OMBA “Heavy Load” Course Plan
Most OMBA students take one course at a time (each 7-week session) to complete their degree in 24 months. About 15% of OMBA students select the “heavy load” option and take two courses per session to graduate in 12 months.
The image below shows the difference in credits between a heavy load and regular load. With a heavy load, students take a total of 16 graduate credits per semester (8 credits session 1 + 8 credits session 2). For comparison, Boise State University considers 9 credits per semester to be a full-time graduate credit load.
Heavy Load – Thoughts to Consider
- Time Commitment: On average our courses require 20-25 hours per week, so you’ll need at least 40-50 hours of time to devote to your studies if you decide to take two at a time. Those who have the most success with the heavy load option are not overly burdened at work– either working only part time or with a lot of flexibility in their work schedule. People who don’t have many family responsibilities also have an easier time taking two courses. Those who have both demanding jobs and family just don’t sleep very much.
- Time Management: For students selecting the heavy load, things go so quickly that you’ll need to focus primarily on getting assignments completed and then make notes to yourself of what you want to return to in order to learn it better after you’ve completed the program. If you don’t have a lot else going on in your life, you probably will learn as much taking two courses at a time as just one. However, if you don’t have the time to commit to all of the reading and studying, you’ll have to focus on completing the assignments rather than absorbing the material. You might consider scheduling some strategically planned vacation time away from your day job (a day or two at a time to have a few 3 or 4 day weekends in the middle of the courses) during each session in order to devote a few extra full days of studying to try to catch-up and/or get ahead.
- Finances: Workplace tuition reimbursement is often limited on an annual basis, so you’ll want to check how your funding is available (either Calendar Year or Fiscal Year) to see how paying for the courses fits within that schedule. If you plan to use Federal Direct Loans, you are limited to $20,500 per academic year, so completing the degree in twelve months will often leave you quite a bit short. This isn’t a problem if you are funding the degree yourself, or if you plan to use PLUS loans, but you should check with the financial aid office to make sure you qualify for PLUS loans—you may need to pass a credit check, which isn’t required for Direct Loans. Also note that PLUS loans generally carry a higher interest rate.
- Learning Opportunity: The last consideration is how important it is to cut a small amount of time out of the program– it might feel critical now, but in a few years will it really matter if you finished a few months sooner? This is especially true for graduate school, which is quite a bit different than your undergraduate program. Here you may be surprised that the concepts aren’t all that difficult, but the real learning comes from interpreting the material and applying it to your current job. If you rush through, you cut out a lot of that learning opportunity, and whether you finish in one year or two you’ll find you miss the intellectual input once the program is finished.
Still considering the heavy load?
OMBA Advisors recommend taking BUSMBA 500 and 501 by themselves in your first session and then decide if you think you can fit two of those into your schedule; if you feel like you still have a lot of free time you might try two, but if you can’t imagine the doubled-up workload, it is best to go one at a time.
You are encouraged to download the Course Carousel Excel Document to plan your course schedule and see the impact of a heavy load on tuition, workload, etc. Please contact your advisor with questions.