Touch MBA | Free School Selection Help | Admissions Edge | About | Podcast

Recommended Supply List


Here is my personal recommended supply list:

1. Laptop
Make sure you have Office installed prior to starting - check with your IT department because you may have free access…

Mac or PC? I’d highly recommend getting a PC, but either can work if you know what you are doing. Mac users may experience some difficulties in the data-heavy courses where there is a lot of Excel and there are some functionalities of Excel that just don’t work on Macs. If you absolutely want a Mac, I’d recommend running BootCamp or Parallels to run the PC version and make sure you know how it works prior to starting. As an alternative, you can pick up a chromebook for less than $200 that you can use as your excel machine.

2. USB drive
Get multiple if you can. I’ve lost my thumb drives several times, and it’s super useful to just always have one on you. They will mostly be used for transferring files during group projects and loading up project presentations.

3. Financial Calculator
What model? This really depends on your program - find out what they recommend as the professors will likely be utilizing a specific type. I use the Texas Instruments BA-II and its worked beautifully for me. There’s also an HP model that has been popular in class as well.

Can I use my graphing calculator? Depends on the program/class, but I would highly recommend it. I brought my TI-83+ to several tests and the ability to go back and slightly change a formula is great.

4. Notebooks
There WILL be classes where you will NOT be able to use your laptop to take notes so make sure you have a notebook or loose-leaf pages to take notes on!

5. Folder/Binder
To keep your loose leaf papers, homework assignments, etc. Nobody wants to see wrinkly, folded pages being turned in!

6. Writing utensils
Blue or black pens are a must. No. 2 pencils and erasers for scantron tests and quizzes

7. Highlighters
Can be useful for all your reading…cases and articles…and all that good stuff

8. Backpack
What about a briefcase or large purse? Sometimes you’ll want to carry your laptop, your readers, your notebooks, some extra clothes, or whatever else so it might be nice to have an actual backpack. I have seen people go without one though, it’s just a personal preference. Your program may provide you with lockers to store stuff in as well. Personally I use a messenger bag.

9. Business Clothes
USC is in sunny Southern California, but many of these should still apply to other schools.

Business Formal: I’d suggest 2-3 Business Formal outfits so that you aren’t at the dry cleaner daily.
For guys – suit, dress shirt, tie, belt and dress shoes – keep it to classic colors like navy, black or grey
For girls – pant/skirt suit with jacket, blouse, dress shoes (heels or flat) – keep it classy and in classic colors – formal should be matching top and bottoms

Business Casual:
For guys – pretty much business formal without the tie – you may have a little more leeway with color here but don’t go crazy (ex: tan slacks & navy jacket)
For girls – slacks/skirt with blouse (with sleeves or have a cardigan or jacket) – same thing about color but still don’t go crazy

Dressy Casual:
For guys – nice jeans (no rips or weird patterns or colors), button-up shirt, nice shoes
For girls – nice jeans, pants, or skirt, blouse, cardigan/jacket, nice shoes
Think like… you’re going on a day date…with someone you really like…for the first time!..and maybe you’re meeting their parents?

I highly recommend stashing a Business Casual suit in your locker on campus. You never know when a company or speaker may be on campus that you want to meet to network with.

These are rough guidelines but please think and be aware of who you are meeting when you are making the decision for what to wear! Consider your audience (professors, recruiters, executives, etc.)Always better to be overdressed than underdressed!

Mouse Personal preference, but sometimes working with a touchpad can be so frustrating (Powerpoint!)

Printer You can print on campus since you may have a certain amount of money allotted for printing purposes in your account but sometimes the computer lab can get really busy and plus its expensive when you’re printing color!

Extra phone charger You’ll be on campus a lot, especially in the beginning, and since we all freak out once our battery percentage gets lower than 50%, you might want to keep one handy (in your locker?) to charge your phone during class or study sessions.

Weekly Planner/Calendar
Not necessary but super helpful to keep you organized with coffee chats, informational interviews, events, and everything else that will fill up your schedule. A digital planner works as well – Google Calendar or Outlook – more portable, too!

Again, I don’t know how many people’s lives I’ve saved with this one. I just keep a small one in my bag – great for anything <10 pages
There is a stapler in the computer lab as well for more hefty projects so it isn’t necessary to have one.

I know this is a silly one…of course you all have a jacket of some sort but sometimes certain rooms can get pretty chilly so I highly advise having a nice warm jacket in your locker so you aren’t freezing!

Podcast ideas and unanswered questions

LOVE this post Of b-school essentials…

I cracked up when I saw this. They STILL use scantron quizzes these days?!!


Really REALLY loved this list (being a list fanatic myself hahaha). Thank you for all the tips!