Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How We Spend Our Time in Business School

London Business School doesn’t tell us how to use the 168 hours in a week; how we spend our time is (mostly) up to us. Based on my first four months here, here’s a rough breakdown of the options:

·Classes: 10 to 17 hours / week. Since some core courses last the entire 10 week term, other classes for 3 to 5 sessions (e.g. Ethics, IT for Business Value, and Strategy Problem Solving), and skills courses just 1 day (e.g. Listening and Observing, Persuading and Influence, Negotiating, Public Speaking), each week’s schedule is different. During a busy week in November, for instance, I had:

o Corporate Finance from 8:15am to 11:00am and Strategy from 3:45pm to 6:30pm on Monday
o Accounting 8:15am to 11:00am, Managerial Economics from 12:45 to 3:30, and Accounting Application from 5:15pm to 7:00pm on Tuesday, and
o Organizational Behavior from 8:15am to 11:00am and IT for Business Value from 12:45pm to 3:30pm on Wednesday.

·Breaks between classes: around 2 hours / week. Our lectures are 2:45 min long with a 15-20 minute break in the middle. I mention this separately because so much of learning – and business – happens in random conversations while on line at an on-campus coffee bar, where you’ll usually find us during these breaks.

·Study group work: 5 to 10 hours / week. We were assigned study groups of 6-7 people that we do all our group assignments with during the 1st year. My group, nicknamed Beauport, has an Aussie corporate lawyer, a Filipina social enterprise manager, an Egyptian consultant, myself (an American consultant and banker), and two Brazilians: an engineer and a private wealth manager. We meet weekly for an hour to plan how we’ll allocate group work, then meet again in smaller groups to execute each project, before coming together (usually over email) to finalize the submission. Beauport has always worked really smoothly together, with complementary skills and work styles. We could probably get our projects done a bit faster if that were the primary goal, for instance by assigning team members experienced with financial modeling to do all the Corporate Finance assignments. But our team’s main objective is to learn and support each others’ learning, so we’ll typically involve at least one person who already understands the material and one who really wants to understand it.

·Homework: 5 to 10 hours / week. Many (though not all) classes at LBS have regular pre-reading and individual assignments. Most of the learning though takes place during the lecture itself or on group projects.

·Sports: up to 7 hours / week. Volleyball teams. Squash lessons. Pilates classes. Running in neighboring Regent’s Park. One of the wonderful things about being a student is being able to do sports on teams, at leisure, and in the middle of the day rather than after an exhausting day of work and before a late dinner (or worse, at 6am!).

·Clubs and Organizations: 10 to 30 hours / week. Planning the inter-stream leap frog competition. Discussing web design for the CleanTech Challenge. Researching UK water policies as part of a joint UCL-London Business School pro bono consulting project. With dozens of active clubs and non-official groups, there’s never a shortage of interesting things to get involved in.

·Competitions: up to 20 hours / week. Competitions range from those like the CleanTech Challenge and the Global Social Venture Competition, where teams submit their own business ideas, to case competitions where a sponsoring company or organization selects a particular case to analyze and present.

·Recruiting: 2 to 30 hours / week. For finance and consulting jobs, networking and company presentations started last term. From January to mid-February their summer internship application process is in full force: researching companies, meeting LBS alumni who work there, writing thank you notes, writing cover letters, polishing resumes, preparing answers to interview questions, studying the industry… For those applying to 10 or 15 firms, recruiting is truly a full time job. Those of us looking for jobs in industry, however, have a longer and less structured recruiting process, mostly through clubs, activities, and our networks.

·Meeting your classmates: 20+ hours. Catching up at the pub, over lunch, in the hallways, with your flatmate, at weekly Sundowners, on the way back from volleyball practice, on your way to the library, at the library, on the night bus after a late night out, waiting in the halls for a presentation: talking with classmates truly is one of the best parts of an MBA, and an activity we all make plenty of time for.

·Sleeping: around 50 hours / week. Because our schedules are so flexible, it’s not hard to stay healthy and well-rested. While there’s more than enough to do to stretch yourself thin, there’s no pressure to do so here. Back in college I recall that we all fell asleep during class sometimes; that almost never happens here. Perhaps after all these years we’ve learned a bit better how to prioritize and manage our own time and resources…

Hope that helps give a feel for the MBA experience. Feel free to email me with any questions at all at

Best of luck,
Liz Aab
MBA 2012 & Forte Fellow
London Business School

Jan 23-27: Kaplan Business School Blueprint 2011 – Register Today

January 23-27, 2011

Join Kaplan GMAT for four 90-minute intensive, live online sessions and one in-person meet-and-greet with alumni. Get advice and strategies from our GMAT and b-school admissions experts–from anywhere you have an internet connection. Then connect in person in one of 15 cities at an informal meet-and-greet with MBA alumni. Decide whether to pursue an MBA; map out the perfect application; assess your resume; scope out GMAT preparation; and meet with alums from top business schools.

Forté is sponsoring the first session on January 23: "Business School – Why and Where to Go"

Visit us online to register any of the four complimentary events in the Business School Blueprint series.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Save the Date - 2011 Forte MBA Women's Conference June 10-11

Registration to open in early March - stay tuned! All women enrolled in a Forte school MBA program, or planning to enroll for Fall 2011, are invited to attend.

Strong leadership doesn’t just happen. It takes gumption and grace to make it to the top. It’s in you. But it means finding your voice, discovering what excites you, and taking the risk to go after what you really want.

Join us for the Forté Foundation’s 2011 MBA Women’s Conference June 10 and 11 in New York City and discover the strategies that will take your career from successful to extraordinary. Uncover what’s holding you back and the keys to unlocking your breakthrough-potential.

- Hear first-hand from some of today’s most remarkable business women about the leadership style and career choices that got them to where they are today

- Learn how to voice your opinion, get your contributions noticed and use self-promotion tactics to keep your career moving to the next level

- Build a network that will both support and inspire you, and gain the preparation you’ll need to lead, make a difference and have an impact

Don't miss a conference that will redefine how you look at power, change your perceptions of extraordinary leadership, and leave you with an anything-is-possible approach to your professional life.

Read and watch highlights from last year's conference.

Return to the Conference webpage in March for more information and to register.

Apply in the Sky | MBA CHALLENGE

Between application fees, test preparation, and travel costs to visit campuses, applying to MBA programs is expensive. But with their first annual MBA CHALLENGE, our friends at Apply in the Sky are giving you the opportunity to win some of it back.

The MBA CHALLENGE is free to enter, and the three winners will receive cash prizes in the amount of $200, $300 and $500 to help offset their admissions costs, or perhaps just to celebrate in style once those admissions letters finally arrive.
Here’s how the contest works:

1.You Like: Join the Apply in the Sky community by “liking” them on Facebook.

2.You Apply: Sign up for a free Apply in the Sky account and use their interface to submit responses to three short questions.

3.They Reward: Apply in the Sky will award cash prizes to the three best responses.
Especially interesting for those of you who have yet to start working on Round 3 applications, the MBA CHALLENGE also gives applicants a chance to try out the Apply in the Sky MBA planner (as featured in TechCrunch and Business Insider), which is a great asset to help you easily manage all your applications across schools.

Check out the contest website for additional information:

The MBA CHALLENGE deadline is January 31st, 2011, and winners will be notified by the end of February. Good luck!