Class. Sounds like a normal thing, especially for an MBA student. Although I suppose the plural, classes, would be more appropriate! But if you're a future MBA student, and you've been out of school for a while, class can be a teeny bit intimidating. Don't get me wrong, I'm super-excited about my Rotman MBA, but the last time I sat in a classroom was over five years ago. It's a bit overwhelming to be faced with the prospect of sitting in classes over the next two years, and paying attention, to take in all the knowledge & information being imparted to you by your professors & your peers. Which is exactly why I was kind of relieved when I learnt about Rotman's MBA Pre-Program. As the name suggests, the MBA Pre-Program takes place before the actual MBA Program, and is designed to give you an idea of the foundations required for the actual classes. Since I'd been out of school for a while, I'd signed up for all the Pre-Program courses, spread over three weeks, to get back in the studying mode. The first week's classes included Business Math, Spreadsheet Modeling: Level 1, and Self-Management: Developing a Leader's Instincts, and at first it felt like my brain had been turned off for a while, but it sort of enjoyed waking up, especially during the Self-Management course, where we were trying to improve our mind's focus to be less weighed down by survival & more focused on growth. The second week's classes included Foundations of Accounting, Spreadsheet Modeling: Level 2, and Communication Skills: MBA Boot Camp, and things were slowly starting to pick up, and with patient explanations of the Whats, Hows & Whys, for the first time ever, I actually understood, applied & enjoyed accounting! The third week's classes included Language of Business: Concepts in Finance, and Finance Methods, and it was interesting to see how a real-world situation, like Steve Job's resignation from Apple, related to an actual class in real-time. All in all, the Pre-Program classes were pretty helpful, in learning some new things, and in refreshing some hibernating things.
But it wasn't all about classes during the three weeks of the Pre-Program; we also had to encounter the big 'N' - as any MBA graduate and any MBA student will tell you, Networking is a huge component of their graduate education. Networking can be an intimidating prospect for many, especially for those fighting their introvert instincts, but events like the Rotman Rendezvous, where you get to meet your Rotman Buddy, make it a little easier. Aside from telling you about the importance of networking, Rotman Buddies are really great in helping you figure out your MBA management plan, and given their Upper-Year Student status, they can relate to your excitement & anxiety, and it's easier knowing that there are other people in the same boat as you. Your Rotman Buddy, and Upper-Year Students in general, are quite patient (you're an excited new student likely to start babbling about your nervousness!), helpful (they usually have an answer to your question, and if they don't, they will point you in the direction of someone who does!) & approachable (most of them will actually say 'Hello!' before you've had a chance to look up! I just realized the 2012 class seems a little taller than the 2013 class... Hmm...). The calendar also included some socializing, courtesy of the GBC (Graduate Business Council), and the mixers at Proof and at Atelier were great ways to meet some of the 265 students in your year, in a casual, relaxed environment, as well as get to know some of the Upper-Years, and have some fun while at it!