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Some say business school is all play and no work, little more than a series of happy hours and C.E.O. guest speakers. Others insist it's the opposite, with long hours spent perfecting cash-flow models and creating business plans.
So what's life really like for a business-school student? The answer, of course, is "it depends."
The student experience is inevitably different for full- or part-time programs; undergraduate, graduate or executive degrees; large or small schools, and urban or rural campuses.
For example, 60% of undergraduate students at NYU's Stern School of Business spend at least one semester abroad; it's about one-third at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Students in the executive M.B.A. program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business meet on alternate weekends, while E.M.B.A. students at nearby University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School can take weeknight classes. And while more than 80% of Harvard Business School students live in campus housing, that figure is closer to 25% for M.B.A. students at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
But even within those individual categories, how much time students spend studying or sleeping, who they socialize with and what extracurricular activities they participate in can vary widely.
In a new online feature, The Wall Street Journal offers a glimpse into a day in the life of three business students in a single course of study. The first installment tracks a recent day for three M.B.A. students from Columbia Business School....