Happy 2016! Classes are commencing, interviews and networking events are imminent. As the holiday decorations come down, there's no denying it's time to get back to work.
MBA students need to balance a heavy workload of classes, assignments, group projects, club meetings, conferences, events, job applications, internships and more.
Fortunately, dozens of utilitarian web and mobile apps are available to meet the unique needs of b-school students. We've sorted through the undulating sea of software to select the 16 most helpful tools for MBA students this year to help you:
- Manage group projects;
- Connect with teams;
- Track assignments, responsibilities, finances and to-do lists;
- Assign tasks and check progress;
- Share, edit and collaborate on files in real-time; and
- Balance courses, networking opportunities and social events.
Check them out, and be sure to let us know about other useful applications you can't live without. Here's to a prompt, productive and pragmatic spring semester!
1. Taking Notes & Storing Documents
What it is: A cross-platform app for note taking, bookmarking, clipping, organizing, and archiving handwritten notes, web articles, voice reminders, photos and other large documents. You can organize, label and access volumes of information by sorting notes into notebook stacks by theme and adding category tags to notes. Search, share, edit on the go.
B-school Benefits: Taking and reviewing notes, studying anywhere, storing large documents.
2. Group Workflow Collaboration & Project Management
What it is: A collaboration tool to efficiently organize projects by creating cards for things that need to get done. You can assign tasks to your teammates, add due dates, and organize the cards into lists to display what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process at a glance. 1) To Do, 2) Doing, 3) Done.
B-school Benefits: Showing team progress, especially useful for managing long-term projects.
3. Project To Do List
What it is: A user-friendly note-taking app featuring color-coding and labels to keep track of notes, lists, checklists, photos, voice notes and reminders.
B-school Benefits: Keeping track of all the things you need to get done.
4. Collaborative Work
What it is: An online word processor where documents (and spreadsheets via Sheets, presentations via Slides) can be created, edited and stored online, allowing users to collaborate with other people in real-time.
B-school Benefits: Working together on group projects without having to be in the same room. Or country, even.
What it is: A social networking site for the business community to strengthen and extend your existing network of trusted contacts. An interactive tool to showcase your pedigree, experience and skill-set as well as correspond with professionals at companies where you might be interested in working after graduation.
B-school Benefits: Getting jobs and connecting with people you meet in class and at networking events and conferences.
6. Off-Campus Meetings
What it is: A communication service allowing quick video calls either one-on-one or with your group. A screencast option to share your screen with other members of the hangout allows everyone to look at and edit a document or PPT together.
B-school Benefits: Having face to face meetings off campus (particularly useful for EMBA and PT MBA students who are on campus less often to meet with teammates.)
7. News Aggregation
What it is: Feedly compiles your favorite news feeds from a variety of online sources into a customizable, self-curated, magazine-style news reader. For a fast and clean reading experience, your feedly gathers and displays the latest content of your favorite news sites, blogs and podcasts presented in an easy to read format.
B-school Benefits: Keeping ahead of trends and sharing the latest relevant stories from your feedly with classmates, friends and your student organizations.
What it is: A safe, cloud-based home for all your photos, docs, videos and files, shareable and accessible from anywhere.
B-school Benefits: Sharing large files with professors, classmates, clubs and HR professionals. (For group projects or event planning, create a shared folder and grant members access to it.)
9. Events & Networking
What it is: A campus engagement platform to manage your student organizations, events, communications, involvements, tickets and payments. CampusGroups users see at a glance everything happening on campus and can register to events in a click or on the go. Users can automatically sync LinkedIn resumes to individual profiles to showcase a comprehensive view of their accomplishments, group memberships, leadership positions, event participation and work experience.
B-school Benefits: Exploring events (or promoting your own), on campus clubs and involvement opportunities, browsing classmates and registered event attendees, RSVPing on the go. (Build relationships with classmates, club members and future business partners!)
10. Quick Communication for Teams
What it is: A team communication platform with a casual, conversational interface similar to an instant messaging app, easily searchable through segmentation by hashtags. Slack users can create topic-based discussions channels, message entire group or individual members.
B-school Benefits: To help make a group project less overwhelming, create a general discussion channel and separate channels for various tasks, topics and resources.
11. Team Checklists
What it is: Project tracking app to help teams manage tasks, allowing groups to share, plan, organize and track progress of each member's tasks. Know who's responsible for everything.
B-school Benefits: Managing projects, assigning tasks to group members and discussing group work. (A daily snapshot lets you see how everyone is doing and which deadlines might not be met.)
12. Deciding on a Meeting Time
What it is: Easy scheduling tool to find a convenient time for everyone in a group to set up a meeting. Set optional times for a meeting, and receive quick feedback from members about their availability by just checking off the times that work for them.
B-school Benefits: Figuring out the best time for everyone in your group to meet and automatically add meetings to your calendar.
13. Maximizing Your Budget
What it is: A popular budgeting app connecting your financial accounts (checking, savings, credit cards) for a complete display of your finances. Mint users can automatically add and categorize transactions, create budgets and receive tracking notifications.
B-school Benefits: Keeping track of your Benjamins during b-school.
14. Managing Tasks & Contextual To-Do Suggestions
What it is: A simple task management tool to help you track tasks and appointments and keep a running list of to-dos, letting you know when you need to complete them. A minimal interface displays what you need to do today, tomorrow, later, and someday (when you're less busy). Sync with your Google Calendar to receive prompts after meetings so you can record any new action items.
B-school Benefits: Balancing your academic and social responsibilities. (Through a daily review, decide what tasks each day to tackle or to defer.)
15. Locating Nearby Wi-Fi
What it is: Crowdsourced list of routers and passwords, showing over 2.1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.
B-school Benefits: Locating stores, restaurants, coffee shops, parks and other places with open or password-protected Wi-Fi access in your area.
16. Spreadsheet Collaboration in Real-Time
What it is: A cloud-based, modern, real-time spreadsheet-database hybrid offering easy table setup, simple data entry, mobile compatibility, multiple users and field types. AirTable users can create a spreadsheet from scratch, template or by importing another spreadsheet.
B-school Benefits: Simultaneously collaborate and converse with your team members on data-driven projects. Even if you're working remotely, the mobile app and desktop versions are synced, so your updates are instantly reflected.