Next week marks the beginning of my second year of my MBA (the beginning of the end?). Last year, I wandered in blind. Had no idea what I needed. No clue what to expect. Just kinda showed up. I think I even waited till mid-September to get a schoolbag… and my textbooks. Whoops.
But this year, I’m seasoned. I have some idea as to what to expect in terms of my classes and professors… and what to include on my MBA back-to-school shopping list.
My MBA Back-to-School Shopping List
A New Planner
A new planner has always been at the very top of my back-to-school shopping list. Legit every fall for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a new planner for the new school year. Even though I keep all of my appointments digitally, I still use a physical planner for my everyday assignments, due dates, and blog scheduling.
Hence why a new planner one of my top must-have study supplies when it comes to recommending things business students need. Plus this pink one is just so stinking cute (yes, I bought it).
A Professional Backpack
Did you think we exhausted this subject yesterday?
JK we def did. Click here to shop all of my favorite professional backpacks of the season… or shop the ones I bought below.
Oh, you thought the days of binders, hole punchers, and everything else you used in the 90s before the digital era arrived in full-force were behind you? Hah.
For some reason or another, higher education (specifically business school) has yet to go entirely digital. While most of the textbooks are available online, many are still solely available in print. Similarly, many professors choose to hand out physical copies of slides and texts instead of sending them digitally. And you need somewhere to store all of that, because – lucky you – it will be on the final. I use these binders and absolutely swear by them!
Pens and Pencils
As higher education has yet to go completely digital, it’d make sense that one might need some sort of writing utensil in order to take notes. Even if you’re able to scrape by the entire semester only using your laptop / tablet, the final is almost always offline (aka requiring a pen/pencil and paper). Don’t be the dude who always forgets a pen. Just trust me and put pens/pencils on your MBA back-to-school shopping list.
A USB Drive (or two!)
In case you didn’t know, MBA programs require a lot of group projects and presentations. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been in a group project and had some issue with the share drive, a file too large to send over email, or had to present using a computer without any internet access. Each time any of those occur, you’re completely effed if you don’t have a USB drive on hand.
You can get standard USB drives for pretty cheap, and I would definitely recommend that if you have a tendency to lose things. But I like to have USB drives in tow that force me to remember that they’re there. Like this pineapple one and this Star Wars-themed one.
Honorable Mention: Textbooks
I actually believe in holding off on getting textbooks until you determine that you actually need the textbooks. Textbooks are insanely expensive, and, in my experience, you don’t typically end up using or needing them 90% of the time.
If the teacher sends out a note before class starts saying that you need to use the textbook before class starts, that’s typically a good indicator that the textbook is actually needed for that class. Otherwise, I highly recommend asking the second-year MBA students whether you will actually use the textbook for each class. This typically changes both by class and by professor… but if a professor hasn’t historically actually used the required textbook in his/her class, that’s typically a good indicator that that same professor won’t even suggest cracking the textbook open this semester for that class. So save yourself the money, friends… and focus on everything else on your MBA back-to-school shopping list.