108 Tips for New MBA Students

by Matthew Kuo on August 14, 2013

in MBA, MBA Tips

To learn more about Excel, go to the organized listing of all my Excel tutorial posts or review the

108 Tips for New MBA Students

It’s been two months since I graduated from business school, and I still have one month before I start my new full time job.  During this pre-employment period, I have not used my alarm clock once.  I play a lot of tennis, binge watch television shows, and even took a two week trip to Europe.  This sense of pure relaxation couldn’t contrast more with how I felt two years ago.

I still remember making the drive from San Francisco down to Los Angeles, knowing that after I arrived at UCLA, there was no turning back.  While I had worked out in my head all the reasons why getting an MBA made sense for me, I still knew that a positive outcome was not guaranteed.  Therefore I was a nervous wreck.  At that point, I hadn’t secured a six figure salary or a job in high tech marketing.  I was just one of 400 students looking to improve my career and hoping that some corporation would be willing to give me chance.

After going through two years of business school, it’s still questionable how much of my coursework and class notes will apply to my real world job.  But one thing I do know is that I can use my experiences to help those who are in the exact same position I was two years ago.  First and foremost this post is a documentation exercise; the list of recommendations below represents all the useful tips I learned over two years that could help someone starting to walk down the MBA path.

In addition to the list 108 tips, I’ve also added 18 more tips at the end that are specific to UCLA Anderson.  Each recommendation has additional context which can be accessed by simply clicking its associated link.  The tips are organized by subject matter as individual posts.  To read about all of my recommendations with full context, click here to start with the very first topic.

If you have any additional tips, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

Academic Planning

  1. Find a Dentist and Doctor Early
  2. Use a Homework Tracker
  3. Travel Abroad
  4. Take a Speed Reading Class
  5. Waive Classes if Possible
  6. Do Independent Study
  7. Give it Your All During Your First Quarter / Semester
  8. Take it Easy During Spring Quarter / Semester of Second Year


  1. Buy Discounted Software From Your School
  2. Buy an External Monitor
  3. Backup Important Files Every Quarter or Semester
  4. Buy an Apple or Lenovo Laptop
  5. Buy a Tablet
  6. Start a Blog
  7. Buy a Printer and Scanner
  8. Turn Off Your Laptop’s Startup Sound
  9. Unsubscribe From Spam Email Lists Before School Starts
  10. Add a Trinket to Your Swiss Gear Backpack
  11. Submit Online Dropbox Assignments Early

Online Services

  1. Use Google Drive or Dropbox
  2. Create Your Works Cited Pages with an Online Converter
  3. Sign Up for Amazon Prime
  4. Create a Keyboard Shortcut for Your Email Address
  5. Use an Online Meeting Scheduler
  6. Use Google Hangouts for Remote Meetings
  7. Install Security Software on Your Laptop, Phone, and Tablet
  8. Use an Online PDF Merger
  9. Subscribe to Business Insider for Tech News


  1. Don’t Fall in Love With One Company
  2. Have a Backup Plan
  3. Don’t Overextend Yourself
  4. Setup Google News Alerts
  5. Work Your Connections
  6. Keep a Backup Kit in Your Locker

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

February 4, 2016 at 1:43 am

nice post.


Nick July 11, 2016 at 5:34 am

Hi Matthew,

Great website. As an incoming MBA student this fall, I plan on reading all of your posts before class begins.

For tip #63, Always Write Thank You Notes, do you mean to send physical notes or email thank-yous? If physical notes, what information do you usually include on the note? I’m used to sending follow-up emails but have never sent an actual note to an employer.


October 23, 2016 at 11:38 pm


I am very happy reading your 108 Tips for New MBA Students, I am also MBA student and doing MBA from Asia-Pacific Institute of Management in Delhi, India. I think your post is most important for us and our career. Lastly I would like huge thanks for sharing such great info for us

MBA (Asia-Pacific Institute of Management)


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