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

A wise person once said “all data should always be graphed, always and forever”. And who am I to argue with this wise person?

As I’m sure you recall, I am tracking the time I’m spending on my MBA program. For science. When we last looked at the data, I had just finished the core part of the program and I was about to embark on the post-core. I had been led to believe that post-core was much more manageable than core and I was eager to explore this hypothesis. Of course, since I never do things simply, I’ve confounded the experiment by not actually following the part-time MBA program’s post-core program as it was laid out, opting instead to swap out some of the courses that I wasn’t particularly interested in with courses that were more relevant to my work. Which means that I haven’t so much tested if post-core is more manageable than core, but rather how my personally-designed post-core compares to core. To further complicate matters, I’ve actually taken significantly more credits than I would have by this point in time than if I were following the regular program. So really, I’m comparing core to my personally-designed, compressed post-core schedule. I’m sure that the peer reviewers of my highly scientific study will have a field day with this1. The most important thing about all of this, though, is that by compressing my schedule, I will be done my MBA by Christmas, instead of next May!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We have gathered here today to examine the beautiful, beautiful data, not to celebrate the light at the end of the increasingly short tunnel2. So, looking at the data from the start of the program (Jan 2012) until the end of August 2013 (which includes all the courses I’ve completed thus far), the number are thus:

Hours spent on homework per week, on average 7.88
Hours spent in class per week, on average3 6.45
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 14.3
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time 1.22

When you break it down to core vs. post core, you get the following:

Core Post-Core
Hours spent on homework per week, on average 7.9 8.1
Hours spent in class per week, on average4 6.8 6.3
Total hours spent on school per week, on average 14.8 14.3
Hours spent on homework per hour of class time 1.2 1.3

While the numbers look pretty similar, remember that I’ve done more modules that I should have at this point. In fact, I’ve completed the equivalent of 15 post-core modules, whereas if I’d been following the part-time program as it has been laid out, I’d only have completed 11 modules5. That’s 36% more modules! So I think it’s fair to say if I were doing the post-core at the normal pace, it would have been much more manageable than core. I think it’s also fair to say that since I was going at core level of intensity (as measured by hours of work) for a year and a half straight, I can really see why I was so burnt out by the time I finally hit my holidays last month!

Now, of course, I’m sure you are dying to see the graphs. Because graphs are the new sexy.

First up, a graph of hours spent in class (red) and hours spent doing homework (blue), per day:

Time spent in MBA - daily totals

You can see that I was in class roughly every third weekend, with a big cluster at the beginning when I had pre-core classes for the first three weekends in January 2013 and then a big gap over that first summer, when we didn’t have classes, but there’s still significant amounts of blue that summer, as I spent the summer working on my business plan with my group. You can also see that I spent 13 hours in class on one day – that was during our capstone weekend, where we had basically one day to come up with a brilliant solution to a problem that a client was having, to which we’d only been introduced the night before. So we spent 13 hours working on it – and not to brag or anything, but my team did win, so it was totally worth it </bragging>. You can also see a thick cluster of classes in July 2013 – that happened because I took two back-to-back EMBA modules – 5 solid days in class!

I also graphed these data as weekly data, and I could identify some specific events (as noted on the graph):

Hours Spent on MBA

So, as with my previous analysis, I conclude that the workload in the post-core is highly variable, just like it was in the core and variability is for suckers. Also, did I mention that I’m going to be done this program by Christmas time???

  1. Thank the FSM that blogs don’t have peer reviewers! []
  2. But seriously, omg, I’m so freaking excited to be mere months away from having a life again!! []
  3. We have class roughly every third weekend, so this is the value when you average that out over the whole time period []
  4. We have class roughly every third weekend, so this is the value when you average that out over the whole time period []
  5. Note that one of the “modules” was our capstone weekend, where we met a “client” and were given an assignment on Friday night and had to present them with a brilliant solution to their problem by Sunday morning. It was EXHAUSTING. []