Published: May 25, 2018 By

Student Excellence Award MBA blogEach year, the MBA faculty evaluates the top ten students in terms of academic achievement. They consider not only grades, but also contributions to the MBA program—including leadership, involvement in the program, and how they relate with their cohort and fellow students.

The recipient of this year’s award was Ian McNab. Ian not only finished at the top of the class, he volunteered to manage the Barney Ford Diversity Scholarship event in 2017, worked as a Teacher’s Assistant for Accounting and Macro Economics, and tutored countless peers and first year students.

I interviewed Ian to get some insights into what made him so successful during his time in the Leeds MBA Program:

What was your strategy when approaching a new class?

I used a combination of strategies including doing my homework before the class starts, like talking to people who have already taken the class and learning what I can about the professor. I also make a point of asking a lot of questions.  If it’s unclear, just ask! Professors generally like to know you’re paying attention, so asking questions early goes a long way.

What study methods work well for you? For others that you have tutored?

For me, I have to actively do things, not just sit and read. This includes a practical approach of working through problems, drawing pictures, and talking out things with other people.

When I tutor people, it reinforces my skills. An important part of learning with others is a personal willingness to adapt how you do things and look at problems in a different way. Flexibility is key.

How did collaboration contribute to your success and the success of others in your cohort?

Collaboration is important. We succeed because our team succeeds. It’s very much about helping each other out. Learning how to work in teams is an important part of the program. Each team has strengths and weaknesses.  The best teams enhance your strengths and minimize weaknesses. The team-based approach is a great way to get to know people, build working relationships, and reinforce real-life skills.

What tips do you have for incoming students looking to be successful in an MBA program?

Balance is important. You’re going to work really hard—but it’s important to make time to do non-school, non-work things to maintain that balance. It’s really important to take advantage of extracurriculars.  I ran Barney Ford and a Blueprint project---these helped me get exposure to new things and new people, which are both valuable for switching careers. You need to come prepared to work hard in grad school—you don’t just get a degree here. You’ve got to be willing to put the work in to earn it. 

Approximately how many hours did you spend per week studying and prepping for class?

Depending on the week, anywhere from 40 hours and up.  It was a full-time job and then some between classes and extracurriculars. 

Congratulations, Ian, on this outstanding accomplishment!Student Excellence Award MBA blog