I was recently talking to someone about the tools (calculators, PC, etc.) I needed for the MBA, and what I needed to study in advance. With the new Weekend Executive MBA class starting their first residency on June 4, I thought I’d share my thoughts about what I used, and what has worked well for me.

First off, I ordered the Fuqua Managed Laptop (if you’re an incoming student, you should have already received detailed information about this). I had decided that one of the overriding rules for my time in school was to simplify, simplify, simplify. I needed a new machine anyways, and having a machine that was dedicated to school work seemed like a good idea. Add in the great price ($1,500) the IT support available while we’re in school, and the virus protection, and it seemed like a no-brainer. That was one item that was quickly checked off my to-do list.

Second, which calculator to order was a great mystery. I settled on a TI-something or other, but quickly discovered that since I had access to my laptop, and Excel is used for nearly everything, the fancy calculator was overkill. I recommend that you get a good calculator, with a couple of functions on it, but really, you just need it to do basic stuff. I paid too much for the calculator I got, and if I had to do it over again, I’d get just buy a simple calculator, or better yet, use one I already had.

Third, academic preparation—before you start the program, you’ll receive access to the incoming student website, and there’s a list of reading that’s recommended by faculty members, and the books are helpful. Fuqua’s MBA Ready website also offers in-depth academic preparation, including tutorials. The information is helpful regardless of where you are in the admissions process—whether you’re just thinking about getting an MBA, or you’ve already been accepted. I also highly recommend going to the Accounting and Statistics review sessions that are offered at the beginning of Term 2. They were so helpful for me.

Other than that, just keep up with the pre-reading as it comes, along with life. The pre-reading will be available before each term.