Helpful Tips for MBA Students

Michael Ghens, MBA
3 min readDec 16, 2021

I earned my MBA late in life. I was a working student with a full time adult job, and aparent to take care of. This was posted on my blog on 2014–09–28.

I was fortunate when I entered the MBA program that I had transferred directly from a bachelor’s completion program at CSUCI. Even with that, it still did not change the fact that most of my professional life was working with technology. The courses I had taken before I entered the bachelor’s completion program were geared towards computer science.

So far, in the MBA program, every class has three similar characteristics: writing, group projects and presentation. Here are few things that will be helpful:

  • Look into Grammarly. Remember what I stated about writing? Not only are you expected to write, you are expected write with proper grammar. Your grades may suffer not because of the content, but because of the presentation level of writing. Grammarly also has a plagiarism checker. It cost about $140 per year, and it is worth every penny.
  • You need to be aware of what plagiarism is. Grammarly includes a plagiarism checker. This blog post was written 100% off my head. Yet the plagiarism check at the time of the check stated that this blog post was 23% unoriginal. Scary eh?
  • In spite of all the free alternatives, Microsoft word still rules. I have tried to use other programs to do my homework. However, it just was a waste of time. Word and Excel will make your life comfortable.
  • Learn APA format. Although some Instructors will allow you to to use any format, APA format is the format for business papers. An excellent resource is the Purdue Online Writing Lab. As an MBA student, you can leave the abstract section out.
  • Learn a collaboration suite. Remember that you will be doing a group assignment? Most of your fellow students will not live near you. If you are like me, you may have a full-time job. Google docs is excellent. It has all the features that you want in a collaborative suite. Lately, I have been using Microsoft Live’s OneDrive instead. Since OneDrive is closer to Microsoft Office suite, I find that I get more buy in with my group partners.
  • Learn a presentation software. Every class you take as a CSUCI MBA student will have a presentation. As much as I like Prezi, I have reverted back to PowerPoint. My issue with Prezi is not that it is bad. On the contrary, it is an excellent presentation software. My issue is that it takes me four times as long to create a presentation that looks proper. PowerPoint is the standard and time is one thing that you cannot waste.
  • Look into a project management software. Originally I was using Trello. Currently, I am using Asana. Trello is an excellent program, but it is is not for me. I am more task oriented. I wished I knew about Asana when I started in the BS completion program. Asana would have made my life easier.
  • You need to be aware of what a case study format is. You will be doing quite a few two to three-page case studies, mostly from Harvard Business Review. The format is simply write an overview, analyze, make recommendations. Where beginning MBA students get into trouble is that they will confuse analysis with writing a summary. In a case study, an overview, is at most three paragraphs. The bulk of the case study is an analysis. If you are not sure, ask.