My advice for first-year MBA students

Gursheen Kaur - MBA 2017 - with classmates at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Gursheen Kaur (MBA ’17) with classmates

In August 2015, I excitedly stepped into Koury Auditorium to begin orientation for the full-time MBA program at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. I had heard that business school can be a transformative experience – and every day since then has been a great roller coaster ride. Reflecting on my first year and everything I learned, it seems like it’s been a lot more than just a year!

Here are my two cents on how every incoming first-year can make the most of their UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA journey.

Accept.
Whether you’re an MBA student or accomplished business professional, life will always throw more at you than you can handle. UNC Kenan-Flagler prepares you for what’s to come after you earn your MBA.

The first step to success is to accept the fact that you can’t do it all. The second is to know what to prioritize. The difference between a good business leader and a great business leader is to know what is most important.

Plan.
Being an organizational freak, I had my tools in place – Google Keep, Trello, Canvas and what not. Make use of your smartphone and shed some of the load from your brain. Use alarms and reminders and fill up your calendar and task lists. These might seem like obvious little things, but they all come together to make a big difference.

Gursheen Kaur - MBA 2017 - with classmates at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Gursheen Kaur (MBA ’17) with classmates

Ask.
Business School is not just learning from books and cases, but also about learning from everyone around you. Ask questions. Ask for help.

The amazing thing about being at UNC Kenan-Flagler is The Carolina Way. Helping others is a tradition in our community. If someone doesn’t know how to help with what you ask, they will direct you to someone who does.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to collaborate, contribute and grow here at UNC.

Move on.
Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned. There will be bad days, maybe even some bad interviews and some days when you are just tired.

Business School can be stressful at times. Don’t hold anything against anyone, especially during your first year. Everyone is trying to juggle a lot.

Most importantly, don’t dwell on little things. If you feel down, talk to a classmate, grab a beer and take the night off.

Gursheen Kaur - UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Gursheen Kaur (MBA ’17) with classmates

Embrace change.
Business school is a great opportunity to learn about your passions. As a second-year student once told me, “most people think they know what they want to do when they come to business school, but more often than not they find new things which they become extremely passionate about.”

Seek that passion, and keep an open mind. Even if it’s not something you planned for, don’t be scared to work for it.

Have fun!
Last but not least, have fun. For a lot of us, this will be the last time we are back in school. Don’t waste the opportunity. Participate in inter-legacy competitions, go out for study group dinners and attend socials.

I wish you all the very best as you begin one of the most memorable years of your lives!

By Gursheen Kaur (MBA ’17)