How to succeed in business school: Five tips for first year students
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – The start of university can be intimidating enough for most first-year students. But business students face an extra set of challenges as they balance their coursework with gaining work and extra-curricular experience to help take them from campus to career.
From co-op work placements to mock interviews and networking breakfasts, the business school experience is designed to help students gain professional polish, acquire leadership skills and learn the foundations of management, accounting and entrepreneurship.
So how can new students and their parents make sure they are ready to take advantage of the available opportunities? These five tips from Diane Miller, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University will make sure first year students are ready for the transition from high school to business school:
1. Be prepared (Textbook not required)
There’s is no need to read your textbooks cover-to-cover over the summer. Instead, spend some time getting comfortable with all that is available at your future school- both offline and online.
Spend a day on campus before the first day of class and figure out where your classes will be held. Don’t forget to attend your orientation. Most schools will offer a faculty specific orientation in the days leading up to the first day of classes.
And do your research online. Follow your business school on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Figure out the online registration system, how to access your student email and the online learning platforms. These online tools will be used throughout the academic year so access them early so you don’t miss any emails or messages.
2. Going to University is your full-time job
While University doesn’t pay you a regular paycheck, it does pay you in grades. At the end of your degree, you will be able to use your grades as currency to get a great job.
Everything you learned at your summer job about responsibility, punctuality and honesty can be used in business school. So, impress your professor just like you would your boss. Show up to class. Stay on top of your assignments and hand them in on time.
3. Get involved (and stay involved)
Want to stand out at a job interview? Join a business student club. These clubs focus on everything from accounting to marketing and every subject area in between. Joining a club is a great way to make new friends and apply coursework to real life situations.
One key tip: it’s not enough to sign up and attend the occasional meetings. If you really want to have an experience that stands out on your resume, get involved on the executive team, attend a case competition or organize an event. You’ll have an experience you’ll never forget and something unique to mention during a job interview.
4. Make friends (with everyone)
We guarantee that you’ll make friends in your classes and in residence. But don’t forget to build meaningful relationships with faculty, staff and upper year students. They can become important mentors who can help point you to on-campus resources and introduce you to new connections. Plus, if you know your career centre staff, they can recommend you to employers who are hiring students.
One successful strategy for getting high grades on projects is to put together groups with members from different backgrounds and concentrations. This way, you can get a diversity of ideas, increase your problem solving potential, and come up with better solutions.
5. Ask for help
It’s a new school, a new environment and new friends. This is a big transition and it’s normal for there to be ups and downs during your first year. Fortunately, your university has resources available to help you succeed. From study skill workshops to mental health resources, there is a lot of support available to you on-campus.
If you need any type of help, talk to your academic advisor or a professor as early as possible. Don’t put your academic career at risk; there are people available to help you get through any type of problem you encounter.
Diane Miller is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University.
About the Goodman School of Business:
Based at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., the Goodman School of Business is one of only eight schools in Ontario that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. The Goodman School of Business is home to more than 2,600 undergraduate students, 450 graduate students and has 7,000 alumni worldwide.
Follow the Goodman School of Business on social media @GoodmanSchool.