Articles from New Zealand Herald

How to survive an MBA

Russell wrote last week to say he’s signed up for next year’s MBA and could I please supply some survival tips. I think I know how he feels. This time two years ago I was in a state of high panic, thrilled I had quit my job for two years of freelance work while I aimed for my first degree; terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do it, having left school at 16. It’s difficult to remember now just how scary that was. I think I felt that if I put in enough work, anything was possible, unless I just didn’t understand what anyone was talking about. That was the real concern. So Russell, here’s what I’ve learned about how to get by. Others will have different ideas and priorities. I know most of the engineers in my class sweated the writing and breezed through regressions. I thought my writing skills would help me succeed, but was swiftly relieved of that belief. Making friends with your colleagues early really helps – you’ll need them for motivation when the going gets tough and someone is always better at a subject than you are. Ask for help. Here are my top six tips for surviving an MBA. Ignore them at will. 1. Never drink the night before an exam. It was Economics, a subject I thoroughly enjoyed but one that required all of my concentration. As social history it was incomparable, and our lecturer, Professor Tim Hazeldine, rewarded clever answers with muffins. I, however, turned up to the final exam tired and emotional. A friend’s birthday the night before was not the right event for a 9am, three-hour written exam. I had left behind most of my notes. I had...