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A Day in the Life of a Business School Student

Business school interview invitations have already been or are being sent for many anxious candidates, many of whom reside on our fair island. In recognition of the excitement for the lucky few who are now so close to earning that letter of admission to the MBA program of their dreams, I am sharing a glimpse into the life of a business school student, courtesy of one on my good friends who graduated from the institution near Morningside Heights on 116th & Broadway (i.e. Columbia University).

Day in the Life of a Business School Student (Photo: iStockphoto)

A random Tuesday in the Fall Term, Second Year

Get woken up by alarm, push last night’s Super Taco wrappers from bedside table, decide to sleep in for another 30.

Fall out of bed, jump in shower, first class starts promptly at 8:15, Earnings Quality (read: More Accounting). Yay.

Walk to the 1 Train station on 50th and Broadway (I live in Midtown West, a 10-Year New Yorker who got to stay in-state for b-school).

Get to campus, run up the stairs on the side past the main gates on 116th & Broadway and get to Uris Hall.

Class starts, laptops out. Wi-Fi disabled, for obvious reasons, but texting between key individuals in the room begins in earnest. I like this class but I need to multi-task.

Class ends, 10 minute break. Next class starts at 10:15, Debt Capital Markets. This class is actually interesting. We are in the middle of the term, reviewing duration, convexity, yield curve flips, etc. I actually like this stuff but feel woefully inadequate sitting next to the former Morgan Stanley trader who lived this material in her sleep—why are is she in this class?

Class ends, time to eat lunch. Hamilton Deli time. Walk over with five buddies from my cluster also taking DCM with me.

1:15 pm
Last class of the day. Yes that’s right my Tuesday ends at 3pm. In the afternoon. And the topic of this class – Top Management Processes, aka the best class this school has to offer. I had to use all of my bidding points to earn a spot. Officially in love with business school again.

Class and my “official” work day is over. Time to start planning Happy Hour, Columbia’s time-honored tradition- turning Uris Hall into Marquee in its prime every Thursday night.

Meet the Events Committee Chair and co-Happy Hour organizer. Decide to talk about the plan for Thursday over a beer. Head over to Café Havana. Make the phone calls to get 25 kegs ordered on time for Happy Hour Thursday that starts at 5pm after classes end. I love this tradition (and so does the rest of the class!)

Think about hitting the gym, but wait, I had a beer. I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.

Head back down to midtown to take care of tomorrow’s homework/reading, think about where to go out tonight. Business school is the greatest two-year vacation educated man ever created. I am going out (again) on a Tuesday. This is where all of the valuable network skills get sharpened like a knife.

Reply to the Recruiter at J.P. Morgan to ask about the deadline on when I need to commit. I interned there last summer after my first year and I’m considering exploring options, but honestly, I’m going to join J.P.

Get ready to go out.

Quick dinner via Seamless. Chicken sandwich and an Italian salad from Ray’s.

Head back uptown. Gin Mill. Half of my cluster already there. They have beer pong in the back, and they’re already two pitchers in.

Leave Gin Mill.

Head home. Think about where do go out tomorrow night, after class ends at 2 pm.

1:45 am

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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