Quite expectedly, the intensive week was top of mind for many EMBA 27 colleagues. The two-day Friday and Saturday lecture days were intense enough.
Our deliverables – as they would say in the corporate world – comprised assignments and classwork with very steep deadlines. As assignment/ classwork which we ought to have put to practice two weeks earlier was sent just 24 hours before the class. We also had several cases to analyse. We however had our groups to leverage.
At the start of the programme, I wondered how I was going to cope. Since I was lodged very near the school for the intensive week, I had planned to use the travel time I would save by not going to the office to catch up with my studies. The various assignments and class exercises due during the intensive week put paid to that plan.
Most nights, we met as a group online. Due to various conflicting schedules, we usually met late. We were also expected to be in class at 9 am. I slept off in some of the meetings, while in others I stayed awake. But the number of hours of sleep I got was cut short. It was at the point of checking out that room I was lodged in that I realized I did not switch on the TV set throughout my four-day stay.
I often wondered how other colleagues coped, and I asked for any formula to circumvent the school pressure. The answer was the same. Almost everyone was in dire straits. No one had it easy. An aspect of life suffered. That any EMBA 27 student would have a social life was a foregone conclusion. That aspect is gone with the wind, at least for the next 2 years.
Almost everyone had to struggle as schoolwork seriously competed with the day job, be it for those in employment or the self-employed. We had reached, or almost passed our breaking point.
And so it was that we met with the Dean of the LBS. And perhaps what she had expected would be a tete-a-tete turned out to be an avenue through which we poured out our hearts.
As lofty as the idea of getting an executive MBA from the LBS may have seemed to the spouses of some candidates at the beginning of the programme, many of them had started to revolt against the idea because of the strain and the amount of time that had to be committed. This view was expected by many of the cohorts.
A programme that was meant to be part-time was actually full-time. The only difference was that lectures did not hold every day. And the assignments came in torrents, with barely enough time to devote the needed attention to completing the tasks. Every student was suffering severe burnout. It appeared the lecturers did not take cognizance of the fact that we had other courses. About three colleagues had also deferred due to the workload.
There was also the issue of the closure of the school at certain times of the day. Many students would love to study in school, away from the distractions of the outside world. The school ought to be a haven that would aid in the completion of assignments and tasks, either working individually or in groups. The programme, as it was currently structured, appeared not to be working for the majority of the class.
The Dean then reiterated the intensity of the programme. She said many of the faculty members, just like the students, had to forego their social life. She also said adjusting was not going to be easy, but that it would get better with time. She also pledged to have a word with some of her colleagues to see how the workload could be adjusted to make studying a bit more pleasurable.
We are waiting with bated breaths for the adjustments.