I am part of the EWMBA Admissions Committee this year. One of the things we do for the Admissions office is to help out on interview days. Several of the current EWMBA students will give tours of the Haas campus, introduce students to professors and answer questions about the program.

The most popular question that is asked by prospective students is, “How much time do you spend on homework?” The simple answer is, “A lot.” Most people want a specific number. I would say that the amount of time you spend on homework is at least 20 – 30 hours a week. But a better answer is to say, “That depends.”

During my first year, there were days in which I went home after class and spent a few hours on a project before going to sleep. Last semester, I rarely went to sleep before 1am.

It also depends on the week. During finals week, the work load will be heavier than at other times. This doesn’t take into account all the things that go on outside of school. Call it Murphy’s Law, but you will invariably have a major work project or other event that coincides with exams and school projects.

Whenever you have midterms/finals/projects for school, one or more of the following events will happen.

  • You will have a presentation before your company’s board of directors.
  • A $10 million deal needs to be closed.
  • You will be audited by the IRS.
  • Your wife will go into labor.
  • You will go into labor.
  • BART will go on strike.
  • A solar flare will erupt and knock out cell phone coverage across the country.
  • You will be pelted with garbage from tree-sitters.
  • A freak accident with an oil tanker will meltdown the 880 overpass.
  • Your histrionics prone coworker will throw the tantrum of the year a half hour before your finals.
  • “Free Tibet” protesters will take over the UC Berkeley campus.
  • You will be attacked by crazed Dave Matthews fans as you drive past the Greek Theatre.

This is not an exhaustive list. Most of these externalities are unavoidable, but you just have to manage things as well as you can. The work/life/school balance is something I’ve yet to achieve.

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