4 Things They Don't Teach You in MBA School

MBA schools do a pretty good job preparing you for getting a job and working in a big organization doing high-level things like calculating the NPV of a million dollar machine. But does it do a good job preparing you if it all goes wrong? What if you lose that job and you can't find another job, then what?

I don't know if it's the same for all Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes but the first lesson we learned was getting out of the worst possible situation: imagine yourself on your back with someone sitting on top of you hitting you in the face. Teaching us how to handle that situation was the first and most important lesson. I think there's an equivalent for MBA students.

Lesson 1 - Self-Reliance

You need to learn how to provide for yourself by yourself. To be fair I don't think anyone can figure it out for you but at least they can get you thinking about it. There are a lot of things you can do but it has to be something you can do yourself. Also, it makes more sense if it's related to your profession (that is what you are good at after all). If you're good at marketing (i.e. generating leads) at a big agency, make sure you can also get on our own as an independent contractor doing the same type work (even if it's on a much smaller scale). The feeling knowing you can always provide for yourself is indescribable and it's something I wish for you as well.

Lesson 2 - Selling

You need to learn how to sell. I know there are MBA sales management classes but you can't learn to sell without selling. At one point in your life, being able to sell a product, a service, or an idea will be required for your survival. Don't wait until that moment to develop that skill. Get a part-time job at the mall selling clothes or volunteer with a non-profit and get on the phone or go door-to-door to help with their fundraising - just learn to sell.

Lesson 3 - Copywriting

I know you have to write in your MBA classes but I don't mean the type of writing where some prof or teaching assistant has to read your work to grade you. I'm talking about copywriting - the type of writing that has to be good enough for someone to want to read your work and give you their money. Writing is one of the most important forms of persuasion. Being able to create good presentation slides is also very important. In the work setting, it's often the most important method used to convey information.

Lesson 4 - Boardroom Presence

You need to have enough presence to have the ability to influence others in meetings. It requires a mixture of knowing when to speak, when to keep quiet, listening to what is being said, listening to what is not being said and most importantly earning the respect of those around you. The best way I know to earn respect is to work hard and get results.

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