As the Program Director for the Full-time UST MBA program, one of my key responsibilities during the summer is communicating with incoming students about how to prepare for their first semester.  While many students quit their jobs a few weeks before the program starts to enjoy some well-deserved vacation time, their summer is not entirely devoted to leisure.  Like students at most full-time MBA programs around the world, incoming students at UST have many pre-assignments to take care of before starting the program in September.

We have created a website for incoming students to help them keep track of their pre-MBA tasks, which range from writing a 300-word autobiography, to meeting with their career coach and academic advisor, to completing online surveys and academic readings.  Students without an undergraduate background in business also complete a self-paced online course that introduces basic concepts in economics, accounting, statistics, and finance.

Summer assignments give our incoming students a preview of the variety of activities they’ll need to juggle once they start the program.  I really enjoyed this recent article from Business Week, which highlights the wide variety of demands on MBA students’ time, especially during the first semester of the program.  The academic workload of MBA programs  is significant, but students who want to maximize the benefits of their MBA experience also have to make time for student activities, their career search, and networking events.  While the example of the MBA student studying for his accounting exam in the delivery room while his wife was in labor is somewhat extreme, it’s fair to say that all MBA students have to become skilled at managing their time effectively.

To all of our incoming MBA students this fall: welcome! And be sure to use your time during the next few weeks prior to the start of classes wisely.