You have finally managed to secure admission for an MBA program at a reputed B-school abroad. However, you have apprehensions about settling down in unfamiliar conditions in a new country and coping up with the academic challenges as well.
At the Imperial College Business School in London, of the 1,600 students in the current MBA cohort, 88% are international students, says Manvi Mehta, studying MSc Strategic Marketing at the school.
So, you should not have any fears of being alone, she says in a student’s blog post. The immediate fears of an international student would be whether you would be able to make friends, cope up with the demands of the syllabus and find a job on completion of the program.
5 Useful Tips for International MBA Students
1. Getting to Know Your Classmates
One way of getting to know your classmates is to spend more time with them. You can do it in the classroom by switching seats almost every day instead of sticking together with just a few people from your own country.
Since one of the main purposes of enrolling for an MBA is to develop or improving your networking capabilities, it is worthwhile to meet new people and collaborate with them in all activities in the class as well as outside.
2. Taking Time Off to Relax
You should take some time to relax by taking up a sport, aimlessly dancing, strolling around the park, writing a journal, listening to your music or even just a power nap. Manvi confesses that during the induction week, she felt intimidated with all the long hours, networking, getting back to her accommodation, managing food and routine. It was almost impossible to find the quiet time for self-reflection or recharge, she says.
3. Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
You may be an introvert, extrovert or someone in between, those who enjoy being alone for some time and also with large-scale socializing. It is essential to move out of your comfort zone.
This does not mean accepting peer-pressure and forcing yourself to do things you are not comfortable with, Manvi says. It is more about trying new things that you would not or have not done before. For instance, go for parties when you crave to be at home, it may help you meet people with similar interests.
She says some of her friends try a new cuisine each week, a new sport or even enroll themselves for evening language or dance classes at the school.
4. Maintaining Contact With Your Folks
You should find time to keep in touch with folks back home despite your busy schedule. Regularly updating them with your achievements and disappointments and seeking their support will keep you in the best frame of mind to meet new challenges. Otherwise, you may suffer from pangs of guilt in not contacting your close ones.
5. Taking Time to Adjust
Remember that it takes time to adjust to life in new surroundings. There is no need to get disheartened at initial setbacks. Try to maintain a positive outlook and things will be fine.
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