Monday, December 15, 2014

Surviving the B-School: My AIM Experience

I would say, experience is the best teacher. But one of your best experiences can be your MBA. 
On a superficial level, studying or having an MBA seems hip. For some, it can be a cool thing to engage in. But when you get to your b-school, there you can find the real challenge!
This is specifically true of AIM MBA. When I was there as a student, it felt like I was fluttering my feet in the strongest way possible to stay afloat.   
So, how then is it to stay "afloat" while working your way for an AIM MBA? Here are a few tips.
  • Upon knowing that you are admitted and you are very sure to enroll, do advance reading in accounting and macro-economics. This will give you an advantage of not getting behind when you are having pre-MBA and in taking the accounting (Language of Business) and economics (macro- and micro-economics) subjects as well. If you have engineering background, all the more it is imperative to do advance reading because many jargons are unfamiliar, though engineering logic still applies.   
  • Never ever cheat or plagiarize. The proctors of the exams are very strict and they are taking a video of the exam. They view the video to see the movements of the students and determine who are cheating. Never ever copy from written sources without attribution for this is a case of plagiarism, though you may get ideas from them. This is especially true for the Written Analysis of Cases (WAC). The Graduate School of Business Dean has a software used to determine if a student's written output is copied from an internet source verbatim or without attribution.  
  • Don't be intimidated by "aggressive" classmates. You also have to assert what's on your mind and at times you have to "outsmart" them. Don't just give-in to their demands. 
  • Choose a thesis (Management Research Report) topic in advance especially if you are aiming for the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP).
  • Listen attentively to case discussions especially in macro-economics because the professor always gives exam.
  • As much as possible, participate in all case discussions because it is the only way your professor will remember you and hence give you a good grade. Your contribution should focus more on quality rather than on quantity.
  • The lesson that I learned was that it is good to partner or find a buddy who knows quite well the dynamics of financial system (maybe an accountant or financial analyst). In this way, you can learn from him or her how to approach the cases on accounting, financial management, management control systems, etc. 
  • Always be creative and "classy" in your presentations.
  • Not all learning teams are "created" equal, though diversity is ensured. Some learning teams are composed of more intelligent individuals and have advantage in terms of social dynamics (they can get along well with each other) and work experience related to business. If you feel, that you belong to an "lesser endowed" learning team, don't despair, you have to work with your teammates anyway. Just make the most of what you can get from them and participate actively in the activities. Your learning team is your self-help group which can help you survive the b-school however "mediocre" it might seem.
  • Appreciate cultural diversity, learn various perspectives but stick to your nationality. Sticking with your compatriots in studying is more effective for there will be no language barrier to overcome.   
  • Get thesis (MRR) advisors who are committed. An indication of a committed MRR advisor is that, he or she gives you frequent feedback on your submitted output. He or she gives you constructive criticisms early on in your research. This will prevent you from cramming to the last minute and worse you may graduate "just-in-time" or graduate with the next cohort. You just know how it feels if you are in this situation.
  • Always observe good public relations. Don't just say anything however honest it may be. This is for your image to be viewed favorably by everyone.
  • Be courageous and confident. Never ever let the heavens crumble over a mess unless it is deadly.     
  • Always be alert for wiser and practical approaches to life's challenges. I am talking here not only about your studies but your life in general. Hard work may be good but it is not the sole element for winning and creating wealth.

With that, I hope to meet you in the future not just as "leaders" or "zillionaires" on Forbes list, but individuals who are touted for having lived life to the full human potential possible.  

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