MBA student life can be pretty hectic. Midterms, Finals, snarky professors who assign tons of homework, campus politics, administration, caffeine withdrawals, registering for classes...not to mention you might actually have a life outside of class, like a husband/wife, kids. Lets just B-school life can be incredibly draining at times.
However, One often overlooked aspect of an MBA program is the on-campus clubs that are open to Graduate students. The point of these clubs is to not only get you networked (code for actually socializing OUTSIDE of Facebook), but to help you build a sense of camaraderie among your fellow MBA students (you know, when you guys aren't trying to screw each other over by setting the curve for the finance midterm). This is essential for making the most out of your MBA program, and i encourage anyone applying to schools to also check out what student clubs your MBA program offer.
I know what some of you might be thinking, "But clubs take a lot of time", which, frankly, a lot of you don't have extra of. You know what, joining a student club does require a commitment, but let me help you understand something about the business world, which has proven true to me time and time again in my professional career.
It is not what you know, it is who you know.
Dont believe me? Ok, fine, Pop quiz time...
Im the CFO of a company and im looking at two similiar candidates for one job opening, who do you think im going to pick
A) The guy with the 4.0 GPA with an MBA from University X
B) the Guy with a 3.8 GPA from University Y who ive met before and built some rapport with.
OK, ill wait for your answer
*insert Jeopardy theme*
If you chose A, and most people would, You seriously need to reconsider your answer and your perceptions of the job market out there, especially now. Im not saying you shouldn't study, because you should definitely aim to get a high GPA in your MBA program. But, unless your going to an Ivy league institution with a serious brand tied to it (i.e. Harvard, MIT, Stanford or Berkeley), then your going to have to do some serious hustling to get a job. Because a lot of people entered graduate programs because of the Great Recession, there's going to be a flood of MBAs in the next couple of years, and you need to differentiate yourself from the pack.
How do you do this? Networking. And whats the easiest way to network when your in an MBA program? Are lightbulbs going off yet? Am I making a case for joining graduate student business clubs? Still dont believe me? Google "Best way to get a job" and Networking will be at the top of every list. Go ahead do it, you might be surprised.
So go out there! Get involved! Pull your head out of that Finance textbook and go meet some people. At the very least, its a good excuse to go grab some beers with other MBA's. Until next time...