else takes the plunge; and even then, be discreet.
Don't mouth off to anyone, at least not yet. Does "free square in a*hole Bingo" mean anything to you? If not, this is the quickest way to learn. Whether it's the cashier at the dining hall or the soon-to-be student body president, you never want to be "that guy." Because you would be. Forever.
So keep it clean, keep it cool and you'll be fine.
--Written by Madison Priest
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