Your first weeks in the US for an MBA

Before classes begin

  • Find a place to live - if you have done so, check in at your
    new house
    . Sign the lease and move in.

  • Check in with your school and/or International office.
    There is usually information you need to get, paperwork to fill, and so on.

  • Locate and check in at your country’s nearest consulate.
    Find them at Foreign
    Consular Offices in the United States
    . They are the ones to contact for travel
    information, emergencies, voting, and so on.

  • Arrange your medical insurance - at the
    International Office. See Your Health

  • Arrange all the utilities:

    • Power and water - usually just a phone call away. Often arranged by
      your lanlord.

    • Phone - some local phone companies will want to verify your credit
      record. Since you probably don't have one, you will need to fax them a copy of your
      passport. It will take a couple of days.

    • Cable TV - will usually take a few days (or weeks!). Even more
      annoying - you have to be there for the installation, and they will tell you the day, but
      not the exact time they're coming.

  • Buy furniture and appliances. Before you buy,
    consider renting (e.g. furniture) and pay a visit to all the garage sales you can.

Where to buy:

  • Buy your B-School tools, books and supplies:

    Palm Pilot:
    An almost mandatory tool to keep up with contacts, interviews, and so on.




    Our Price: $249.00


    Our Price: $399.00


    Computer: Although all
    B-Schools have big and modern computer laboratories, most students choose to buy one. With
    current prices, most students can afford it. Many schools now require students to have a
    notebook, which by the way are very useful.

  • Computer: Dell

  • Computers/Software: CDW, href="">Computer Shopper, href="">Egghead, Insight, href="">Beyond, href="">Apple

  • Computer Support: Experts
    , WinPlanet

Calculator: You will
definetely need a Financial Calculator. These are the most popular:


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Supplies: href="/cgi-bin/affil.cgi?num=offic&loc=text">OfficeMax

Books: Don't rush to
buy new books at the campus store - you don't need them all, and those you do need can be
bought for less. Do your online shopping starting here:

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  • Get your Social Security Number. This is necessary
    if you are planning to work in the US (e.g. internship). It is also very important to have
    it for credit purposes (e.g. getting a credit card). To get it: the International
    Office should provide you a letter for your elegibility, the form you need to fill, and
    directions to the nearest Social Security office.

  • Get your Driver’s license. Not only you need it
    to drive, but it is also the ID of choice for anything from cashing a check, to buying
    alcohol. To get it: visit the nearest State Department's office and ask about the
    requirements. You will probably need to bring your country's license (you might need to
    provide a notarized translation), your passport, and to pass a written exam, a driving
    test and a vision test.

  • Get your University’s ID. You'll need this one
    for the library, computer lab, and other University facilities. It will also entitle you
    to student's discounts. To get it: find out where the ID office is, and just show

  • Open a checking account, and get an ATM/debit card.
    We strongly recommend Compubank's
    online banking
    - most services are free, no need to visit a branch. See href="#Your finances">Your Finances.

  • Get a credit card. You can apply online to href="/cgi-bin/affil.cgi?num=nextc&loc=text">NextCard or href="/cgi-bin/affil.cgi?num=amexp&loc=text">American Express Student Card
    (you need your social security number first). See Your Finances.

  • Arrange for computing services. Get your network id
    and password, internet access, and so on.

  • Find your way around School and Campus. Get familiar
    with computing facilities, library, service offices, and so on.

  • Find a suitable meal option. See href="#Your Health">Your Health.

  • Buy a Car. Unless you are getting your MBA at a
    large, crowded city, having a car might be a good idea. Before you do, however, make sure
    you know the basics:

    • Consider alternatives first: University transportation, Public
      transportation, Cycling and walking.

    • Find out your parking options at your house (parking is not
      necessarily included)

    • Find out your parking costs at the school. They may be pretty high.

    • Consider a used car, especially if you plan to sell it when you
      graduate. Make sure you know the market price (Kelley Blue
      , Edmund's) and have a third party
      certified mechanic test it.

    • If you are buying a new car from a dealer, sharpen your negotiation
      skills. Make sure you find out the invoice prices for the cars you are looking at, and
      start from there.

    • Get appropriate insurace. In most states it is mandatory. Since you
      don't have an auto insurance record in the US, this may end up being pretty expensive
      (you'll be charged as if you were a 16 year-old learning to drive). href="">AAA usually has reasonable rates.

    • Do your research online:

  • Find out about placement exams. If your school
    allows students to place out of certain core courses, this is the time to find out what
    the requirements are, to talk to the department heads, and take any placement exams.

  • Look for work opportunities. Of you are planning to
    work during your MBA, start looking for your job immediately. The most interesting
    research and teaching assistanships may be filled on a first-come first-served basis.

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