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Advice, Opinions, and Other Such Things...

In my two years in the Carlson MBA program I have had the opportunity to work with dozens (maybe even hundreds?) of prospective students as they explore the program and try to figure out if it's right for them. Though every meeting, student, and story is different, there is one common thread--one question that is always, without doubt going to be asked: What's your best advice for me as an incoming student? Well, here it is, the moment everyone asks for--my absolute best advice. I could talk for hours, so instead I'm limiting myself to [an arbitrary number of] five points. :)

Point Number One: Read books. And don't just read books, but watch movies, go to concerts, grab that second beer at Happy Hour, jump in the car for a weekend road trip, and do everything else you something (read: all the time) think you don't have time for. Because now you do! The program is full of incredible experiences and lessons, but whatever else it is, it's also a "break" from your "real life." Fill it to the max with new memories.

B) This advice comes from a self-defined introvert: talk to EVERYONE. Your classmates, your professors, administration and career coaches, alumni, peers at other schools, the barista at the coffee shop... all of them. Talk. To. All of them. I have this theory that everyone is doing something right in their life, and the best way for you to figure out what that something is and do it in your own life is to talk to them. Maybe they have a dream job you've never heard of before; or they read this really awesome book you should check out; they could've just spent a relaxing week in a dreamy location or signed up for some super-fun club; those people might have the perfect job interview tips or know the best place to grab Happy Hour with your classmates. As I explained in Point Number One, you have all kinds of free time to learn, so don't limit yourself to the classroom.

III--Travel. Self-explanatory.

[#4] Set up shop in the Career Center. This one seems intuitive, but may not be: the career coaches can't help you find your dream job if they don't know who you are or what you're looking for. And meet before school starts. If you've deposited for your seat in the class, then they're your career coaches now too. Drop in just to say "hi," do a quick resume review, amp up your LinkedIn profile, whatever... just get on their radar and get on it early.

Five. Try everything once. One case competition, one TA position, one affinity conference, one club... then do the things you enjoyed again. My biggest regrets are the things I assumed I wouldn't like and didn't try at least once.

And as a special bonus piece of advice, if you're interested in hearing points six through one million, reach out to a current student or recent alumnus (ex: me!) and ask all the questions you have. We really love to chat. :)

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