Taking part in a 1-year intensive MBA program can be very challenging. In addition to the academics, the internship and future job opportunities are other concerns that students have. Although sometimes it seems impossible to spare time out to participate in non-business types of social events, attending these events actually leads to unexpected gains that may end up saving one’s time.
Out of the hundreds of emails MBA students receive from different departments, I found one that promotes the blog of SFU Graduate Studies (http://blogs.sfu.ca/departments/gradstudies/). Out of curiosity, I read the blog and found a few interesting posts. Particularly, I looked into one that is about the International Grad Student Dinner coordinated by the Graduate International Community Program. Growing up in Vancouver, I am not an international student, but the social dinner welcomes both domestic and international students, as it gives all students a chance to mingle and network. Even though it is not a business social event that brings opportunities in meeting people from major corporations, I decided to go.
Usually, these events are free of charge. For this dinner event, students are only responsible for food or drinks they purchase, which is a lot cheaper than many other networking opportunities. For under $15, I chatted with other graduate students with diverse national and academic background, got ideas for assignments, learned about an organization that may provide internship positions in my field, connected with a few other graduate students, and had a casual, but delicious dinner.
The opportunities that bring direct benefits are not the only positive ones. Sometimes, keeping an open mind to learn from and work with others is also beneficial.