Advisors' Corner

Make the Most of Your Graduate School Journey

Whether you’re just starting your graduate degree or nearly finishing up, here’s how you can maximize all the opportunities around you to effectively navigate your journey..

Achieving success in grad school is survival of the fittest. As an incoming grad student, you may have heard the rumors of grad school being a rat race for top marks and netting the highest paying job post-graduation. In reality, it’s not a dog-eat-dog environment nor is it a complete breeze.

Grad school will come with its challenges, but it will also open up many opportunities! It’s up to you to put in the effort to jump the hurdles and grow to your fullest potential.

Read on for a few tips on how you can effectively absorb new knowledge, develop your skills, expand your network, and manage your time here at the Beedie School of Business.

TIP #1: REAP THE FULL BENEFIT FROM YOUR CLASSES.

Classrooms are a source of immense knowledge. The fact is, you will have heaps of work, but engaging with the tasks and utilizing your knowledge to the best will help you tackle it head on. If you feel that you are starting to lose footing, reach out to your peers. Consider forming or joining a study group – others are struggling too, and just like you, they are hesitant to show it. Coming together will enable your group to share knowledge through simultaneous teaching and learning, and you have a variety of new fresh perspectives to gain insights from.

You don’t have to wait until you’re finding it difficult to cope to reach out, either. If your professors say something particularly captivating, chime in with your thoughts or meet them after class to discuss it further. They want to hear from you! More importantly, speaking with them could lead you to establishing a working relationship with them and gaining countless new insights.

TIP #2: ENHANCE YOUR LEARNING WITH EXTRACURRICULARS.

Grad school can be a whirlwind of classes and networking. Participating in extracurricular activities will allow you to engage with your peers and apply academic learning in real-life situations. You can also advance your networking skills, gain new insights, develop tangible skills, and establish strong connections. Whether you want to plan events or recommend solutions for organizational issues, there’s an extracurricular opportunity for every skill:

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FOR NETWORKING WITH FELLOW MBA STUDENTS AND/OR PLANNING EVENTS:

As an enrolled graduate business student, you are automatically a member of the Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA). The executive committee holds faculty-wide social networking events, industry expert roundtable discussions, sporting events, and more. Attending GBSA events is a great way to get to know and bond with your fellow students, and you may even be elected as a member of the committee next year!

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FOR DEVELOPING CRITICAL ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION SKILLS:

Looking to develop your skills through analyzing business cases? Check out the Segal Case Club or the Graduate Management Career Consulting Preparation (GMCCP) program! The Segal Case Club teaches students how to conduct business case analysis, practice presenting, and offers opportunities to represent Beedie in external case competitions. Liceth Callejas, a full-time MBA candidate, shares that her time in the club helped her “acquire valuable tools that helped [her] leave fear behind and present with greater confidence”.

The GMCCP program focuses on introducing graduate students to the basics of preparing for a case interview. Participants will learn structured analysis, logical reasoning and client focused communication, all key skills that need to be mastered. Topics covered will include how to structure a case interview, mental math, issue trees, interpreting visual information and effective presentations. Guest speakers/consultants will also be invited to provide further insight into consulting and case interviews. Watch for more registration information coming later in the Fall term

For general presentation and leadership development, look into Toastmasters! This world-renowned program is designed to help people from all walks of life master the skill of public speaking while building their leadership and other interpersonal skills. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, effective leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program.

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FOR A CAREER-FOCUSED PERSONALIZED MENTORSHIP EXPERIENCE:

Finally, consider joining Mentors in Business, BC’s largest mentoring program exclusively held for SFU Beedie students. As a mentee, you’ll be paired with a local manager or executive for a one-on-one mentoring relationship focused on your career goals. Your mentor will help you develop critical soft skills, receive career guidance, and gain insider perspective on a role or industry you are interested in. The next cohort will commence in January, so keep your eyes peeled for details on how to apply in the coming months!

TIP #3: UTILIZE THE RESOURCES AT YOUR FINGERTIPS.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

Keeping in tune with Leon C. Megginson’s words of wisdom, one way to manage the inevitable changes that will come in your graduate degree pursuit is to make use of the resources available for you at the Graduate Career Management Centre. Throughout the duration of your program and beyond, the CMC will provide you with access to a variety of resources to support your growth.

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ONE-ON-ONE CAREER ADVISING AND MENTORSHIP

Regardless of your chosen program, you can reach out to your designated advisor for guidance in navigating your career path. If you aren’t sure who it is, check out Welcome from the CMC!

Our dedicated Career Advisors will work with you to identify your areas of improvement, goals, and skills. Through the utilization of career development tools such as mock interviews, VMOCK, Career Leader, and Vault, they provide opportunities for you to exercise your job search proficiency and improve on communication and interpersonal teamwork. Advisors are here for you, so reach out to them to make use of their wisdom and insights!

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NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Networking not only enables you to make valuable connections with various industry professionals, it also lets you flex your communication skills and establish your personal brand. The Graduate CMC organizes networking events regularly, including the annual MBA Career Conference, Meet the Pros, as well as helping facilitate external networking opportunities.

Once you’ve established relationships with professionals, set up informational interviews with those from whom you want to learn and gain “insider” insight. They can help you get an in-depth perspective on industries and positions you are interested in by pointing you to potential career paths and providing you with valuable advice.

During the Fall semester, there will be several recruiting events and information sessions from companies spanning a variety of industries. Check out Beedie Community for more information!

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CAREER WORKSHOPS

Attending workshops enables you to build your skills and increase your competitive advantage. The Graduate CMC offers a variety of workshops throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, all geared towards helping you learn and develop!

Our first workshop kicks off Tuesday, October 1 and will focus on “Self-Assessment in the Job Search”. To register, visit Beedie Community and keep your eyes peeled for more appearing in the coming weeks

TIP #4: TACKLE TIME MANAGEMENT

Grad school is more than books, clubs, and events. You are here to learn and grow, and you won’t be able to do so if you’re burnt out. Leave time to care for yourself, because staying focused and stress-free is key to ensuring productivity.

School can be especially difficult to manage as a grad student. Not only will you be juggling class and clubs, you may have a part-time or full-time job on top of those! Many students need to handle assignments, job responsibilities, and still maintain a work-life balance.

Here are a few tips on effectively sustaining that harmony between all segments of your life:

  • Tackle your stress using healthy lifestyle choices. Don’t neglect diet, exercise, and sleep, because they make a difference!
  • Set time aside for fun and stress relief to avoid burnout and protect your mental health.
  • Create a routine that sets you up for success. Schedule commitments in a way that allows you to be as productive as possible.

We hope these tips will help supplement your grad school journey as you embark today. Good luck – it’s sure to be an amazing experience!

For more support with navigating your career, book an appointment with your Career Advisor today or check out resources and events on Beedie Community!