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Surviving the MBA

Happy New Year! Best wishes to everyone in 2013!

Four months have gone by and it has felt like ages. Between the tons of readings, individual and group assignments, reaching the Christmas break milestone has provided both a breather and moments to reflect on how I’ve made it through so far.

So here goes my unofficial guide to surviving through your MBA from my personal experiences.

1. Start your readings as soon as possible:

The first few weeks can be highly deceptive. Between the welcome programs, aperos, several free lunches and invitations for drinks, you may be tempted into believing you have just begun a yearlong vacation in this quaint town. Very shortly after that the rude awakening begins wherein you will be required to stay on top of the readings for several courses. My advice? Find time in between all the merriment to start your readings to get back into school mode as quickly as possible.

2. Stick to your budget:

Go easy on the Schutzengartens and the Appenzellers. It is easy to get carried away and think the extra bottle, or the extra platter won’t really hurt your pocket. The tricky part is that all these Francs add up. You probably already heard that Switzerland is an expensive country and prepared a strict budget you intend to adhere to. It is probably in your best interests that you stick to that budget.

3. Find your stress-reliever:

Your getaway. The MBA program gets really serious really quick. You start to question so many things; your decision to go to business school to start with, why it is so hectic, whether the school should change its name from MBA school to boot camp, etc. However finding a stress-reliever really helps…really! Playing sports, going to the gym, joining extra-curricular clubs or just exploring Switzerland’s beautiful alps and scenery helps to calm the nerves down and make the year much less stressful.

4. Have fun:

Go dancing! Be goofy while doing it too. Have an impromptu snowball fight! Do the gangnam style! It helps burn calories. Invite your classmates to come try the local cuisine from your home country. Show whoever is interested, some music from your home country and teach them how to dance your popular dances. Go salsa dancing (if even you have two left feet and have a history of dislocating your dance partners shoulder from doing the spin wrongly). Very shortly job applications and being so serious will start all over again. So enjoy this pause in your life to the fullest.