9 Useful Online Services for MBA Students

The following entry is the second part of my original post on technology tips for new MBA students.  (Click here for the original post and context)  The following recommendations will focus primarily on the online services I’ve used and found helpful while getting my MBA.

Online Services

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Use Google Drive or Dropbox

The two most popular cloud based document sharing services are:

Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) is great if you need to have multiple people working on the same document at once, such as having team members work on different sections of a group paper.  You currently get 15 GB of free storage space from Google just by signing up for a Gmail account.

Dropbox is good if you simply need to share a large folder of documents with your team.  Some people also prefer its desktop interface to Google’s browser interface.  With Dropbox, you start with 2 GB of free space, but have several ways to earn more free space over time.  Click here to sign up for the service through my referral link and get 500 MB of bonus storage.

Create Your Works Cited Pages with an Online Converter

If you’re my age, the process of writing papers has changed significantly from undergrad to business school.  The vast majority of your sources will come from internet resources.  Back when I started writing papers, we were still coming up with a citation format for online articles.

Anyway, to streamline the process of creating a proper works cited page, you should use an online converter to do the bibliography formatting for you.  I prefer to use bibme.org.  The site is a little clunky, as you’ll have to create an account before you can use the service.  But after that step, the bibliography converter greatly increases your efficiency in citing sources.

Sign Up for Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime is one of the best deals available for students, as you can start the service at 50% the cost if you have a .edu email address.  Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping on all products fulfilled by Amazon.  This is great if you need to get a textbook right before classes start or if you just get really busy during fall quarter.  With Amazon Prime, you’re always getting a great price on whatever you purchase and your stuff arrives very quickly.  While you’ll inevitably have to stress out about recruiting and academics during business school, shopping is one thing that can be streamlined.

Additionally, signing up for Amazon Prime gives you access to tons of free content on Amazon Instant Video.  Now admittedly, not all of the free content is great.  But if you dig around, you’ll definitely find a movie or TV show worth watching.  If you’re still on the fence, click here to start a free 30-day trial of the service.  At the very least, you should get your books delivered for free during your first quarter, and then you can cancel before the trial period ends.

Create a Keyboard Shortcut for Your Email Address

One of the annoying things about business school is our lengthy email addresses.  Here at Anderson, our official email address consists of both our first and last names and our graduation year.  For me this was a problem because I kept listing the current year instead of the year I was expected to graduate.  This minor nuisance can become a serious problem if you make a mistake during the MBA recruiting process.

One of the simplest ways to prevent this error, and also save you some time from typing your email address, is to download a keyboard shortcut converter.  The one I use is called PhraseExpress.  With this program installed, instead of typing out my entire address, I just input “mkucla” and my official email address auto-populates.  You can also link your email address to hot key shortcuts, such as ALT + (any letter).

Use an Online Meeting Scheduler

It’s impossible to go through business school without scheduling and attending several group meetings.  However, you’ll find that doing so is very difficult, as everyone has their own schedules and recruiting events can easily become a burden.  The two most popular online meeting schedulers are:

When2meet allows all group members to list their availability and shades times when all group members are available.  This service is better if all team members need to be in attendance and people genuinely list all the times they are free.

Doodle requires you to propose a handful of meeting times and asks team members to vote on which one is the best.  This service is better if there is one person leading the meeting and that person’s schedule needs to be prioritized.

Use Google Hangouts for Remote Meetings

Google Hangouts is another great tool to use for group meetings.  As long as you have a webcam, microphone, and decent internet connection, you can video chat with anyone for free.  You can also record meetings and share your screen in place of your webcam, so this essentially negates the need for a Webex or GoToMeeting.  And if you get bored during the meeting, you can play around with Google Effects, which lets you add various props to your video image.  (Pirate’s hat, sunglasses, tiara, etc.)

Google Hangouts is also better than Skype because the free version of Skype restricts the number of video participants you can have.  Therefore, to have a group video conference on Skype, you’d actually have to pay money.

Install Security Software on Your Laptop, Phone, and Tablet

Having one of your electronic devices stolen is one of the worst experiences to have.  Other than being diligent about your surroundings, the only other form of prevention from theft or loss is to install security software on your device.  I personally recommend installing Prey, a free open source security app.  When your phone has been lost, you’ll be able to log in online and view periodic GPS reports of where the device is located.  This doesn’t guarantee getting your device back, but it doesn’t take much time to setup and is therefore worth doing.

Use an Online PDF Merger

Merging PDF files is a task that you won’t run into often, but it may become necessary if you ever need to combine your official transcript with your resume or attach a PDF exhibit to an assignment.  Rather than pay hundreds of dollars to purchase Adobe Acrobat Standard, it makes more sense to just use an online PDF merger to fulfill these needs.  Merging PDF files is especially helpful if you have several files to print out but don’t want to send multiple requests to the print server.  A few of the sites that allow you to merge PDF files online and download them back on your computer are:

Subscribe to Business Insider for Tech News

If you subscribe to Business Insider’s “10 Things in Tech You Need to Know,” you’ll get an email every business day covering the most important tech news.  On slow news days, the last few items are filled with irreverent tech humor.  The service is completely free and is a great way to stay on top of the news if you are recruiting for the high tech industry or are just interested in the subject.

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