How to spend the summer before B-school?

TheGrind's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,676

I asked a few of my friends who'd been to B-school this question and they all advised me to take a vacation and relax. However, I spent most of 2012 doing just that (I've worked a total of 5 months within the past 16). Aside from language lessons overseas and a contract Six Sigma assignment my lifestyle's been pretty sedentary.

I'll be going in armed with rusty skills against a bunch of hard charging, overachieving maniacs.

Any suggestions on how to spend the summer preparing? Should I consider an Excel course to bring me to expert level? A financial modeling course? Pre-MBA internships? Quantitative classes?

And for anyone who's already been, is there anything you wish you'd done/known that could have given you an advantage prior to matriculating? What do you think?

Comments (17)

Apr 5, 2013

double post*

Apr 5, 2013

HBS '15 here. Some schools have a a financial analytics class a few weeks before matriculation - I know HBS does. Depending on your work exp, you might not be required to take it - but if you feel rusty, you might want to.

A financial modeling class seems a bit extreme, especially if your program makes you take financial analysis classes as required curriculum.

Pre-MBA internship could be interesting but for the love of Pete, don't waste it being a IB monkey. I applied to some Fortune 500 pre-MBA programs of varying lengths (Nike, P&G, eg) but many won't let you know until June if you get admitted. Pretty poor for planning purposes. You could work at a startup - although the exposure you get to actual product or strategy might be minimal.

People come into b-school with a really wide range of experiences and talents, so I wouldn't worry too much. Probably the best prep you can do (based on experiences of many friends currently in school) is to read a lot - business books and beyond - to get back in the stream of reading 100s of pages a week. But hey, you can do that on a beach somewhere...

Apr 5, 2013

Thanks alot for your input and CONGRATS on HBS! Holy smokes! No, IB definitely isn't for me but I'm not averse to doing anything else in finance or financial services if opportunities present themselves as my own background is almost completely corp fin. I'm leaning more towards either General Management/Rotational Programs or Consulting (as a reach-so far I've looked at a few cases and they seemed interesting).

Will def. get back into the habit of leisure-reading dense material and maybe look at some Pre-MBA internships

Apr 5, 2013
TheGrind:

Thanks alot for your input and CONGRATS on HBS! Holy smokes! No, IB definitely isn't for me but I'm not averse to doing anything else in finance or financial services if opportunities present themselves as my own background is almost completely corp fin. I'm leaning more towards either General Management/Rotational Programs or Consulting (as a reach-so far I've looked at a few cases and they seemed interesting).

Will def. get back into the habit of leisure-reading dense material and maybe look at some Pre-MBA internships

P&G has a nice program. Check it out - although some of the tests they make you take online will make you question your sanity/intelligence. Basically all the F100 companies have some sort of MBA program, and I imagine you can inquire about a pre-MBA bootcamp. Most of those I've seen have been only a couple of weeks, and probably are glorified recruitment events - they are load managing their summer recruiting efforts, in other words. But still might be worth it, especially since most pay for expenses.

Seriously, take Proust, Dale Carnegie, and all your backlogged Economist issues to a damned beach somewhere. Every single person in b school with you is an overachiever and you will feel really left out when you hear about all your classmates talk about spending 8 weeks in Southeast Asia.

Apr 5, 2013

TheGrind, I know how you're feeling. My job wound down once I dropped my papers to get out of the military. Since my wife is in grad school I won't be taking any month-long trips round the world or going to Yacht Week, etc but I will try to at least get a week of vacation somewhere.

I'm trying to brush up on my skills as well since, as my username suggests, I have very little business related experience. I don't think I'll go as far as a financial modeling class but I'm doing lots of reading. Just finishing Margin of Safety, going to re-read Intelligent Investor and I have Security Analysis sitting on my bookshelf that I never got through. I'm also trying to find some online courses. I took statistics and basic accounting during undergrad but haven't used them since so I think a few short refreshers would at least shake off the cobwebs. It's amazing what you can find on youtube and sites like Khan Academy.

Apr 5, 2013

Also, there is a great IB textbook out there - "Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and M&A" by Rosenbaum and Pearl. Should be able to find pdfs online and there's an online repository of working and shell models to play with. Found it useful reading when learning not to be a complete rube for comps modeling - the text explaining how to model is helpful irrespective of actually practicing.

Apr 5, 2013

Yeah I've been perusing through Khan Academy, and the program I'll be attending (Tuck) offers free access to mbamath.com for admitted students. You might want to take a look at it for your online class needs. That and reading seem to be the safest bets. I might as well sit tight and collect a few more paychecks/fill the resume gap. But it'd be nice to get a leg up on networking, which is why the Pre-MBA internships look so appealing.

For the record MilitaryToFinance, I was military as well-but prior to starting college. Enlisted in the Army (I assume you're an officer, though?), did my 3 years, took the college money and hightailed it out of there.

Apr 8, 2013

MBAMath looks like an interesting resource. Since CBS doesn't pay for it though I don't think it's worth it. I may not be able to find the quizzes online but I can certainly find replacements for the lectures that I can accomplish for free.

Apr 8, 2013

Dunno. You could sail across the Atlantic? (Is summer transatlantic sailing season? I can't remember : )

Otherwise, an internship in your target industry is always a good idea,

JF

Apr 8, 2013

I'll be recruiting for banking and have been considering doing an internship in M&A, as I have a friend who runs a local M&A consulting firm. However, I also may just take some time off to travel and study things completely unrelated to business! I think most are in the same boat.

Apr 8, 2013

i think if you're planning on going down a structured recruiting path (IB, Consulting, etc) then take the time off to travel, read, etc. If you want to work in PE/VC, it would be very beneficial to do a pre-MBA internship if you can swing it.

Apr 8, 2013

I have a buddy who after getting accepted, deferred for one year and then went through the OTS process to become Reserve Officer for Air Force.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

Apr 8, 2013

Thanks for the shout out, good stuff!

Apr 8, 2013

Perhaps unsurprisingly this sounds like a condensed undergrad business degree. Certainly a good thing for those entering your program from other backgrounds.

Apr 8, 2013
Comment