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Don’t Regret It, Plan It

Why would you pay over $4,000 for something you don’t enjoy?  You definitely want to get the best possible education, so why would you settle for anything less than a great experience?  The Quinlan MBA program is built around giving you a diverse experience for your Master’s degree.  Over the past two years, I have successfully planned a curriculum that gave me the best possible experience and will yield two concentrations (while only taking two additional courses).  How did I accomplish this?  I took an active role in planning my curriculum.  With registration for the Fall starting this week, here are a few tips that could help you make better decisions about the courses you take during your time at the Quinlan School of Business.

Plan your curriculum at least two quarters ahead.  Planning like this will force you to think in broader terms and will help you maximize the flexibility built into the Quinlan MBA program.  With the option to choose at least half of your courses, a little planning can go a long way in building the best curriculum for you.

Look through the Student Handbook at all of the course descriptions to find courses that speak to you.  You have the choice for your Core, Concentration, and Global Perspective Courses so why not find the courses that you would enjoy learning about instead of being stuck with what is being offered that quarter.  You might not love every course, but you will have to take a diverse amount of Core Courses.  Maximize the courses you are interested in by creating a short list to ensure you do not miss these courses.

After finding the courses you are most interested in, use LOCUS to scout ahead.  A majority of the Core Courses are not offered every quarter so look in LOCUS to find approximately what quarter they are offered (you can also check with your Academic Adviser about when the course will be offered).  Generally, a course offered in the Fall or Spring will likely be offered that time next year.  Check LOCUS often so you can scout at least two quarters ahead (as mentioned above).

All Core Courses require that you take a prerequisite course.  If you find a Core Class you feel you cannot miss, make sure you know approximately when it will be offered and take the prerequisite course before that quarter comes.  This will help you prepare so you do not miss the courses you really want to take.

You do not have to take every prerequisite before taking a Core Course.  If you focus only on taking all of the prerequisite courses before taking any of the Core Courses, you might miss a course that you really want to take.  I started taking Core Courses and Concentration Courses in my third quarter while attending part-time.  If you have passion for a certain subject, I suggest that you go for it.  Again, if in doubt, meet with your Academic Adviser.

The other advantage about holding off on the prerequisite courses is that they are offered year-round.  If you can’t get into a Core Course due to capacity restraints, you can always count on a course that is offered year-round.  There are many Core Courses that are only offered one quarter each year and with most students graduating in two years, there are limits to the chances of taking one of these courses.  You never know when two of your favorite courses will be offered on the same night of the week.  Minimize the chances of this by taking the courses you are most interested in sooner rather than later.

The last piece of advice I will leave with you is to ask “why” your fellow classmate liked or disliked a course or teacher.  Some students like courses or teachers that challenge them, some do not.  Everyone has an opinion about the courses they take and I would highly recommend digging a little deeper to understand why someone liked or disliked a course before you make up your mind.

I am happy to answer any questions about curriculum planning and I can offer a students’ perspective on how I went about planning my own curriculum.  As I mentioned above, I am going to graduate with a double-concentration in Entrepreneurship and Marketing for my MBA.  I am also willing to share my super-secret curriculum planner that I used to help plan my curriculum over multiple years (this supplemented information from the Academic Advisers).  All you have to do is ask…

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