"Hi guys, my name is Rebecca To, from the Queens School of Business in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Full time MBA alumni, class of 2014. Today I wanted to highlight a couple of misconceptions that people might have prior to going back to business school. I shared these misconceptions and I wanted to share with you what the reality was that I experienced once I went back to school. The first big one. People assumed that the business school environment is super serious, which is not to say that studying and finding that job post-MBA is not going to be a big component, it is. But the reality was that the environment was much more relaxed than I thought. For one thing, for some reason I envisioned that we were going to have to be in suits all the time, that every single day we were going to have to attend classes in suits. And, yes, there were events where you were expected to dress professionally, so if not a suit, then at least a button up shirt and slacks, such as during on-campus recruiting season when alumni would come back and we’d have an opportunity to network with them. It was really was up to you to be smart about knowing, okay, well when do I need to be casual and when do I need to dress up more professionally?
But other than that day in and day out when we were attending classes per se, it was pretty casual. It was much like your undergraduate experience, right, people are wearing jeans, t-shirts, those hoodies with your college name across them, things like that. However I would ditch the pajamas and the sweat pants. I'm not sure if that would fly in business school, but no, you do not have to go out and buy 100 suits and fill your closet like Clark Kent, things like that.
But, yeah, the other thing is I thought that the business school environment was going to be always professional and always serious, but no we took a lot of time to socialize and we did a lot of things outside of the classroom. So the Queens School of Business at least they really emphasized this idea of fit breaks where you take time out of your day to go outside, go play sports, something to alleviate some of the stress that you might be feeling. So as a class we would go and play volleyball, cricket, try new things like curling, canoeing, kayaking, things like that. And even on the weekends we would try to get together and sometimes we’d go on trips.
So, for example, in the wintertime we organized a ski trip together. So I think that that’s what I would really emphasize to you is to take the time to go socialize with your classmates because that truly is where the strong friendships were formed and the bonds and you always hear about the strong network that you’re going to walk away from business school with and certainly, yes, you can form part of that network through the stuff that you do within the classroom and really learn, okay, well, this is how somebody works, etc. But I think that that strong network really comes from when you take the time to get to know each other outside of the classroom, because then really form that relationship together.
The other misconception that I think that people often have about the MBA is that you’re going to have to graduate and go into one of three career paths; consulting, finance or marketing, and that if you don’t choose to go into one of these three you shouldn’t go back to get your MBA. And it’s definitely not true, definitely not true. Yes, maybe emphasis is placed on one of those three career paths, but I think more and more you’re finding people going back who simply want to learn a little bit more about business and build that foundational knowledge sets, right, and to get managerial skills that they can apply to any area that they want to go into post-MBA.
So for sure you do not have to go into one of these three areas; consulting, finance or marketing if you go pursue your MBA. It’s really up to you to take what you learn throughout your time in the MBA, the experiences that you have and apply them to the area you want to go into. And to also use the resources available to you really explore, okay, well, what can I do that’s of interest to me and not feel like I have to go into one of those three areas.
So anyway I hope that that clarifies a couple of the big misconceptions that people often have when it comes to going back to business school. Good luck."