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MBA News: Darden Dean Offers Advice on Choosing an MBA Program

Robert F. Bruner, who will step down from his position as dean of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in July, recently shared some words of wisdom for business school applicants. In a March 10 blog post, Bruner referenced a quote by the late entrepreneur Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The quote, claims Bruner, is valuable to keep in mind when electing an MBA program. “The idea of the ‘five friends’ resonates with me,” Bruner writes, “because at this time of year, business school applicants from around the world are choosing who will be their friends for the next couple of years.”

As MBA candidates should know, you can learn much more at business school than just what is taught in the classroom. “In graduate school, you learn more from the friends around you than from the faculty,” notes Bruner, who goes on to explain why carefully choosing the people with whom you will surround yourself during your graduate studies is vital. Networking is an important example, but some other factors might not seem so obvious, such as learning from your peers in study groups or the effect that your acquaintances’ future behavior could have on you. “The ‘five friends’ principle invites the applicant to consider the influence of future peers in selecting which school to attend,” Bruner concludes. “This influence is a vitally important contributor to the success of one’s learning experience in business school.”




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