Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Week In The Life Of An Oxford MBA Student

What exactly do Oxford MBA students do? Do they spend all week at the pub? Or in the Library? I'll answer this with a typical MBA phrase.....'It Depends'. Some people focus on academics and spend most of their extra time doing 'book' related stuff, others focus on sports and are almost always on a boat somewhere, rowing for their colleges or Oxford as an institution. Some recognize the importance of networking and focus on the social side of things. The vast generality of the student population sort of lie in the middle of those three extremes....attend all (most) classes, hand in assignments on time (only just), do all (most) of the pre-assigned readings, attend a couple of parties/balls/dinners a week, attend 2-3 career events a week and listen to a couple of debates at the Oxford Union. 

I would attempt to paint a more explicit picture of life here (admittedly through my somewhat limited perspective) by going through my week thus far and my scheduled activities over the next couple of days;

8-11am: Had breakfast, worked on my part of the Finance 2 assignment, replied emails.
11-1pm: Met up with other members of my Finance 2 group to discuss and agree on answers to the questions.
1 - 5.30pm: Headed to the common room at SBS to work on the financial model for my entrepreneurship project and simultaneously watch Arsenal beat (destroy) our rivals Tottenham 5-2 with fellow Arsenal fans Ananth, Haben and Sreekanth and poor Tottenham fan Monesh. Also caught a glimpse of the penalty shootout victory by Liverpool in the Carling cup final.

6.30-10pm: Entrepreneurship project brainstorming meeting.

10-1am: Sort out dinner, check emails, send emails, check careersconnect (our in house careers portal) for interesting job postings, watch an old episode of two and a half men. 

8.45am-12.15pm: Developing Effective Managers class....I had to do push ups in front of the class to help the professor illustrate a point about obedient staff.

12.30-3pm: Hung around the common room to work on the planning for the forthcoming Private Equity forum and read the cases for the next day's Operations Management class.

3-7pm: Went home to grab lunch and rest for a bit.

7-10.30pm: Entrepreneurship project (EP) brainstorming session.

11-3am: Sort out dinner, check emails, send emails, check  careersconnect for interesting job postings, watch a movie (bad idea...forgot I had a football training session at 7am)

6.30am: Alarm goes off for football training session....I can only lift my hands enough to press the snooze button.
6.45am: Alarm goes off again....snooze (you get the picture...Captain Alejandro won't be happy but....reset alarm to 9am)

10-12am: Head to school for planning meeting for PE Forum and to go over school notes from last week.

12.30-1.15pm: Planning meeting for European finals of the Venture Capital Investment Competition (we would host the finals on March 10th)

1.30-4.45pm: Operations Management lecture

5-7pm: Light research on potential speakers for PE forum

9-12.30am : Dinner with friends (including an alumni from a couple of years ago)...awesome Indian/Malaysian food and lots of wine.

8.45-12.15pm: Finance 2 lecture

12.30-1.30pm: Grab lunch, hang out in common room

1.30-4.45pm: Macro-economics lecture (with the brilliant Oren Sussman)

6-8pm: Operations Management review class....selflessly facilitated by two of my course mates (Wiebke Pahl and Satya Amu)

9pm: Sort out dinner, check emails, send emails, check  careersconnect  for interesting job postings....slept early (about midnight).

9.30-11.30am: PE Forum planning meeting with Faculty adviser

12.30-2pm: PE Forum planning meeting with the school's events co-ordinator....dashed off to catch the last half of a Macro-economics review session facilitated by another brilliant classmate (Bryce Eakin)

2.15-3.30pm: PE Forum planning meeting with a second faculty adviser...

3-6pm: Send emails...Happy hour (all drinks at the school bar at half price) started at 5pm..had a few drinks and had a football team meeting in the common room to plan this weekend's tournament in London. Write this blog post.....

Tomorrow (Friday), I'm scheduled to have an EP Meeting with our supervisor, have a brainstorming session with my other EP group members, be part of a current student panel at the school's open day, have a meeting about a Macro-Economics assignment, be part of a 'town hall' style meeting with my fellow MBA students, and end the day at a friend's flat (a fellow MBA) who just got a grill and wants to host a barbeque. Then of course, I'll head off to London to participate in the LBS Tackle Africa football tournament where we hope to win the cup....

Of course, not all weeks are like this as some have a little more social activity than this week as had. There are also regular dinners (I have one next week), balls and hockey games to watch (Oxford plays Cambridge this weekend with three MBA students part of the team). 

There are also conferences (I am attending the London School of Economics Emerging Markets conference next week).

Juggling all these activities can be tough...but would I have it any other way? You bet I won't.....