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How to Prepare for the First Semester

Preparing for the start of my graduate program was incredibly stressful, mainly because I did not know what to expect. It had been over 10 years since I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, and those classes were conducted on campus at a major university. Even though I was confident that my professional experience would assist in several of my classes, I was intimidated by the thought of taking courses such as Accounting and Finance again, especially since I had struggled with them at the undergrad level. I was actually relieved to learn that OLLU wanted me to complete several modules of the BADM 6600: Fundamentals of Business Administration, to serve as a refresher prior to starting my MBA. If you have the opportunity to complete the course, the material covered will prove as useful preparation for the lessons discussed in future courses.


I highly suggest you order your textbooks 2 weeks prior to the start of each course, which should provide adequate time for them to be delivered without having to pay for rushed shipping. You can buy or rent through the campus bookstore, but other websites such as Amazon and offer competitive pricing. It is also helpful to have a few notebooks handy and a calculator that can handle complex equations. It is unlikely that you will have to take detailed notes or need an individual notebook per course, but the notebooks will come in handy when watching video lessons or grabbing a few exerts from a website without printing off the entire article.


At the start of any class, be sure to read the syllabus and understand the course schedule. I personally found it helpful to mark dates on my desk calendar so I always had a visual of when assignments were due. It helps to look ahead at major assignments, such as exams or research papers, to better understand what will be expected of you. For example, if you have a mid-term paper due in Week 4 of the course, do not start until that week to decide on your topic and do research. With the classes being only 8 weeks long, you will progress through the assignments at an expedited pace and due dates can sneak up on you quickly!


Once you have an idea of when each of your weekly and major assignments are due, it is very helpful to plan out a routine. For example, Monday and Tuesday are dedicated to reading textbook chapters, Wednesday is spent writing about the weekly discussion topic, followed by comprehension quizzes completed on Thursdays. Each class will have different expectations, so you will have to adjust your routine accordingly; however it is a safe assumption that you will need to dedicate an hour or two every day to your studies.


The graduate program at OLLU is challenging, but is also very rewarding. The courses are designed to relate to real-world work environments, and the material can be related to your present or previous work experiences. Do not let the courses intimidate you, regardless of how long ago it has been since you were last a student, or if you struggled with them in the past. As long as you allot yourself plenty of time to understand the lessons and put forth your best effort, you will be amazed with what you can accomplish!

About the Author

Kelly Pool

After over 10 years of management in the Transportation and Warehousing industries, I decided to take time away from work to enjoy being a new mom and finally focus on earning my MBA. My daughter is now 2 years old and I am looking forward to graduating this December. Although I have enjoyed my time as a stay-at-home mom, I am ready to return to work and looking in the Florida area to join my boyfriend and his family. This program has helped give me the confidence to branch out of my previous roles and apply for positions I never would have considered before, so I am excited about my future career opportunities!