This Wharton MBA Plans His Days Down To The Minute

Day in the Life, Wharton

Photo: Jonathan McEuen

America’s top business schools are filled with students training to be the next generation of CEOs.Jonathan McEuen, a second-year Wharton MBA, pulls 19-hour days, starting his morning at 5 AM and then collapsing at midnight. In addition to attending classes, he’s launching a medical technology startup and is co-president of the Wharton Scotch & Whiskey Club. He schedules his days down to the minute, balancing the demands of school against the rest of his life.

It’s a lot of work, but similar to what students at the other top business schools, including MIT, Columbia and Yale, experience.

To get a glimpse of what life is like for a Wharton MBA, we asked McEuen to take a camera around with him for a day.

5:00 AM: Time to wake up. This is the view from my apartment in centre City. I'm just across the river from campus, so I often bike to school.

I've nailed down a pretty good morning routine. I spend 15 minutes reading news, 30 minutes coding (I'm teaching myself iOS development and web development), 15 minutes reading emails and 30 minutes on coursework.

6:30 AM: Then I head to a spinning class at Body Cycle Studio. I try to exercise 4-5 days a week, on top of biking outside.

8:30 AM: My first stop on campus is the Wharton Venture Initiation Program. I co-founded a health care IT startup, AccessMD, that was selected to be a part of Wharton's incubator program.

The main Wharton building, John M. Huntsman Hall, is filled with 1,200 Ph.D, undergrad and MBA students most days. Everything's here, including my student mailbox, computer labs for simulations, and group study rooms.

11:00 AM: I'm meeting up with my good friend Emily at the local Starbucks to catch up on everything: classes, coursework and how our internships are going.

My first class is Product Development and Design. We're creating business plans and designs for new and disruptive products. But the best part is making 3D models of these products, which we'll prototype with the professor's MakerBot Replicator.

It's insanely crowded on campus, especially on the central pedestrian walkway.

3:00 PM: I'm stopping by the student cafe to meet another co-leader of the Wharton Scotch & Whiskey Club so we can schedule out some events.

4:00 PM: I go through about 50 emails while walking to my next meeting at the Healthcare Management MBA lounge. I join a few others to talk about planning the annual Healthcare Conference. It is entirely student-run, so the work is year-round.

Now it's off to class No. 2 (4:30 – 7:30 PM), which is being led by managers from a consulting company and global investment bank. They're discussing the history of medical devices, including trends in regulation, innovation and emerging markets.

8:00 PM: Finally time to head home via the trolley car system that runs throughout the city. While I tend to prefer my bike, some days a relaxed ride is a welcome break.

8:45 PM: Time for a late dinner! Today I made pizza for a few friends who came by to catch up.

10:00 PM: Now I'm ready to tackle a backlog of emails from recruiters, advisors, other co-founders and friends. I'll also do some assignment work that has piled up over the day. On nights when Wharton is having a major social event, I might be out until 2-3 AM. As you can imagine, this makes for a few red-eyed mornings.

Now see what life is like at Columbia Business School

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