Being admitted to HBS, you may now be flooded with congratulatory emails from the admission office, colleagues, friends and family. Through these contacts and conversations, the realization hits – you are going to HBS! Happy, happy and happy!
Although you still have five months until you actually start your life at HBS, time flies while you are sifting through the copious quantities of pre-matriculation paperwork. Before you leave for Boston, what should you do? How should you spend your remaining time?
My advice -
1. Be humble
Regardless of how you think or feel, people around you may view you in a different light. You are not an applicant any more. You are already an HBS MBA candidate. As you know, people have a certain image of HBS students (and MBA students in general) and it’s not always positive.
Although it is certainly not your intention, people may perceive your behavior as haughty and despicable. It’s not your fault, but people do have pre-conceived perceptions. At HBS, you are repeatedly taught how to increase your self-awareness and avoid misleading behavior as a leader.
Your application process would not be successful without the support of the people around you. Appreciate that support and do not assume an air of superiority. Your every action shapes a public image of a Harvard MBA. Don’t be arrogant. Be humble.
2. Set your goals
After starting your life at HBS, you will become incredibly busy. I promise. HBS intentionally throws tremendous opportunities at you – recruiting events, social events, big name conferences, club activities, leadership activities, etc. – and you have to carefully weigh each of these demands on your time. You cannot do everything.
If you start this hectic life without setting (and following) goals, you will be torn in multiple directions and lose control. To avoid this, I strongly recommend that you set specific and quantitative goals for the two years. Do this prior to arrival at HBS. “Develop a strong network with my section mates” is not sufficient. The goals should be like “Acquire three potential CFOs for my company who have management experience of more than five years in the healthcare industry”.
When you set well-defined goals, you will be able to prioritize the opportunities showered upon you enabling you to decide which to take and which to discard. Depending on the goals, your time allocation at HBS will be totally different. It can be diverse, but the typical four are similar to the following:
3. Don’t study
You may be worried about your lack of experience in technical subjects, such as accounting, finance, and economics. But, don’t study! HBS provides a great pre-MBA program and you can study 20 hours a day once the first semester starts. Rather than waste your time on studying, spend this precious time for traveling, drinking, and networking!