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Day in the Life at University of Michigan Business School

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

My name is Isabel and welcome to a day in my life as a second year MBA student at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business! Before starting my MBA, I worked in management consulting after having earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature. As an MBA student I specialize in nonprofit and social impact work, which I’ve explored through elective classes, internships, and club activities.

So, what does a day in the life as an MBA student look like? Lets get started!

7:30 am: I try to wake up around 7:30 am every day, but my daily schedule can change depending on the day of the week. I almost always have either class or work calls by 9am each morning, so waking up a little early gives me time to take care of the dog, make some coffee, and do a crossword or read a little before starting my day. I also live with my partner, but his schedule is pretty different from mine, so on days when our mornings start at the same time, we get to spend this time catching up before we both go off to start our full days.

8:30 am: Each Monday I start class at 9:00 am. I live a couple miles south of campus but thankfully there’s a bus stop right by my apartment complex, so I can walk out the door and be on the bus in just a few minutes. I take the 8:30 am bus most mornings and then walk another 15 minutes to class - my full commute takes about 25 minutes from door to door. Because Monday is one of my longest days of the week, I like to get a coffee at our on-campus Starbucks before heading into class.

9:00 am - 12:00 pm: I spend the rest of my morning at my Impact Studio class, a full-semester course focused on building equitable organizations. This semester we’re looking at the restaurant industry specifically and have spent the semester interviewing restaurant owners, exploring innovations in the industry, and designing our own restaurant prototypes. This class is part of the Impact Studio program at Ross which focuses on utilizing design thinking to improve businesses. It’s one of the only programs like it in the country.

12:00 pm - 12:40 pm: After class I have a short break before my next class begins. Outside of class, I also work anywhere from 15-20 hours a week with a couple different nonprofits. It’s common for MBAs to have internship work or other projects going on outside of class. One of my clients has a weekly All-Hands call every Monday at noon so I’ll usually dial into this call as soon as I get out of my first class. I also eat a few snacks that I packed the night before so I can get through my next class without getting too hungry.

12:40 pm - 2:00 pm: At 12:40 I go to my second class of the day: an accounting elective focused on cost management. We spend the majority of class talking through different case examples and brainstorming how to approach different situations as future managers. Almost everyone in the class is a second year MBA like me, so a lot of us know we’re about to graduate and transition back into the workforce where we’ll need these very skills. I have this class every Monday and Wednesday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m in an Economics elective, and I take a Project Management class every Wednesday night to round out my course load.

2:00 pm: After Accounting, I typically have another short break. Usually I’ll pre-book a study room on campus to use for a couple hours before my final class of the day. I’ll eat my lunch, knock out some client work, and then focus on any high priority school assignments. My classes are a combination of independent and group work, so I prioritize group assignments because I know others depend on when I’m able to get my work done. If I have any calls to take as well, I try to schedule them around this time. I’ll typically have a few client and/or groupwork calls each week.

4:00 pm - 4:50 pm: After getting some work done, I head out for my final class of the day: an intro Chinese class! I have Chinese class every day, but the class only lasts for 50 minutes. My MBA program allows students to take classes outside of the business curriculum, which are typically other graduate level courses. However, for learning a foreign language, we’re allowed to join undergraduate classes. This is my second semester of Chinese and it’s been so helpful to take advantage of formal classes through the university. It’s a lot of work, but I’ve learned a ton so far and really enjoy my time in these classes.

5:00 pm: Finally done with classes for the day, I can usually catch the bus home at 5:00 pm. If traffic isn’t too bad, I’ll be back home by 5:20 and ready to get my evening started.

5:15 pm: I’m usually ready to move around a little after sitting in classrooms all day, so I try to get in a workout after class. I’ll usually go for a run around my neighborhood - sometimes I run around campus, the rivers in Ann Arbor, or the university’s Arboretum.

7:00 pm: After a workout and shower, I’m headed straight to the kitchen to make dinner. I love cooking and trying out new recipes so making dinner every night is one of the best parts of my day. Depending on the night, I might also have a group call with classmates or spend some time getting homework done for the next day’s classes. There are also MBA class events almost every night, from guest lecturers to networking events and charity shows, so it’s all about finding a balance between work and fun activities.

9:30 pm: By this point in the night I’m ready to relax. Usually my partner and I will spend some time together catching up on our days and watching some of our favorite shows. After a couple hours, it’s time to head to bed before the next day begins.

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