You’re driving home for Christmas. You can’t wait to see those faces.
And to pass the time away, you’re going over financial modelling, quantitative analysis, lean startup methodology, blue ocean strategy and the Four Ps of marketing.
Oh, to be an MBA at Christmas! Your friends and family are kicking back and relaxing with little regard for your mental well-being.
But these are the most important few years of your professional life. Can you put Christmas to good use?
Here’s 5 things MBAs should be doing this Christmas:
1. Get Job Ready
“At least plan where you want to get your job and see where the next networking events are,” says Christine Blin, an MBA graduate from Copenhagen Business School.
In Denmark, things tend to close down around Christmas. But wherever you are, the festive season is a chance to perfect your resume, look forward, and think about the next steps in your career.
Christmas parties generally mean food, drink, and likely embarrassment. But for MBAs, festive season revelry can also bring opportunity.
“It’s definitely helpful to start building your network,” says Sudipta Kundu, an MBA grad from the UK’s Cranfield School of Management. “Find out who the relevant alumni are, and what sort of jobs they’re in.”
The MBA is a generalist’s degree. Depending on your chosen career path, you may want to gain specialist knowledge in a particular area to really stand out to employers.
Vincent Chevalier is a Chicago Booth MBA graduate who runs his own digital advertising agency in Silicon Valley. He recommends that MBAs who want to work in tech learn additional practical skills through online courses.
“Any way you can show that you’ve been running a bit more miles to learn something more technical makes a huge difference,” he says. “For instance, to have some sort of a concept of HTML and SQL makes your life so much easier in the tech environment.”
4. Ace The GMAT*
The GMAT is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the MBA application process. MBA applicants will need to study hard, even through Christmas.
“I ended up sleeping at work two times a week and studying almost all day,” says Patrick Davis, a recent MBA graduate from the University of Hong Kong. “For me, it was a test [for the MBA]; to see if I could put myself through it.”
5. Take A Break
Even MBAs are human. You need to use your time wisely, but sometimes a break away from it all can be just as beneficial. Last Christmas, in the middle of his MBA, Patrick went on a three-week, 900-mile cycling trip from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rat race of the MBA,” he says. “If you get time off, get away from everything. For me, the best thing was to get some time by myself, some space and perspective.”
*Applicable only to MBA applicants, and particularly self-loathing students and grads. Merry Christmas!