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Back to “Reality”

There’s nothing better than coming back to Boston and starting another semester at HBS. All your fellow students are bright-eyed and full of enthusiasm (unless you’re in EC), the novelty value of winter has yet to wear off (unless you’re in EC), and you’ve made peace with the fact that you’ll probably be in credit card debt well into your 40s (especially if you’re in EC).

But starting a new semester at HBS can also be challenging. It’s hard to hit the ground running when your mind is still in holiday-mode, your body is stuck in an exotic time zone 14 hours ahead of EST, and you’re still reeling from the rigors of “Hell Week”.

Fear not! Here are some handy tips to help you make the most of the next two weeks and beyond.

1. Embrace your new subjects

RCs – It’s totally normal to be racked with self-doubt as you venture into new subjects. But don’t be put off by those inscrutable course names and scary syllabi: they’re not as frightening as they appear. STRAT is just like BGIE except without macroeconomics and with much more strategy; BGIE is more or less FIN 2 except with countries and artistic takeaways; FIN 2 = FIN 1 x 2; and so on. If in doubt, just raise your hand and liken whatever is being discussed to your FIELD 2 project.

ECs – I know there’s a strong temptation to just take BSSE, NEG and ALD again (“I still have so many personal hang-ups to share with a group of partial strangers!”) But resist that temptation and try something new. Why not enroll in one of the new Field Courses, like” FIELD 4: What Happened to All the Stuff That We Bought with Our FIELD 3 Seed Money”? Or check out one of the half-semester
intensives, like “How to Get a Bunch of Extra Long Weekends in April” or “How to Use the Add/Drop Tool 102”.

2. Kick start a new routine

Five weeks of dithering and gallivanting can take its toll on your health and self-discipline – so strike back with a strong routine. Start each day at 5:30am sharp by going to bed. At 8am, wrap yourself in all the Under Armor sweatshirts you can muster and hit the gym for a Spin class. 9am sees you grabbing a healthy breakfast (remember, cookies are the top and bottom of the food
pyramid), followed by class. After class, spend the afternoon napping, doing stomach crunches on the couch, and accidentally reading cases that came in the course packet for subjects you ended up dropping. Grab a quick dinner at 8pm, then report immediately to that day’s birthday party. It may seem tough at first, but you’ll soon get into the swing of things.

3. Attend EVERY careers presentation

I don’t mean to alarm you, but failure to participate fully in the HBS recruiting schedule can have severely deleterious impacts on your future. Indeed, recruiting events mean the difference between landing your dream job, and landing face-down in a muddy paddock during your first day as Junior Product Tester for Wisconsin’s third-largest producer of tractor tires. The secret to success? Religious zeal and faultless attendance.

I’ll let you in on a secret: most companies don’t even read the resume or cover letter you submit. No, they just jot down the names of all the people sitting in the first three rows at their recruiting presentation and offer them a job. And the people who ask lots of ingratiating questions after each presentation, followed by a death-defying pit-dive? They get an extra big bonus. Go get ‘em!

In summation, I hope this semester brings you learnings and funs in equal measure.

February 4, 2014
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