Starting your MBA program this fall? Take a ‘gap’ and celebrate
Now that all of the stress is over, your business school decision is made, your new future stretching out in front of you like the yellow brick road, the question is, what are you going to do between now and then?
For some of you, there is no choice to be made, because you know you want to stay at your job until the moment you leave for your MBA program orientation. But for some of you, those with a little time, savings, and interest in doing something different before heading back to school in the fall (it’s been a while since you’ve been able to say that, right?), we have a few ideas that you might want to consider.
You may have heard friends talk about “gap years”, enviously wishing your parents had let you consider some time to figure yourself out; now might be the time to construct that period of your life for yourself.
Work has kept you busy for a long time, and school is about to fill your life with a new set of activities and commitments. Try exploring what’s around you and living at a slower pace, for a bit. If you have the time and inclination, this might be a great time to take a gap month, or four, and try out some of the things you’ve always longed to do.
- Explore your city.
You’ve heard of a staycation, but that doesn’t just mean checking into a local hotel or lounging around in your pyjamas (although we fully support that!) For many, business school means relocation, and you might be leaving your home, or your adopted home. So how about getting to know it a bit better? Take the time to do those city tours you always heard about,, meet friends in cafes and restaurants you’ve been meaning to try. Make the most of your time in your area. If you’re living in Delhi, explore the historic sites and revel in the modern art scene. Working in Mumbai? Take a walking tour, do weekend trips to Alibag and Elephanta, get to know the art deco buildings of the Oval Maidan and Marine Lines and the bungalows of Bandra.
Backpack through Thailand, try wines in the Rioja region of Spain, and avoid Kangaroo kicks in Australia! India is filled to the brim with options. Spend the monsoon season in Kerala, or hike through the Valley of the Flowers and see it in bloom. What is one place you’ve always wanted to visit, one country or region you’ve always wanted to explore? This is your chance to get a group together, or go it on your own.
- Try learning a new skill
When was the last time you tried something you had no background in or knowledge of? Take a cooking class and learn the cuisine of another culture, go on a bike trip, challenge yourself to try something new. Take a music class, start painting, do improv or try a new language, – do something purely for the joy it gives you and invigorate your interest in learning new things. Learning new things activates the brain, improves focus, helps your memory stay sharp, and forces you to think in new ways. Plus, it makes for a great icebreaker with your new classmates!
- Look beyond your career
Quit your job and join that start-up or that risky investment fund. Volunteer at the non-profit.. Perhaps you’ve been holding yourself back because it’s not the right career move and it doesn’t look good for business school. This is a time when you are not going to be judged or evaluated based on what you are doing, career-wise, and you can take the risk that didn’t feel logical before. Whatever you do has a clear expiration date, so you aren’t committing to something forever.
Whatever you end up doing, this is your time, so make the most of it. Celebrate by trying the things you’ve always wanted to try, and know that whatever you do, you’ll be ready for business school in the fall, with a new perspective, new stories and experiences ready to share. As education consultants, we cannot stress enough that you take the time to be rested and ready before you set out for the academic rigour of an MBA.
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