How to Succeed In An MBA


This blog post could have been about why you should seriously consider enrolling in an MBA, but you must already be aware of the myriad career-related benefits.  This post could also have been about why you should choose Kaplan Business School over any other, but you must already be aware of our five specialisations, our interesting subjects, our workshop format, our industry connections.  So what is this blog post about?  Well, it’s about you.  It’s about providing you with three truths you should keep in mind so that your chances of success are heightened no matter where you complete your MBA.

The first is this: Forget about the ending.

I remember when I was in my early 20s, I had a manager who had completed a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Law, a Master of Economics, and she was just about to start her MBA.  At the time, I had just begun my undergraduate degree and couldn’t wait for it to finish and here she was beginning her fourth qualification!  So I asked her: “How do you do it?”  Her response is one I’ll never forget.

She told me that, when you start any new program, if all you’re thinking about is the end goal, you’re going to find it a very slow, arduous and painful experience to get there.  But if you look at every lecture, every assignment and every reading with the mindset of “how can I apply what I’m learning immediately into my work and my life”, all of a sudden your experience becomes much more meaningful and relevant and far less painful because you’ll instantly witness the fruit of your labour.

With the Kaplan MBA, you’ll find that immediate application to be a very easy thing to do because subjects such as ‘emotional intelligence’, ‘conflict management’, ‘problem solving’, and ‘coaching and mentoring’ – and many others  – can effortlessly be incorporated into your professional life … and your personal one, too!

The enriched MBA program now includes 5 specialisations, one of them being Digital Management. Students are equipped with the skills to interpret and analyse digital data.

The second truth to success as an MBA student is this: Get involved.

I know it’s much easier to be passive.  When I was a uni student (actually, I still am a uni student and always will be) I hated group work.  I really hated it.  But I can see now how much value it adds in terms of teaching you about relationships, collaboration, deadlines, accountability, and leadership.  That’s why you owe it to yourself to participate in group work with energy and focus.

Even beyond group work, you can choose to be a particular type of student in class – either the one who sits silently, plays on the phone, and wastes all that money – or the one who asks questions, answers questions, arrives on time, ignores the phone, and is concentrating on what the lecturer has to say.

With the Kaplan MBA, being an active participant is easier than you might think.  That’s because we’ve abolished lectures and tutorials.  They no longer exist.  We don’t even have lecturers anymore.  We just have facilitators.  That means you’ll never sit in a boring class where the lecturer just talks for two hours.  At Kaplan, a facilitator will only speak for about 15 minutes before breaking the class up into an engaging and relevant activity.  But the activities only work if you do!


The third truth to success in an MBA is this: Put in the time outside the classroom.

When I was an undergraduate student, I recall the lecturers saying it’s important to invest an additional six hours outside the classroom in personal study time.  I remember thinking: “Yeah, right”.  I wish I had taken their advice.  Well, at least I did as a postgraduate student and ended up performing much better than I had expected.

That’s why it’s incumbent on you to accept that what happens in a classroom is not enough for you to reap the benefits of postgraduate study.  You have to invest much more time at home, on the bus, on the train, ultimately wherever you can.

With the Kaplan MBA, we’ve done our best to make this personal study time as enjoyable as possible.  That’s why every week in every subject you’ll be given a range of online material.  This will include videos, podcasts, quizzes, book chapters, journal articles, glossaries, interactive forums, and more.

So even though I couldn’t help including a few Kaplan plugs in this blog post, I really hope you see that we’ve designed this MBA with one very specific focus in mind: your genuine success.

Written by James Adonopoulos