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Learning Overtime

I am not a fan of meetings. This is not a secret; people who work with me are all too familiar with my distaste. It's not that I think all meetings are pointless. But enough of my time -- and my coworkers' time -- has been wasted over the years to have cultivated my general reluctance to meet.

What's worse than a pointless meeting? It's the people who can't seem to get there on time. I once worked for someone who never failed to come late to a meeting -- usually one he insisted on having. We figured it was his attempt to convince everyone of how busy he was. In reality, all it did was further foster my aversion to meetings. Inevitably, of course, those same meetings ran long.

Don't get me wrong: Meetings are a vital part of doing business. However, a failure to keep to the constraints of a set meeting not only exhibits poor time-management skills, but it also points to a general lack of respect for other people's time.

What does this have to do with getting an MBA? Tonight, my economics class ran over. It could have been a lot worse; at the last meeting, the professor warned us that we would stay tonight as long as it took because we were behind -- and the final is next week.

And it isn't the first time we've dealt with this. In the last meeting for a class last session, we stayed more than an hour later than the regularly scheduled class (on a Monday!) to accommodate the assigned group presentations.

Now, of course, I'm not against learning as much as I can, and I know that an MBA program requires a lot of work -- even going above and beyond at times. However, it's rather early in the game to be putting in overtime -- especially when everyone in the class has a job, and most have families.

As I've argued before, an MBA program has as much to do with the balancing act and the networking as it does with economics and organizational behavior. That's why this early trend of running late is so disconcerting to me: There are already enough people in the world who don't respect the time of their colleagues and direct reports. Do we really want to instill it in future leaders as well?

As any of you in school already know, nothing makes you respect time more than trying to balance school, work, and your personal life. So, to have professors hold it in such little regard is disheartening. I'm holding onto the hope that they're still ironing out the kinks in the new program. But I'm also enough of a cynic to know it's possible I'll still be complaining about the same thing this time next year.

What do you think? Have you seen the same thing in your MBA classes, or is this an anomaly? What other, seemingly minor issues in your program drive you insane?

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