Her professors were not insulted by her lack of academic achievement. "They still wanted to help you even if you were distracted in their class," she says.
Getting along with her classmates could be more difficult.
"I wasn't terribly concerned about my grades per se but the problem was there's so much group work in business school," she says. "You also have expectations to your team members, and you're working in group projects."
To avoid conflict, she advises students to be up front with their peers. "You have to make it clear from the beginning that you can only spend so much time on this project," McDowell says.
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• Balance time wisely: Boer recalls an overwhelmed student who juggled going to classes with hiring staff and managing his business.
"That's not easy to do," he says. When students ask him how to balance competing priorities, he pushes them to figure out which matters most.
"How important is your company to you? How important is your academic degree?" he asks them. "Grades don't determine your success in life. The inner fire in your belly determines how successful you will be."
• Find business partners in class: When it comes to looking for staff, Boer points out that student entrepreneurs can turn to peers.
He says students can start by asking "What am I good at doing?" and then ask themselves, "What things am I not good at doing?" Once weaknesses are identified, "Try to identify classmates who are really good at each one of those things. And when you get through with that process you'll have probably a decent management team," he says.
Even with a strong team, students should be nimble and expect the unexpected.
"Starting a business is not a nice, clean, neat, orderly process," says Boer. "It tends to be very messy, very chaotic, and everyday you're learning something new that may cause you to change direction the next day."
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