Philip Blackett (HBS, ‘16, and CEO of Magnetic Interviewing LLC) had always dreamed of going to Harvard, and while he went to another find undergraduate institution (Go Heels!) he ended up achieving his dream when he set foot on campus at HBS in the Fall of 2014. During his first semester of business school, Philip juggled the HBS case method and pursuing his startup all while finding time to get to know his classmates. Here are some of his thoughts on how he did it.
Here’s what you need to know
My 1st semester of business school was really exciting. I was in a new city and back to school for the first time in 7 years. It was slightly overwhelming to see so many new people in one place, but I was happy to start class again in my own section. First semester was getting back to basics with business (and studying). Overall, it was a nice mix of fun and studying before final exams in December.
The semester had both highs and lows. Among the highs: being back in school, meeting new people, learning more about business. As for the low’s – Ballin’ on a (student’s) budget.
Furthermore, the semester was filled with plenty of challenges, such as being comfortable sharing your candid opinions in class. being vulnerable in front of others in the classroom, and developing tougher skin during disagreements. All of these are important parts of the MBA experience, and were formative opportunities of learning.
Like most students, the semester was hectic and busy, but when I did have free time I spent time getting to know my classmates better, exploring the city of Boston, and catching up on Netflix.
During the first semester, this is what my schedule looked like
5-6AM: Wake up and review cases
8AM: Head to school to discuss cases with my discussion group
9:10AM – First Class, classes gu until 12:10pm or 2:45PM depending on the day
After Class: Club meetings, intramural games, catching up with family members or a power nap/dinner
After Dinner: Start reading cases for the following day and pass out around midnight
Your first semester of business school will most likely be challenging – Relax! You will survive. Here are some tips:
- Remind yourself that you deserve to be there.
- Learn from one another – don’t get too caught up in grades
- Get yourself out the “business school bubble” and explore outside of MBA
- Enjoy the process.
- Be a sponge and learn as much as you can.
- Find balance during your 1st year – don’t make it all about academics.
- Cherish each day and make the most of it – 1st year flies by so quickly.
- Find a “go-to” place / activity to de-stress
- Have someone to share your MBA ups-and-downs with (who can relate)
- Keep things in perspective: don’t have a heart attack before you graduate.