Better grades in undergraduate business programs can lead to scholarships, acceptance into better Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs or other graduate school programs and, eventually, better job offers. Many classes in U.S. business schools consist of two or three tests and usually a presentation. Find out what you can do to succeed at your business school.

General Tips
The following is what all college students, not only business students, should know:
Go to every class and pay attention. There are too many things to learn in a class to rely solely on your textbook. Many professors add tidbits to their in-class lectures that they'll later put on exams. To get an A in the class, you'll need to attend and pick up on the small details. Get a good night's rest so you can stay alert and focused.

Most students cram for tests, hoping to learn three months' worth of material in three days - or, worse, in one night. Your brain just doesn't retain information that way. As an example, it is next to impossible to learn and remember the U.S. state capitals in only an hour's time, but if you spent 10 minutes a day for two weeks memorizing them, it would be simple. Instead of falling into this bad study habit, try to cram in reverse. Study hardest the first three weeks of the semester, and then go about your normal routine the rest of the semester. It's much simpler to get your best grades early when the easier material is being tested, but it gets harder to raise your grade later in the class when the material is more difficult and you have the stress of other exams.

Participate in class discussions and ask questions during the lectures, even if you're shy. To your professor, shyness and apathy look the same. Joining in on class discussion shows the professor you care and can pay dividends if you need help later, such as getting out-of-class questions answered promptly or rescheduling an exam if you're sick. One of the biggest mistakes many students make is that they don't understand the material well and try to hide it until their test is graded. Instead, make a point to ask questions if you don't fully understand the material. Whether professors consciously realize it or not, they are more willing to help students who show interest in the class. If you wait until the week of the final exam to open up, they might be highly suspicious of your sudden friendliness and requests for help. Professors generally appreciate you showing an interest in what they teach. Often, a simple visit after class will result in extra hints on a project or exam.

Be Prepared for Your First Day
Most students miss the opportunities available the first day. Have your strategy mapped out before you leave this crucial class. Use this day to set up your study group, establish an initial relationship with your professor and other students and start to organize your teammates for group presentations.

Group Presentations
If you can select your own group, start finding your teammates on the first day of class. You might already know some of the people in your class, which can be both good and bad. Peers from other classes might want to join your group, but might not be the best for your project grade. If you want to get an A, don't team up with students who are hoping for a B or C - go for the A students. If in doubt, it's usually a safe bet to find older students for your group. Typically, these people are students who are more serious and can add valuable experience to your group.

If groups are assigned, you should have a meeting with your group as soon as you can, preferably the same day groups are assigned. Make it clear that you want to give a great presentation in order to get an A, but that the work should be shared among all group members. The work doesn't have to be equally shared, however, as you can play to your individual strengths.

If you end up with a problem teammate, talk to the person first to try to resolve the issues. If that doesn't work, discuss possible solutions with the other people in the group. If that still doesn't do the trick, talk to your professor. Some professors may force a student out of a group to work individually when he or she is unwilling or unable to share the workload. Finally, most students tend to wait until the project is almost due to start working on it, and only then do they find out they have bad teammates. That's why early meetings are so important to success.

Written Assignments
As a rule, never submit a written assignment that is not in a presentation folder. Even if the material is not A+ quality, a presentation folder with a cover sheet catches the reader's eye, especially when color is added for effect.

Always try to get the professor to look over your paper for advice and criticism before you officially submit it. Give the professor a full week if possible. After the professor provides suggestions, and you make the changes, it's hard for the professor to give you a bad grade because in effect, the paper has already been approved. If the professor won't review your paper, ask him or her to recommend a colleague for the task.

Spoken Presentations
When giving a presentation, dress should normally be business casual, unless otherwise stated. Just like a nice cover on a written paper, proper attire adds greatly to the presentation and lets the audience know you are serious. If you don't agree with this idea, compare this professional appearance to the person who shows up in a t-shirt and shorts, for example, trying to persuade the audience that he or she is knowledgeable about the finer points of international corporate finance. It's hard to be a convincing speaker in that situation.

Overcome stage fright and miscues by practicing your presentation at least three times in front of a mirror or in front of a friend before presenting to your class. Know how long your presentation should take, and then have someone time it. Have this person make notes about the level of your composure, any places where you stumbled over the material and if you smiled. Keep your "ums" and "uhs" to a minimum because they make you look unsure about the material.

As a general rule, never read to the audience. Use brief hand-held notes to help you stay on track. Respect the audience's time by sticking to the time limit, and when speaking, use appropriate hand gestures and don't hide behind the podium, where you risk looking like a talking head. Be sure to try to always smile and make occasional eye contact with the audience, to reassure them that you are interested in them.

The Bottom Line
While these tips won't guarantee you an A in every class, they can make your life as a student much easier. Remember, it's not enough to work hard; you must work smart as well.

SEE: CFA, MBA ... Or Both?

Related Articles
  1. Savings

    6 Ways to Save Money on College Supplies

    Tuition and room and board are big expenses, yes, but the cost of textbooks and supplies can add up, too, unless you strategize.
  2. Credit & Loans

    Four Ways to Improve Education In America

    U.S. students place 27th in math and 20th in science out of 34 countries. The United States must reform its education system or harm future economic productivity and global trade competitiveness.
  3. Home & Auto

    Millennials Guide: 6 Routes to the Right Roommate

    Choosing the right roommate is key to not risking and ruining your credit history. Some simple precautions can save you from a financial nightmare.
  4. Personal Finance

    8 Profitable Majors For The College-Bound In 2015

    Choose your college major wisely to justify the rising cost of higher education. Here are 8 majors that lead to good jobs and high salaries.
  5. Credit & Loans

    What Does It Cost to Study Abroad in Paris?

    Housing will be your biggest budget challenge as a student in Paris, but the city offers lots of ways for students to save money, too.
  6. Savings

    Using Your 529 Savings to Study Abroad

    With studying abroad no longer cheap, families may find that a 529 plan college-savings account can fund educational travel. Tip: Read the fine print.
  7. Savings

    Which Gets Priority: Retirement or College Fund?

    On a tight budget? Wondering which to contribute to – your retirement or your kid's college fund? Here's expert help on how best to allocate your savings.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Why Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Might Be In Trouble

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under increased scrutiny as debates continue about conservatorship, share price, and profit allocations.
  9. Credit & Loans

    Study Abroad: Budget For Brazil

    Interested in study, food and adventure in one of the fastest growing economies in the world? Check out what Brazil costs.
  10. Savings

    College Tuition vs. Investing: Is It Worth It?

    With the rising cost of college and questionable career prospects awaiting college graduates, some are wondering if a college education is still worth it.
  1. Good Student Discount

    An auto insurance policy discount available to young drivers ...
  2. Whartonite

    A graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University ...
  3. Free Application For Federal Student ...

    The form that must be completed in order to qualify for any type ...
  4. Student Debt

    Money owed on a loan taken out to pay for educational expenses. ...
  5. Student Loan Forgiveness

    Under certain circumstances, federally backed student loans – ...
  6. Certified Commercial Investment ...

    A professional designation awarded by the Certified Commercial ...
  1. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can my IRA be used for college tuition?

    You can use your IRA to pay for college tuition even before you reach retirement age. In fact, your retirement savings can ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does accrued interest work on student loans?

    Using private and federal student loans to finance a college education is a common funding strategy, but students are often ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!