9 Resources When Preparing For Grad School

July 8, 2021

Eller Business Blog

What is one tip you have when preparing for grad school?

To help future students plan for grad school, we asked current students, alumni and business leaders this question for their best piece of advice. From assessing your workload to making realistic career goals, there are several tips that may help you make arrangements for starting grad school and thriving while you are there. 

Here are nine things to consider when preparing for grad school:  

  • Assess Your Workload

  • Reach Out To Your Advisor

  • Connect with Teachers 

  • Gain Real-World Experience

  • Plan to Stay Long-Term

  • Talk to Recent Alumni

  • Leverage Counseling Opportunities

  • Make Realistic Career Goals

  • Leverage Writing Tools

Assess Your Workload 

Talk to your current employer about working remotely. Before COVID-19, this was an odd request. Now, it is completely possible to negotiate a remote workstyle with your employer during your grad school. However, don't forget why you are there. If work is negatively affecting your grad school experience, bail. A loan here and there will lead to a better outcome than an incomplete graduate degree.

Layton Cox ’13 BSBA (Accounting) ’20 MBA, Senior Associate Consultant, Strategy&

Reach Out to Your Advisor 

It is a great idea to meet your advisor ahead of time and take time to schedule calls with faculty that are teaching classes you are interested in. By building a relationship with your advisor, they are able to best help you with advice on which classes to take, potential certifications to complete and relevant alumni connections. Especially in grad school, teachers are more likely to have several years of experience in the field, and they can help you get internships and jobs through their contacts.

Kirk Williams ’21 MSM, Digital PR Partnerships Intern, Markitors

Connect With Faculty 

What truly separates undergrad from graduate school is the professors. You may have the same ones you had as an undergrad, but your relationship with them will have changed. They no longer see you strictly as students, but now as colleagues, and they are solely there to help. Take advantage of the smaller classes and get to know your teachers. If you are nice to them, they'll look out for you. After all, it was a professor who went out of her way to help find me a job. 

Nicholas Ferrone ’20 BSBA (Accounting) ’21 MAcc, Tax Associate, BDO USA

Gain Real-World Experience

I graduated from undergrad in three years, intending to enroll in the MBA program immediately. Before applying, I was told that I should work for at least three years before applying to the program. That ended up helping me tremendously, as the real-world work experience ended up helping me throughout the program and made the experience that much more worthwhile. After a few years of work experience, my employer was more than happy to make accommodations to allow me to work full-time while getting my MBA at night. I would highly recommend anyone to do that, as your experience will be more fulfilling in the long run.

David Olshansky ’21 MBA Candidate, Investment Banking Associate, Dinan & Company

Plan to Stay Long-Term

One tip that I would give to potential graduate students preparing for a full-time program is to pick a location where you want to live in the future. I packed up everything I owned and moved from Illinois to Arizona with every intention of staying in Arizona after graduation. I have been able to network and meet people through my program, which has been extremely beneficial for my professional career and personal life. I have been able to connect with alumni throughout the state and advance towards my professional goals.

Joe Romani, Eller MBA Candidate

Talk to Recent Alumni

Always talk to the current students and the alumni of the school to understand diverse experiences. Also, look into the curriculum and try to go through the prerequisites before even starting school.

Rahul Mitra ’21 MBA, ’21 MS MIS, Business Intel Engineer Intern, Amazon

Leverage Counseling Opportunities

We prepare our students to be successful at college, whether in undergrad or beyond, as lifelong learners. Our upper school cohorts have access to a wide range of AP course offerings to earn college credits. We also offer college counseling to guide our students and their families through the college application process. These are all great resources that help to prepare our students as they enter undergrad that would in turn prepare them for graduate school.

Samantha Hughes, Director of Enrollment, Stuart Hall School

Make Realistic Career Goals

Make sure you understand what a realistic and satisfactory outcome from your time in school looks like. It really helps to know what kind of jobs are available and be honest with yourself about what you’re willing to do in order to get those kinds of jobs. The most sought after ones often require a much higher level of networking, hard skills and effort. If you’re willing to do that, then you will be competitive for those positions. If that doesn’t sound like you, then make sure you understand what else is out there that will be a better fit for you. 

Evan Reed, Category Development Associate Manager, The Wonderful Company

Leverage Writing Tools

As a predictive text software company, we've found that one of our most popular customer segments is academia. Why? Because graduate school requires students to write a lot of papers, like a capstone thesis or a lengthy term paper. When preparing for grad school, be sure to think about the tool set that you'll use to effectively manage a large load of writing. Predictive text can certainly help increase typing speed and bridge the gap between your thoughts and typing, but there are several other tools to consider when forming a writing tool kit. Invest the time to research the right tools so that you can effectively unlock your writing potential within grad school.

Guy Katabi, Founder and CEO, Lightkey

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