Being a business school student can at times be a pretty tiring experience. In the beginning students are excited, so they stay as busy as they can for as long as they can. In the winter quarter, you work hard, in hopes to land your dream during recruiting season. And in the spring quarter, you want to enjoy the new-found sunny weather and take part in all the activities on campus before the year is over. In the process, most students also get pretty tired during the year, so, I’ve dedicated a quick post to discussing how exhausting the first year of business school can be. This post comes as a continuation of the post I wrote, called Happiness During First Year of Business School.
The fact that people get tired in business school is certainly not a surprise. After all, the hours are long. The work can be tedious. And the number of activities can at times feel overwhelming, In hindsight, I think one of the reasons people get tired is due to taking on too much too soon. Without actually knowing how busy business school will be, students become over-committed very early on, singing up for activities and clubs and gong to a lot of corporate presentations. This becomes especially apparent during the recruiting season, when you need every extra minute you can find, but often times you can’t find one.
One way that people start to overcome the tiredness is by learning how to say no. You realize that you don’t have to take part in every activity. That you can’t go to every social event. That you don’t have to get every answer to every problem correct. And at some point, the 80/20 rule starts to make a lot more sense, because using it helps you to manage your time and your fatigue levels a lot better.
So, without further ado, below I’ve made a “Tiredness” Graph. Note that this graph is not reflective of every student’s experience. In fact, it isn’t even a reflection of my own experience per se. Rather, it’s simply meant to highlight the trend of tiredness levels of the average MBA student, not only at Kellogg but at many top schools. Especially those that operate under the quarter system.
A few pieces of analysis
1. More important than if the actual levels are all reflective of your experience is the idea that the tiredness levels trend downward. I think this correct, as over the course of the year, students get better at prioritizing, at saying no, and frankly at taking on less activities.
2. I also think it’s important to see that most students start out pretty tired. For JD-MBAs this is especially true given we’re taking final exams, recruiting at law firms, moving to Evanston, and going on KWEST all at the same time, right before CIM starts. But even for 2 year MBA students, KWEST and CIM are enough to exhaust you right from the outset.
3. Transitions also prove to be the most tiring parts of Kellogg. Transitioning from summer finals to KWEST/CIM (for JD-MBAs), from CIM to classes, from Ski Trip to winter quarter, and from GIM back to spring quarter are all tiring moments during the first year.
4. Constant fatigue also looks to be the norm. Even though there are a number of points where fatigue levels are low, there are significantly more points where they are high. Likewise, the average number is always closer to seven than it is to any other number. Everything I know suggests that this is done purposefully by MBA programs.
In the end, it would have been interesting to do something similar in law school. I suspect there would have been three differences. (1) One, that the average level of tiredness would have been higher. (2) Two that there would have been more consistent tiredness levels rather than peaks and valleys. (3) And three, that tiredness would have trended upward as pressure mounted more and more toward the end of the long semester. Not that this should come as a surprise. After all, law school is often considered to be the most grueling year in any graduate school.
Stay tuned as I plan to continue the series on future posts.
* Have something to add? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas.