We’ve said a number of times that Spring term is a busy one. 19 credits (which is actually more than 2x normal FT graduate school). Lots of group projects. Group projects are the norm in graduate business school, but in other terms, the sheer amount of group work is much less – and in some class non-existant. Not so with the 2010 spring term. Every one of the four major content classes (History, Law, HR, Finance) have group papers and presentations, in some cases due weekly. Plus, there’s all that reading to do.
So how do we handle it? It’s clearly possible – this Saturday marks the end of the 8 weeks. So, I have a few suggestions about how reduce the stress, and make it though with a smile on your face. These are useful for any MIM term, but I think they are especially important for the spring.
1. Choose a regular time to meet with each of your groups – and stick to it. In the history class, we had group case studies (or a presentation) due on a weekly basis. For my group, we decided to meet on Monday evenings to discuss the case. We’d figure out a strategy for the actual writing/editing as well (there is much more to say about group writing, and I’ll adress it on another entry). We always knew when we were meeting, and it helped structure my week.
2. Prioritize your reading on a weekly basis. I was less successful at this one. My schedule gave me three days with only 2 total hours of class time. I thought it would give me tons of time to read. But the trade off was that Thursday-Saturday were chock full of class. It was challenging to my readings for Saturday’s class in mind on Monday or Tuesday, but that was when I had the most time to do them.
3. Start big projects early. This was really helpful for my HR group. We have to turn in a 15-page paper about human resource management issues in Brazil, with a recommendation about establishing R&D operations there. It’s an incredibly complex issue requiring lots of research. Split among 4 people, it isn’t really all that difficult – it’s quite manageable actually. My group started meeting in the 3rd or 4th week to get the ball rolling for the final paper that is due this Friday (week 8). It has really helped take the stress out of this assignment!
One of the greatest side effects of the MIM is the chance to really learn some great time management skills. If this isn’t one of your strong areas – it will be at the end!