Alexandra Arrivillaga ThinkingAs many of us know after years in the real world, graduate school doesn’t always prepare you for the realities that you will face when you graduate. Business school is known for acting as a stepping stone for many to their career. And the contacts that people make in class can often have huge effects on the course of their professional lives when it comes to networking and eventually launching a business venture. However, before we continue singing the praises of business school, it’s important to be aware that what you learn in those classrooms won’t always apply to the real world scenario. In fact, many could argue (after graduating of course) that there are a handful of falsities told to business students year in and year out. However these myths are worth examining. 

The Problem with Planning

Business schools are notorious for demanding constant outlines and plans for everything. Really, most academic environments place a lot of emphasis on the value of planning things out and getting organized. While this is a lovely idea, often times in the real world, all of the best laid plans can still fail. While thinking ahead, reflecting and having a vision are all important in building a successful company, the reality is that being too attached to one plan or way of doing things can be detrimental to a company’s growth. The beautiful thing about cultivating a new business or venture, is the fact that things will change quickly, and there will be that element of reaction and change that will have very little to do with the plans that you so thoughtfully wrote out. While planning can be a helpful exercise in clarifying your vision and identifying aspirational timelines, flexibility and awareness are just as key.

Paying Your Dues

Another common misconception often reinforced in business schools is the notion that you have to pay your dues by working for someone else or in a particularly corporate environment before branching out and working independently. While one can gain a lot of valuable experience and insight through starting off in the corporate world, this isn’t the only way of doing things. If you already know what you want to do professionally on your own, you don’t have to go through the motions of due paying  just because that’s what so many others seem to do. 

Hard Work equals Success

While hard work and developing a strong and dependable work ethic are two keys to success, it’s important to realize that quantifiable success takes much more than that. So many other factors come in like, developing a strong network and knowing how to use it, devoting your time to understanding your business inside and out and most importantly (but often wildly overlooked) self-care. With so much attention paid to how many hours a new CEO logs at his or her startup, maintaining one’s health is often overlooked. Maintaining a life that involves relaxation, a strong connection to friends and family, exercise, good nutrition isn’t a point that is necessarily encouraged or acknowledged in business school, but these are important factors in preventing burnout.

While business school provides a great step in preparation for the workforce, it’s important to keep in mind that not everything that you learn there will necessarily apply to your situation once you graduate.