A week in the life of the MAM student

Michael Gritzbach (MAM2021) holds a Bachelors in Management, Philosophy & Economics from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. He is now studying the Masters in Analytics and Management at London Business School and is a Yenching Scholar in Economics and International Relations at Peking University. At LBS, he serves as president of the Music Club, Executive Committee member of the Entrepreneurship Club, and as a Communications Officer at the Student Association.

Before joining LBS, Michael spent parts of his studies at Columbia University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg. 

He has been part of the board of the NGO “Ueber den Tellerrand kochen” supporting the integration of refugees in Germany and is actively involved with the NGOs “Hauz Hayag” and “Plan International” focusing on education for girls in East and South East Asia. Currently, he is part of a micro think tank in Germany, working with leading science communicators like Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen Kim to improve the future of science.

Recently, junior bankers at a famous investment bank made headlines by demanding an 80-hour work-week instead of the 120 hours they often had to work at that point. I remember that I smiled when I read this, thinking back to the second quarter of the MAM, when my study time was fluctuating around 100-110 hours per week as well. For those who shockingly reconsider their interest at this point, I should probably mention that I was neither the best example nor that my weeks looked like this for the whole programme. But what does a normal week look like? Well, let’s start from the beginning! 

The workload for MAM students normally starts high, increases until the Winter break, and gradually decreases after Christmas, until it becomes almost non-existing in spring. This has a lot to do with the structure of the programme and recruiting circles. While international and UK applications for banking and consulting often happen between September and December, many unstructured, tech, and startup recruiting processes start in January and can take until summer. This can be further influenced by the country you want to work in (Germany for example, does not take consulting applications more than 6 months before entry). At the same time, students are expected to learn coding and machine learning until they start tech recruiting in spring, so they are able to survive and excel in code-related assessments.  

For an average MAM student, who wants to write more As than Bs and who is not an experienced coder or fluent in R, the four quarters (not the same as the 4 terms) could look like this: 

Ein Bild, das Text enthält.

Automatisch generierte Beschreibung

The graphic above can be used as a very basic orientation, although the choice of elective courses can change the work distribution. It is, for example, possible to have practically no work besides the LondonLab project in Quarter 4. Also, if you have coding and STEM experience, these numbers might decrease by up to 40%.  

So how come in my case up to 110 hours per week were possible? Partly, this was related to two external factors such as work with a think tank, writing my graduate thesis for a first master’s programme, and to one very important internal factor; The LBS social environment. Although LBS has a high standing as a research university, the two points that set it apart from its competitors are its community and, often overlapping, its career network. Over the year at LBS, networking and activities were a major part of our week. Over the first weeks at LBS, you normally decide which clubs to join and if you want to apply for their leadership board (ExCo). Over the next months, these clubs, together with the Career Centre and the school itself, organise a wide range of social and career events with speakers, social dinners, international trips, or night outs in London. At some point, this might even get overwhelming when there are three or more events on the same day and all are interesting. It becomes a hard choice where to go. On the other hand, if you decided to join the ExCo of a club, you will work with your team to plan and moderate all these events. This can account for 3 to 6 hours per week of additional work. Altogether, although there are only 3 to 4 days of class per week in the first two quarters and sometimes less than two days of class in the third and fourth quarter, a normal week of a MAM student can be very full and demanding. But how does it normally look? 

As mentioned before, not every weekday does have classes. Between one and four days a week, we join lectures learning to code, understand market principles, machine learning, and how to present analytics results effectively. Unfortunately for the night owls among the MAMs, these classes often start at 8:15 in the morning and are structured in 3-hour blocks. The last ones normally end around 7.  In the evening, you either work on projects or meet for drinks in one of London’s parks, pubs, or at your classmates’ apartments.  

So, with all the social activities, the career events, classes, projects, and assignments, how do you master the path to become a data scientist? The magic key for most of us is teamwork. The diversity of backgrounds in the MAM programme leads to extremely different levels of knowledge in various fields. This, on the other hand, leads to the opportunity to learn from classmates as much as from professors. Looking at my own year, most of my classmates would probably agree that our academic success was strongly affected by our class representatives (especially Marco Laube and Selin Beijersbergen). Also, our study groups and exchange between them has proven to be an extremely valuable help. The two most important things we learned are that it is important to ask for help (if you work on a line of code and cannot solve it for 15 minutes, start asking friends or the Professor) and that an early understanding of R will save you from panic attacks, frustrating all-nighters, and the tempting wish to throw your computer out of the window once a week. At least until they switch the programme to Python. One bright and happy day in the future.

Interested in applying for the MAM? Send us your CV for a chat about your eligibility.

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