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Prepare to be a Team Player in Business School

MBA applicants should hone their listening skills in preparation for group projects.

MBA students should be clear on team goals and processes before working.
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For example, he says, a project's initial goals may require students to figure out how to bring a product to market. Later, the project's sponsor may say the student team should instead work on how the company can be sold to the highest bidder.

"In most projects, things change and you learn things as you go along and you've got to adapt, whether it's with the time you're going to put into things, or what your role is," Anderson says.

One of the best ways prospective MBA students can prepare for student team projects is to do group or team-based assignments at work or while volunteering, experts say.

But it's key that they learn from the experience, says Michigan's Caproni.

"While you're on those teams, be very mindful of your own behavior in that team, of what you want to learn, of how you personally are helping and hurting the team," she says. "Learn as much as you can about team dynamics."

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