I barely made it out alive but I survived our second intensive week! And boy was it intense. We completed 3 courses in 6 days with 1 paper due on the last day. I now have 3 more papers due in the next two weeks and we start our Statistics class on Tuesday morning with the first assignment due on Saturday – eek!
However, even those these sessions are so intense, I do enjoy them. First, it’s a great time to connect with my classmates. Usually during the regular morning classes, it’s hard to interact because everyone usually leaves for work right after class (and not many people come to a 7am class early enough to chat!) I feel that this time around I got to know different classmates better as well as meet other students in separate cohorts that need to make up some of the courses that we were taking. Second, despite the long lectures, it’s a great way to learn. The three courses that we covered (Ethics, Leadership and Managing People in Organizations) really need enough time for class discussion and intensive weeks allow for that. The 2 hour classes on Tuesday or Thursday mornings don’t always allow time for engaging discussions & debates.
Some tips for surviving intensive weeks:
- Prepare in advance – I know that this is obvious but preparing the readings/materials in advance really helps. You’re usually pretty tired at the end of the day so it’s hard to stay awake enough to absorb new material. And most of the classes have participation marks so it really pays to know your stuff and know it well. You will also get more out of the class and have an easier time completing final projects if you are on top of the materials.
- Don’t schedule anything else during the week – if possible, try not to be involved in work and let your friends & family know that you will be unavailable that week. Really you will have very little time to be engaged in other activities. Just because class ends at 5pm doesn’t mean that you are free. You will most likely have group work or cases to prepare for the next day. I was able to really separate myself from work this week which helped a lot. I wasn’t able to do that during our first intensive week in September 2009 and it made things really stressful.
- Locate the nearest Starbucks (or coffee shop of choice) – since class didn’t start until 8:30am, I was able to hang out at the local Starbucks to get mentally prepared for the day ahead. It was actually a very relaxing time and I will miss it. It was also necessary to go mid-day to ensure I had enough caffeine to last me for the next set of lectures as well as form a regular Starbucks run group!
I’ll end off with a couple of photos from this intensive week:
Some of went to an Entrepreneurship 101 event at MaRS Discovery District to hear Michael McCain, President & CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. We studied him in one of our Ethics cases earlier in the week.
And here is possibly the best MBA project team ever: Team Five Alive! As I’ve mentioned before, my project team has been super supportive during my time here and I really enjoy working with them. We don’t always agree on everything but we work well together and have constructive debates. This is us working on our simulation exercise for our Managing People In Organizations course.
Regular classes start up again on Tuesday. It will be tough managing that load plus finishing off the work from this intensive week. I’ll let you know next week how I’m surviving (or not as the case may be).