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6 Non-Business, Business School Lessons
that Will Help You Succeed

See also: Self-Motivation

When you go back to school to earn an MBA, you expect to graduate with the skills that will help you excel in your chosen career path. Whether your MBA focuses on accounting or marketing, global business or entrepreneurship, or any one of the dozens of other areas of specialism, you’re bound to be focused on developing the hard skills that you can apply to any situation.

However, earning an MBA is about more than just learning to read a balance sheet or how to build a company brand. Based on the experiences of thousands of previous MBA grads, business school is about learning life lessons, too. Whether you are planning to seek a master’s in business yourself or not, the following six lessons that MBAs took away from their programs can apply to all aspects of life.


1. Know Yourself

Non-business - business school lessons.

We’ve all been asked to talk about our strengths and weaknesses in job interviews. But do you really know what you are good at and what you’re not?

Can you identify the things that bring out the worst in you, and what makes you the most miserable? Knowing who you are is vital to determining not only the areas that you need to work on, but also helps you recognize when you aren’t at your best and make positive changes that will set you up for success. Sometimes, it takes learning what you don’t want to figure out what you do want, and that can make all the difference in your success.

Knowing yourself also allows you to be more authentic. When you’re confident and strong in your convictions, you’re in a better position to provide thoughtful and potentially groundbreaking ideas and insights. Don’t be who you think everyone wants you to be. Be yourself, and carry that authenticity into your career.

2. Follow Your Own Path, Not Someone Else’s

Non-business - business school lessons.

Everyone has different goals, different priorities, and different ideas on how to get where they want to go.

But when you follow someone else’s notion of success, or try to emulate someone else’s exact route, you’re not only likely to lose your authentic self, but you’re probably going to sabotage your own dreams and goals.

Don’t waste time comparing yourself and your journey to others who are on different paths. Create your own vision of success, and follow the path that leads you there, focusing on what gives you energy and purpose, and aligns with your goals.

3. Be Disciplined

Life is full of distractions, and it can often feel like there isn’t enough time to do everything that we want and need to do.

However, accomplishing your goals requires discipline, and that means setting specific goals, with deadlines and targets along the way. Because so many MBA students are balancing school and work, they become experts in time management, and in setting priorities. Don’t be afraid to say no, and focus on those things that you can be fully committed to.

Remember that making sacrifices now and being disciplined in your approach will be something you’ll thank yourself for later, so just get stuff done and move forward.



4. Learn to Listen

One of the biggest takeaways that many MBA graduates mention is the need to become a good listener.

Listen more than you talk, and learn to be an active listener. Don’t focus on what you are going to say next, but digest what others are saying and reflect their thoughts back to them. You might be amazed by what you learn, and how you can be inspired, if you just stop and listen.

5. Learn from Those Around You, Not Just Books

If getting a business education was only about reading books and case studies, and writing papers, then anyone with access to a library or the internet could call themselves an MBA.

Business school is about a whole lot more though, in particular the chance to learn from others. One of the best things about business school is the chance to learn from those around you and to build your network. Going to school for an online MBA with AACSB accreditation is important, as that distinction attracts others with a commitment to excellence. However, even post business school, focus on surrounding yourself with the best people. A rising tide lifts all boats, so considering who you will be working with, and how you can learn and grow from their experience, is important.

6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Trying new things can be terrifying. But how will you ever know what you are capable of if you don’t take chances and allow yourself to be uncomfortable and vulnerable?

Getting outside of your comfort zone can provide you with new insights into what you are capable of, as well as build your confidence and help you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to redefine yourself and how you categorize your abilities. Don’t be afraid to stretch and take some risks, as that’s one of the most effective paths to success.


Earning an MBA can go a long way towards helping you find success in your career, by giving you the skills you need to qualify for and excel in high level positions.

The experience you gain from your business courses could prove valuable to making a measurable difference to any organization. However, for many students, it’s the lessons they learn outside of the classroom that make the biggest different to their overall success in both their personal and professional lives. If you are thinking about going back to school for a master’s in business, don’t forget to consider these lessons, and many others, that will leave a lasting impression long after you finish the program.


About the Author


Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable.

She often enjoys photography, researching new trends and D.I.Y crafting.

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