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6 MBA Students Reveal What It's Really Like Studying At Business School

When does an MBA student wake up in the morning? How much does the MBA lifestyle cost? Business school students around the world describe a day in the life of an MBA

Mon Jun 22 2020

BusinessBecause

An MBA is the world's most popular graduate management degree, but what is life really like at the world’s best business schools? Is it all spreadsheets and pesky finance classes, or do MBAs have fun too?

To find out, we spoke to six MBA students around the world, studying at six very different business schools. 

Read on to find out what it’s really like to study for the three-letter credential.


1. Barbara Sanches, EMLYON Business School

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What is a typical week’s academic schedule like for you?

Well, the international MBA program can be divided into two parts, general courses and elective courses.

So, for the first half of the MBA, a week's schedule would be classes from 8am to 5pm, almost every day (sometimes even Saturday). It is indeed full time. There are many group projects and presentations. This makes the first six months really intense.

For the second half, it will depend on the courses you choose—for me, I had the whole month of May free to dedicate to personal projects, for example. Remember that you can choose a minimum of 10 electives and you won't know the schedule until after Jan/Feb. Since we also have the Entrepreneurial Leadership project, we can use the spare time to meet with team members and do fieldwork.

How much free time do you get and what do you typically do with it?

During the courses, we have most of our weekends fully free. In the beginning, since it was the most intensive part of the program, we usually used the weekends to work on assignments, rest from the heavy schedule, and also go out with MBA colleagues to get to know them. We also have a Christmas/New Years break, around 15 days of rest at the end of the year—I managed to go back home in Brazil for Christmas last year.

What’s the best and worst thing about MBA life?

The worst thing is the intensive schedule at the beginning. We needed to be very organised in order to keep everything going in that period. Sleepless nights and an empty fridge were a constant part of my schedule as well! It’s not all bad—the best part is the experience itself. Most of the cohort is in their late 20s/early 30s and it is a journey of discovery for everyone—about who we are, where we are going, and what we came here to do, so to experience that in that group was incredible.

How much does an MBA lifestyle cost?

You can find rooms for about $500 to $700 in Lyon. It depends on the location. The closer you get to the city center, more expensive it will be. I used to live pretty well on $1100/month (including rent, groceries, and other expenses).


2. Brady Dearden, London Business School

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What is a typical week’s academic schedule like for you?

As a second-year MBA student at London Business School, my typical week is composed of two or three half-day classes. Adding to my coursework, I am involved in the leadership of two school clubs—Military in Business as well as Tech & Media. Last year, I worked during spring-term as an intern with a cybersecurity startup in Canary Wharf. This term, I am working on my own startup idea. Fingers crossed!  

How much free time do you get and what do you typically do with it?

I love London Business School for many reasons, two of which are the school’s flexibility and its location. The terms are designed so students can take maximum advantage of academic learning while also balancing club and work opportunities. This means that there are some weeks where I have less free time than I would like and there are some weeks where I have an opportunity to freely research in areas that interest me, such as organizational behavior and leadership. I try and keep the weekends free so that I can enjoy one of my other reasons for choosing LBS: living in and exploring London.

What’s the best and worst thing about MBA life?

The best thing about life at London Business School is definitely the people. I couldn’t ask for a better community in terms of students, faculty, and alumni. Not only is the LBS community quite cosmopolitan in terms of its geographies and perspectives, but the people you meet in class and around the campus are kind, outgoing, and interested in helping one another. It’s a tremendous culture.

I can think of two things that are tough about MBA life: one is early morning examinations! The other tough aspect is that sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to take advantage of everything LBS has to offer. 

How much does an MBA lifestyle cost?

The cost of an MBA lifestyle can vary widely. I think it has a lot to do with the diverse backgrounds and career choices of the students. For instance, some students come to LBS married, some have children, and some are single. The school also provides many scholarships, which benefit students in a variety of ways. Of course, whatever your ambition, you will want to take full advantage of the London social scene.


Read on for more MBA student stories on page 2


Student Reviews

emlyon business school

Student

Verified

4/12/2023

On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.

Student

Verified

18/03/2023

On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends

Student

Verified

23/11/2021

On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.

Fabian

Verified

7/06/2020

MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.

Student

Verified

14/10/2018

Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.

Student

Verified

9/06/2020

Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.

Student

Verified

21/11/2022

On Campus

Entrepreneurship

Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.

Student

Verified

25/05/2020

Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.

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