5 Class Participation Tips for MBA Students

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5 Class Participation Tips for MBA Students

If you’re not interested in participating when you enter an MBA program, then perhaps you’re wasting your time and money on a degree program that holds little benefit for you. Not everyone is suited for higher education, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re going to bother showing up, you should at least make up your mind to get the most out of the experience so that it’s not a complete waste. Here are just a few tips for MBA students that value their time in school and want to participate whole-heartedly in the process.

  1. Sit in the front row. It has been said that students who sit in the front row tend to get better grades, and there are a couple of reasons why this could be true. For one thing, sitting in the front of the class ensures that you have the best chance to catch every word during a lecture and see what’s written on the board. In addition, however, sitting up front means that you can also hear everything that’s going on behind you, including questions and comments made by other students, some of which may help to enhance your knowledge of the subject matter. Of course, it probably doesn’t hurt that being front and center puts you in the hot seat. When you’re more likely to be called on with questions, you’ll probably go out of your way to ensure that you’re prepared to answer. It may also be the case that professors get to know you better through proximity, and therefor treat you preferentially, although this probably depends on the teacher.
  2. Come to class prepared. When you stay on top of reading and assignments, you not only give yourself the best opportunity to ace your classes, but you also come prepared to participate in classroom discussions, ask pertinent questions, answer when professors call on you, and obtain the clarification you seek on anything that isn’t made clear by your reading or the lecture. Teachers are not standing at the front of the room for their health; their goal is to teach, challenge, and prepare students for the rigors they’ll face in the working world. So if you want to get the most from your college education, you’ll come to class as prepared as possible and participate in the lessons.
  3. Utilize office hours. When you find yourself in a classroom with hundreds of other students, your opportunities for participation may be rather limited. However, you can get additional information or clarification by taking advantage of office hours offered by your professor or his staff of grad student aides.
  4. Over-perform during group projects. Any time you’re involved in a group project (and there will likely be many such situations as you work toward your MBA), you’ll find that some students do the majority of the work while others slack off. Unfortunately, you can’t afford to be spiteful. If other students under-perform it behooves you to pick up the slack. The end result will be good grades all around. But don’t worry – the students that slack are likely to find themselves in hot water when they actually have to perform in the workplace, whereas you will be well-prepared for the challenges inherent to the average work environment.
  5. Set up study groups. Interacting with other students is an important part of the collegiate experience, not only in terms of social fulfillment, but also as a way to build a future network of professional contacts, as well as potentially increase your understanding of the subject matter covered in your courses. Whether you attend Harvard Business School or you’re working toward an online MBA, connecting with other students is a great way to participate and make the most of your educational experience.