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How much effort does an MBA at Sasin take?

Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

Every now and then I receive a question from a reader who wonders how much effort it takes to do the MBA program at Sasin. The thought behind this question is not only that prospective students want to make sure it will not take over their life, but they also wonder if they can plan to do more than just studying in those 2 years.

A question like that is rather hard for me to answer since it depends on a lot of variables; from your background education, your work experience, your study capabilities, how much value you put on getting good grades, to the skills of the people you team up with to make group assignments and how well that team works together.

It took us half a day to agree on who would do what and by when.

Since I have no knowledge about the variables mentioned above I can hardly do a prediction how much time you will spend doing an MBA at Sasin, but I can show some stats of how much time I spend so far on studying. Let me warn you upfront though that while I do tend to get good grades I also have an extensive background in economics (accounting, investing, macro, micro, etc.) and therefore don’t spend much effort on those kind of subjects. In case you are less familiar with this you will probably have to put in a lot more effort.

My habit to record the exact amount of minutes I spend studying per course.

The overview below shows the amount of time I spend during the first year, per course, relative to the average amount of time. All courses in green took me more time than average, while courses in red demanded less than average of my time.

Average time spend per course, in red the courses which took less than average and in green courses that took more than average time. For example; a score of +100% means the time spend outside of the classroom on this course was twice the average amount.

A few things stand out very clear from this overview. First of all the course business strategy took the most effort to complete successfully; by far! Besides coming prepared to class we also had to hand in individual papers, give a presentation, and hand in a group research paper. While the amount of time spend on this course seems gigantic with more than 2.5x average, I must say that I also learned a lot during this course so it might be worth it.

The second and third course that took a lot of time were analytical decision making, which demanded a lot from us during the whole period when we had to hand in group papers, and macroeconomics. The content of the course macroeconomics was not that hard but we spend a lot of time on the group paper that was only a relatively small part of our grade.

On the other side there are the courses that took less time than average. The number of courses on this side is higher than the number of courses that took more than average effort since we have the course business strategy as a clear outlier. The course negotiations was a relatively light one since most of the things were done in class meaning it was quite impossible to spend a lot of time on this course at home, besides reading the book. Next there is sustainability management 2 and the reason I did not spend so much time on this course was that we made very good arrangements with the group who would do what meaning we worked very efficiently. With other group assignments we did earlier this was a lot harder due to time constraints, but for this course we had both Q3.1 and Q3.2. And finally there is the course sustainability management 1 which took even less effort; we had a reader to read, send a tweet each day, and hand in our final reflections on the course in 3 pages.

Relative amount of time spend per quarter (hexamester). The average is 100% (1).

When looking at the effort per period it is clear that Q2.1 and Q3.2 took the most of my time during the year. Q2.1 was the hardest period mainly due to the course business strategy, and the reason Q3.2 took so much effort was because I picked 3 courses instead of 2 like most people did; I can blame nobody for that but me.

Enough studying done for the first year, now its time to sleep till June.

Let me close up with saying that the amount of time spend per course or per period does not say much about the quality of the courses or the amount of things I learned during a course. The courses which I think were most valuable were business strategy, which took a huge amount of effort, and the course managing HR in a global context which took 29% below the average amount of time spend on a course. What it does tell prospective students is that you will, most likely, be able to go through the first quarter without much effort but then it will get very hard for a short period of time. So be prepared when you start your first day at Sasin, you know winter is coming (that is a weak reference to the series “Game of Thrones”).