Navigating the First Semester of B-School

Sep 25, 2018 1 Min Read


Six months have come and gone since I first bade farewell to the legal profession and started my first day at Asia School of Business as an MBA student.

Here are five lessons that I’ve learnt since then:

  1.    Done is better than perfect

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times that I have sat down to type out drafts for different blog/LinkedIn posts, but have hit the backspace button simply because the article didn’t represent the inspiration I had in mind.

Lately, I’ve learnt that done is better than perfect. Perfection is an enemy of progress.

I’m not talking about churning out mediocre quality work and settling for it.

Instead, I’m talking about learning to follow through and finish what I’ve started.

So, I’ve decided to look at my articles as experiments designed to gather feedback.

In doing so, I will (hopefully) fear criticisms less, and know that constructive feedback will only serve to make the next iteration better!

  1.    Ruthless prioritisation and obsessive efficiency

There is no other way to survive B-school other than to prioritise ruthlessly.

Given that there are a million and one activities happening both inside and outside of school on any given day, there will undoubtedly be reasons to have fear of missing out (FOMO).

That being said, prioritise setting your personal goals, and decide what success means to you personally.

From then, ruthlessly prioritise and be obsessively efficient in doing what it takes to reach those goals that matters the most to you.

As Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and Founder of Lean In, once said,

Lots of times you have very good ideas. But they’re not as good as the most important thing you could be doing. And you have to make the hard choices.


  1.    Find a side hustle

With the boom of the gig economy, I am grateful for my side hustle outside of school. In my opinion, a side hustle isn’t just nice to have.

It’s critical.

It gives me perspective on my life, as I find ways to excel at two key things – becoming a master of my craft and honing my skills.

A side hustle gets me out of my comfort zone, and helps me to broaden my skill set as I continuously try to improve myself outside of school.

  1.    Surround yourself with like-minded, inspiring and honest people

For most of us, business school is a challenging, intense and transformative season of our lives.

In the words of the renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn:

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

While we may interact with many people on a daily basis, but the few who are closest to us will be the individuals who will directly and indirectly have the greatest impact on us, our way of thinking and making decisions.

Strive to surround yourself with people who will inspire, motivate and challenge you – ideally they’d also be people who can always tell you the truth and criticise you constructively.

  1.    Have a mental tool kit

At the start of school, we were exposed to the Change Curve – a powerful and popular model that demonstrates the different stages of personal transition that a person undergoes.

Having been through all four stages of the change curve in the past 6 months, I can testify that the biggest lessons learnt will take place outside of the classroom.

You may be thrown off guard as you enter a whole new season as a student on a very intensive programme with multiple concurrent deadlines and additional social responsibilities.

Have a mental tool kit to prepare yourself when this happens. Know what it takes to help you get out of a rut.

Personally, I’ve discovered that running, swimming, being outdoors, doing yoga and simply being in the company of a few close friends are the primary tools in my mental tool kit box that fuels me and keeps me going!

If any of these resonate with you, I’d love to hear about it!


Previously a lawyer by profession, Sarah-Ann is the founder and host of the ASB Podcast, where she interviews individuals with extraordinary and unconventional experiences to give insights on how any incoming MBA students may unleash their potential, equip themselves and help them navigate through their journey at the Asia School of Business. She is passionate about people, technology, marketing, as well as personal and professional development.

Reposted with permission.

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