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

Since the core part of my MBA program is complete, I figured it was time to check in on my “time spent” data. When last I looked1, I had been spending, on average, 17.7 hrs per week on school (including both time in class and time on homework), with a 0.87 hrs of homework per hour of class. Since then, we had the summer off from classes, but I kept clocking homework time as we worked on our business plan project during the summer. Then we had some more classes (and, of course, homework) in the fall.

Now that the core is complete, the data show:

Hours spent on homework per week, on average 7.9
Hours spent in class per week, on average2 6.663
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 14.6
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time 1.2

So, on average, I’ve spent ~15 hrs per week working on my program4, which is at the low end of the estimate I was given when I spoke to some program alumni before I started the program. It’s an insane amount of time, to be sure – it equates to about 2 extra workdays per week, so it’s like I’ve been working 7 days per week for the past 44 weeks5 – but no pain, no gain, right? I ended up getting a good mark for the core6 – and more importantly, I learned a ton of stuff.

Now, no data analysis is complete without some beautiful graphs, right?

Homework & In Class Hours - Total for Core

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 and then a big gap over the summer, when we didn’t have classes. Blue bars represent time spent doing homework, which you can see varies a lot from day-to-day.

Since I didn’t really see a pattern in the daily data, I tried graphing it as weekly data, but didn’t see a pattern there either – though I could identifying some specific events (as noted on the graph):

Time Spent on MBA - By Week

Conclusion: workload for the program is highly variable. Variability, as I learned in Supply Chain Management class, is hard to manage. My stress level and rampant weight gain over the core program agree7!

Tonight we start our first two post-core modules for the MBA – Business Stats and Business Economics.

We’ve been told that the post-core is much more manageable than the core. Will this turn out to be true? Only time – and the data – will tell.

  1. Back in July. []
  2. We have class roughly every third weekend, so this is the value when you average that out over the whole time period []
  3. Tee hee! []
  4. This is on top of my 37.5 hr workweek. Plus on top of teaching time from January-April, when I was teaching my stats class. It also doesn’t cover travel time, unless I spent said travel time doing homework – e.g., reading a textbook on the Skytrain. []
  5. On average. Weeks with class it’s more, weeks without class it’s a bit less. []
  6. The core program is counted as a single 18 credit “course”, so we only get one mark for the whole 10 months. []
  7. In fairness, after deciding to re-balance my life a bit by prioritizing physically activity – wherein I mean actually doing some rather than none and paying more attention to what I’m eating, I have actually managed to lose a few of the 15 lbs I gained since starting the MBA! []

4 Responses to How Many Hours Does One Spend on Homework in a Part-time MBA Program? An Update!

  1. Michelle says:

    just curious — did you include commuting time in this? I think it needs to be factored in as part of time spent on the program for it to paint a proper picture about what the MBA did to your life!

  2. Beth says:

    No, it doesn’t (see footnote 4). I was just tracking time I was actively working. Perhaps I should do another graph that includes travel time too!

  3. Michelle says:

    yes, I see it now, plain as day! Must be the small font size or something…

    I think another graph is most definitely in order. I love your graphs! That has to add at least an extra 5 hours a week to the equation.

  4. Beth says:

    LOL! Nah, they are quick and easy to do. I use Time Edition to track my time with a click of a button and then import the data to Excel to make the graphs. Easy as pie!

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