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Five Years to B-School

Five Years to B-School - Five Years to B-School The First...

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Five Years to B-School: The First Year Typically, students enter business school five years after getting their undergrad degree. A new series takes a year-by-year look at positioning yourself for an MBA By Francesca Di Meglio Five years. For a newly minted undergrad, it sounds like a long time. It might be, but it's also roughly the amount of work experience collected before a student enters an MBA program. Which means that if you're planning on going to business school someday, you'll boost your chances of getting into a top school by spending those five years wisely. To help you, BusinessWeek.com is launching a new series: a five-year planner for business school. The five-part series—this is the first—will provide a year-by-year guide to what you should be doing and thinking about in building the sort of résumé and skill set that will be attractive to MBA admissions committees. But what are we waiting for? Five years goes by pretty quickly. Here's what you should be doing in Year One. Make the Most of Your First Job The kind of job you have after graduation is not half as important as your performance and the responsibilities you have. Whether you're working at an investment bank (which is typical for someone destined for the MBA track) or teaching middle school (with your mind set on one day starting your own business even though you haven't yet dipped your toes into such endeavors), your goal should be to do your job and do it well, says Lawrence Murray, former associate director in MBA Admissions and current program director of the BSBA Program at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School . Set out to show an evolution in your career, Murray adds. But this is just the first step. Figure out your place in the organization and the organization's place in the industry. Admissions committees will be looking to see that you made your mark and took advantage of every opportunity you had to be a leader. They want to know that you have initiative and never shy away from challenges and responsibilities. They don't care if you do this at a tiny startup or some big corporation with a well-known name, says Scott Shrum, director of MBA Admissions Research at Veritas Prep and MBA blogger at BusinessWeek.com . During this first year on the job, take advantage of any training sessions your company offers, soaking up knowledge about the industry, learning the ropes, and developing skills that you'll be able to put into action. You're preparing to build a résumé that is more than just a list of titles you held; it should eventually be a demonstration of your abilities and accomplishments. Ideally, you should have already gotten started on this during internships. Now you're building on and enhancing your skills.
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