- Good students go and treat it like school. They’re good at school and it’s a familiar model: the teacher knows more than I do, assigns stuff to do, teaches me stuff. I try hard and get good grades because that’s what I know.
- Credential-ers are there for the name and the doors it opens – most of which were probably open anyhow. Tend not to worry as much about grades, care a lot about affiliation with other classmates.
- Career switchers are another version of credential-seekers, though usually much more focused on where they were and where they want to go. B-school is a ticket to get there, and they’re going to work the system (especially recruiting) as much as they can to get that plum job.
- There for themselves know that this is a professional program, a collection of smart people (students and teachers both), and curate their own experience inside and outside the classroom. They work hard, but not for the grades and not necessarily mostly in the classroom. They’re there for themselves, since it’s their time and their money.
If I were to do business school all over again I would be a 4 (there for myself), but in truth I was mostly a 1. That’s what I knew how to do at that time in my life – be good at school.
Maybe that’s all I was ready for then, but I wish someone had grabbed me by the lapels and said: “This isn’t about the job you’ll get, it isn’t about being a good student. It’s about the trajectory / discovery / exploration / learning you need to do – in whatever way makes most sense for you – to walk from where you are today to where you want to be.”