The Seven Year Plan

Monday, March 30, 2015

The maximum amount of time a student can take to complete his or her MBA program is 7 years, but most people graduate in 5 years or fewer. In this blog post, I’d like share why I chose to take the full 7 years to complete my MBA.
The downside of the 7 year plan is obvious to most people. There is a risk of losing momentum, and some people just want to “get it over with.” If you are interested in an on-campus recruiting position or other position that requires an MBA, you cannot apply for those jobs until your last year in the program. 
On the other hand, there are some benefits to being on the 7 year plan. If you want to make a big career change, the Graduate Business Career Center can help you make 2 or 3 smaller career changes during your 7 year MBA that position you even better for the MBA-level job that you want. It’s a longer time horizon, but I would argue that taking baby steps towards the job you want is also a lower-risk strategy. If your company offers tuition reimbursement with an annual cap, staying in the program for a few extra years could mean over $10,000 in additional tuition assistance & tax benefits. By taking fewer courses at once, you have more time to do a good job in each course and earn a higher GPA. And, of course, your family will appreciate it if you are home more and stress less.
There are lots of great groups to get involved with on campus and a variety of events & networking opportunities throughout the year. By lightening your course load, you free up time to take advantage of these services that are included in your tuition. A few examples include:

  • Participate in the Career Summit, a full day career conference for part-time students held on a Saturday in April each year
  • Join the Leadership Advisory Board to make improvements to the MBA program
  • Serve as an Admissions Ambassador and advise prospective students
  • Attend Casual Friday events that feature entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities as speakers
  • Dress up and go to the annual Charity Auction in February, the biggest networking event of the year

These are just a few of the things I’ve had time to get involved in because I was not overwhelmed with schoolwork. While I certainly experience the downside of the 7 year plan, if I could start my MBA again tomorrow, I would still choose to take the full 7 years.