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As you look forward to your first day of your MBA program, you may feel some anxiety about what to expect. With the amount of time and money that you’ll be investing in the program, it’s no wonder that you want to be prepared for your first graduate-level course. Find out some critical knowledge that you need before you begin your MBA program in order to have a successful graduate experience.

Computer Competency

As a college graduate, chances are that you have some familiarity with computers. When it comes to graduate school, it would be helpful to know how to use an Excel spreadsheet to analyze and interpret data. You should also know how to use word processing, PowerPoint and databases. It may be wise to take a refresher course to help you develop the skills that you need to help you through your courses.

Quantitative Skills

The level of mathematics that you’ll need varies depending on the school that you attend and the program specialization that you choose. No matter what, it’s wise to have a solid background in statistics and financial analyzing. You should also be able to handle basic accounting principles, so it would be beneficial to take a review course and help you refresh your quantitative skills.

Economics & Finance

Before taking graduate-level coursework (, it would be wise to have a good foundation of basic economic and finance principles. You should understand the basics of microeconomics, macroeconomics and analyzing financial data. Knowing this information before you start will give you the information that you need to build upon what you already know and understand the topics as your professors delve deeper into these subjects.

Teamwork Adeptness

Since business schools like to mirror the business world, you should plan on a variety of teamwork assignments, presentations, papers, and projects. Opportunities for teamwork can teach you adaptability, communication skills and leadership. You should know how to work with other people effectively to achieve your goals.


Working towards your MBA will not be an easy task. You’ll spend late nights and long hours writing papers, studying, completing projects, and reading. You may have to sacrifice time with friends and family. You may even have times that you want to give up. If you have a clear focus, you can develop the discipline you need to stay on top of everything and find success throughout your studies.

Use your time before beginning your graduate-level coursework to gain the critical knowledge that you need to be successful. For those who are in the middle of graduate coursework or who have completed it, what are some other things that you wish you would have known before beginning your MBA program?