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Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

With all courses finished and the last grades dripping in it is now possible to look back at the past 2 years at Sasin doing my MBA and find out how heavy the workload actually was. I did a similar thing earlier at the end of the first year but it is much more interesting now that I also know the exact amount of minutes spent on all the courses I did in the second year.

Let me first say that the average amount of time spent on a course in the second year stayed about equal to the average amount in the first year. The difference is less than an hour so let’s not talk more about that. The result of this is that the second year was a bit lighter than the first year because I did 1 course too many in the first year meaning I could do one course less in the second year. But in general you can expect each year costing you about the same amount of effort and time.

Time spent per quarter. The first quarter I did 3 courses and the last 2 quarters (3.1 and 3.2) I only did 1 course per period.

In the overview below also the relative time spent per course, with all courses I did during my 2 years combined. The heaviest course regarding workload is still Business Strategy and the second place is for M&A. When I go over the list with courses it becomes clear that there is often one deciding factor if a course will be a lot of work or not: group assignments. Since I am normally able to follow everything discussed in class I never need much time to study for exams, and even individual assignments are often easy to do. But as soon as you have to work together with other people it takes a lot of time: sometimes because you put the bar a lot higher than for an individual assignment to not disappoint your team and sometimes because meetings in Thailand can be very inefficient.

Time spent per course during my 2 years at Sasin following their MBA program. Time spent depends on your background, the grade you want, and a significant factor is if there is a group assignment or not (click to enlarge). In blue the first year courses and in green the second year courses.

Again, as I did in the earlier article, I need to point out that the study time was in many cases not related to the amount of insights or useful things you learn.

Let me now pick out some of the course I have done in the past 2 years which I think are very valuable for every future students who has the opportunity to follow them. But keep in mind that I did not sit in on every course and that courses can change over time, even if the professor stays the same.

The course that inspired me the most was by far Managing HR in a global environment with Steven Miranda. A lot of things being discussed in class were directly relevant to my current situation or related to my previous work experience. There were several real eye-openers that I still apply in everyday life which I will not share here since you need to understand the complete context of the course to get the point. Unfortunately Steven Miranda did not teach this year’s MBA class, he did do the EMBA class I believe, so I am not sure if any Sasin MBA student will be able to do this course in the future.

Three other courses stand out in another way: M&A with Eduard Sprokholt, Financial planning and corporate governance with Nandu Nagarajan, and Financial Decisions with Paul Malatesta. These courses are put together very well and were taught by a motivated professor who knows how to use interesting cases to support the points he tries to make or knows how to direct a discussion the right way. My preference for these course might be motivated by the financial concepts they covered, but even with my background I was able to learn a lot of new approaches to financial problems.

The one course that stands out for applicability was DigiMarketing with Ian Fenwick. For me this course was very useful since we based our group assignment on a concept we are actually planning to bring to life. By doing this as a team, following the structure of the course, we ended up with a marketing plan that does not need any more work, besides the implementation. Of course in case you base your group report on something you don’t care about or never plan to do then the course might be a waste of time as the digital world is changing rapidly and what you learn today will be outdated soon.

Finally let me shortly mention the last course I followed: Competitive strategy and industrial structures with Chaim Fershtman. One important lesson from this course was that almost every interaction can be seen as a game, and since he explained that concept I am now beginning to interpret a lot of news I read differently. Especially news surrounding the current political unrest in Thailand can easily be analyzed as a game. Following boring politics became fun again all of a sudden.

Of course everybody experiences each course differently and I did not sit in for a lot of courses as I figured them less interesting for me. So don’t blindly follow what I wrote here, go sit in for a few classes and experience it for yourself before making up your mind if you want to do a course of not.