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How Many Hours Does One Spend on Homework in a Part-time MBA Program?

Before I started the MBA, I talked to some alumni about what the program entailed. And one of the things that came up in these conversations was the amount of time they spent on homework. Most people estimated it to be around 15-20 hrs per week (remember, this is on top of a full-time job). Naturally, once I started the program, I wanted to see how I compared to this. So I’ve been tracking my time using a little program called “Time Edition1, which is basically a stop watch where you can associate specific projects with the time and it keeps track of it all for you in a handy dandy database2. Specifically, I’ve been tracking time spent in class and time spent on homework (e.g., solo studying and assignment writing, writing take home exams, group meetings and study groups). And, naturally, you are dying to know my results3, yes?

Hours spent on homework per week, on average 8.22
Hours spent in class per week, on average4 9.48
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 17.70
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time 0.87

So, I figure this is pretty interesting, right? My amount of time spent is in-line with the 15-20 hours per week, assuming that the people I talked to were including in-class hours in that number, which, to be honest, I can’t remember if they were. I have vague recollections of some people saying that it was 15-20 hours of homework per week in addition to class time and others saying it was 15-20 hours including class time – but it all seems so long ago now5, it’s hard to remember! At any rate, it means that doing the part-time MBA program is really like having a 0.5 job on top of my full time job.

Not satisfied to just have averages and ratios, though, having all these hot data points in my hands made me want more. Specifically – a graph. It took some wrangling, since the data as exported from Time Edition didn’t want to play nicely, but with some Excel-lent6 help from Dr. Dan, who managed to bend the data to my will so I could make this graph showing the hours spent on homework and in class over the first 5 months of the program:

Homework & In Class Hours

The red bars represent time spent in class, which you can see occurs roughly every third weekend, with a big cluster at the beginning when I had pre-core classes for the first three weekends in January. Blue bars represent time spent doing homework, which you can see varies a lot from day-to-day.

I should also point out that, with this amount of time being put into my school, I’m doing pretty well. I can’t tell you my exact GPA at this point, as we only get one mark for the entire 10 months of the core program and the formula to determine that grade from the 11 subjects, 2 major projects, case memos, participation, and integrated exam we have is more complicated than finding the Higgs boson7. But I can tell you that of all the things we’ve had graded so far, the vast majority have been in the 80s or 90s8. More importantly, I’ve learned an insane amount of things, many of which are useful to me professionally and some of which I can see being useful personally9

So, at this point, I think that the amount of time, which kind of insane, has been well worth it, given how much I’ve gotten out of it. I have another blog posting brewing in my brain about all the stuff I’ve been learning, but I shall have to leave that for another day!

  1. As per usu, I have no affiliation with Time Edition; sadly, they aren’t giving me copious piles of money to plug them. []
  2. You can also associate specific “customers”, since this is really meant to be a way to track projects that are billing someone for. If only! []
  3. Note: these are the results from the start of pre-core in January until the end of the last class in June. I’ve done more stuff since then, as we do have project work and assignments in the summer, but haven’t included those data in this analysis. []
  4. We have class roughly every third weekend, so this is the value when you average that out over the whole time period []
  5. It was only in November. []
  6. Excel-lent. *snicker*. I crack me up! []
  7. Oh yeah, I went there. []
  8. But I can also tell you that that seems to be true of virtually everyone I’ve talked to about grades. []
  9. Such as being able to read – and understand – a company’s financials before choosing to buy stocks in said company. []

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