Alumni Application Tips: prepare for the workload

July 13, 2021

The hard work of an MBA according to Attila Gombos

Who would have thought it: Thanks to my MBA, I have not only a degree in business and economics but inevitably also expert time management skills. Joking aside, if you are considering doing an MBA degree, be sure not to underestimate the considerable workload you will have to cope with in addition to your professional and family commitments.

No pain, no gain
Upon taking a first quick look at the curriculum, do not be misled by the fact that you will need to spend "just" four days a month in class. The actual workload involved in earning the required ECTS credits is a lot more than that: Two weeks before the start of a module, you will be expected to spend about twenty hours working on "pre-module assignments" such as homework, group discussions or presentations. Completing the "post-module assignments" will require you to put in approximately the same number of hours. You should not underestimate the time it takes to get things organized, particularly when doing group work with international colleagues: Arranging and holding a long Skype meeting with Michael in the UK, Nadja in Russia and Tom in the USA can be quite challenging.

As a rule, MBA programs include study trips and company visits. These, too, are time-consuming and, just like any other module, require plenty of preparatory and follow-up work. But it goes without saying that getting to know faraway places, gaining exciting insights into foreign markets and having the opportunity to exchange views and opinions with leading local entrepreneurs is a rewarding experience and well worth the effort.

Your efforts will pay dividends
There is no magic formula for coping with the MBA workload. Some of my colleagues were particularly busy studying on the weekends; others set some time aside for working on assignments every night. The key to success is to be consistent in your approach and develop good study habits—those who thought they could get everything done at the last minute were definitely struggling the most.

Studying for an MBA degree will, of course, have an impact not only on your own daily routine. Hence, I would strongly recommend that you involve your family/partner in the process of crafting a strategy for coping with the workload. Doing the planning together helps avoid a lot of anger and frustration down the road.

And last but not least: When the going gets tough, remember that your efforts will pay dividends in the end: After 16 months, you can take pride in your stamina and reap the rewards of your hard work.

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