MBA Student life in Edinburgh

4 tips for adjusting to the MBA Journey

Deciding to enrol in the MBA programme is a big decision. For myself, it has meant leaving my job and uprooting my life for a year. To make the transition a little easier, these are the things I would recommend keeping top of mind during the first few weeks in Edinburgh.

  1. Give yourself time to adjust

For many MBA students, deciding to come to Edinburgh means organising an international move. Things like finding a place to live, sorting out your visa, opening a bank account, finding your way around the city and establishing a routine, all take time. There will likely be bumps in the road, and getting everything organised will probably take you more time than you originally thought. Don’t let it become too frustrating; it will work out. That said, ask for help if you need it. The university staff are phenomenal, and I’m sure they will be able to point you in the right direction, no matter the issue.

It is also important to remember that transitioning back to student life can be challenging. Don’t be hard on yourself if the environment doesn’t feel quite right for the first few weeks. This is completely normal. Everyone has been out of the classroom and in the workplace for several years, so it is important to give yourself time to re-adjust to the lifestyle of attending classes, doing readings, and juggling assignments and exams.

2. Organise yourself early

The MBA class schedule gets busy very quickly, so it is very helpful to get into the habit of doing a little work each day early in the semester. Dedicate some time to doing class pre-reading, reviewing notes or making study aids – these are all things that will help you as deadlines approach.

It is also a good idea to collaborate with your cohort. With a global cohort, everyone has come from such varied backgrounds, and you never know what assistance your classmates may be able to lend. You may find someone who is able to lend expertise in an area you’re struggling with, or they may have come up with a great study system that could work for you. These are things you won’t find out unless you talk to them.

Finally, if you are struggling, ask for help early. Don’t fall into the trap of spinning your wheels for so long that a small problem becomes a big one. If you are struggling, other people likely are as well. Sometimes talking things through with someone is all that is needed to trigger a light bulb moment and provide some clarity.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize

Life is going to get very busy between classes, assignments, group work and social events. Between all of this, it is important to remember that a one year MBA programme is designed to be intensive, and because of this, staying focused is essential. Remember why you are here. What do you hope to get out of the MBA programme? What made you decide to pursue an MBA? Everyone has a different reason for being here, so it is important to stay focused on your reasons and to not be distracted by your classmates’ goals. Ultimately, you will get what you put into this experience, so don’t forget why you chose this path.

4. Have fun

You will be living in a great city, in a beautiful country, so take the time to explore it! Take a day trip, go for dinner with your friends, spend a weekend away. In the end, you will keep these memories with you after you leave the programme, so make sure to take advantage of the opportunities you have.

What tips would you offer to incoming students? I’d love to see your comments below.



Published by

Gillian Chiasson, MBA University of Edinburgh

Gillian Chiasson

Gillian is a Canadian with an educational background in psychology and a professional background in luxury hospitality. She is currently a student on the Edinburgh MBA programme, and was the recipient of a Business Achievement Scholarship. Gillian’s favourite thing about Edinburgh is its history and how it has everything you’d need in a big city, but is compact enough to walk everywhere.