Free MBA

Cheap MBAs: Costly for some

THERE’S no such thing as a free lunch. That maxim should be ingrained in the minds of business-school students, attuned to the notion of opportunity cost or Milton Friedman’s economic theories. Yet to believe the American non-profit University of the People (UoPeople), run by Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur, something close to a free lunch could soon be available to prospective MBA students. On March 15th the university opened applications for an MBA without tuition fees that it plans to launch in September 2016. That much is admirable, and certainly should be applauded. But don’t prepare to burn Friedman’s 1975 tome yet: there’s still no such thing as a free lunch. One hundred successful applicants will be enrolled onto the 15-month distance-learning course, and will be asked to pay just $200 for each of the 12 courses they will take as part of the programme. That is still a pittance, and a minuscule fraction of the cost of an MBA at the sort of business schools ranked by The Economist. “The cost of an MBA today is so expensive that many people who are qualified to achieve it cannot afford it,” Mr Reshef said when announcing his plans. Certainly, business schools can be rarefied places. So the development of a legitimate MBA at a low cost could be beneficial. Russell Winer, professor of marketing at NYU Stern and the leader of the MBA programme at UoPeople, told The Economist that the establishment can offer a cheaper programme than most by being online-only and lean-staffed. It also has the backing of faculty members from other big business schools, including INSEAD, Wharton and Oxford, all of whom have helped develop the curriculum. And yet the devil is in the detail. Some...

What is a free MBA worth in the marketplace?

Coming soon: a tuition-free MBA. It was announced this week from University of the People, which already offers no-tuition bachelor’s degrees. The idea of its new degree is to extend advancement opportunities to people who can’t afford graduate business education. The question is whether an MBA from an untested new program will be worth their time, as many employers may be skeptical of a new degree from an online program. Tuition alone for an MBA from an elite school typically tops $120,000 over two years. A University of the People graduate will pay only about $2,400 in fees. Expenses stay low through online classes and support from foundations. University president and founder Shai Reshef is realistic when it comes to competing with other business schools. “People who can get into great universities which will cost a great amount of money, if they can do it and afford it, they should do it,” he said. The idea is to create a space where people who could never afford any MBA can pick up skills that’ll advance their careers. University of the People’s program is accredited and professors from top global business schools are supporting it. But despite its credentials, it’s still hard for managers who might hire these graduates to gauge the value of a degree from such a new and unusual program. “I’ll be curious to see how employers look at that,” said Russ Poulin, policy and analysis director at WCET, a nonprofit that tracks online higher education. “It is not a brand that is well known.” The value of the degree could increase over time if the program’s reputation grows. University of the People’s undergrad program has already attracted thousands of students from around the world. Reshef said...

Looking for an Education Bargain? University Offers Tuition-Free MBA...

Getting a master’s degree in business administration can catapult your career. It can also saddle you with serious debt. But students entering Arizona State University’s MBA program in 2016 won’t have to worry about those pesky tuition costs: They’ll get the advanced degree for free. The W.P. Carey business school at ASU has announced a scholarship for “exceptional full-time MBA candidates who exhibit creativity, ingenuity and innate leadership” that will essentially give the entire class a free ride. The business school says it’s hoping to draw a class that’s more economically and demographically diverse. “MBA programs do not have the same type of diversity that you see in undergraduate programs,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the business school. While nearly half of her business undergraduate students are female, “the number drops off precipitously when you think about having to go out into the workforce for another five years, and then quitting and coming back after a two-year full-time MBA,” she said. Image: W.P. Carey business school at Arizona State University The W.P. Carey business school at ASU has announced a scholarship for “exceptional full-time MBA candidates who exhibit creativity, ingenuity and innate leadership” that will essentially give the entire class a free ride. W. P. Carey School of Business The free degree is courtesy of an endowment made by from businessman William Polk Carey in 2003. Until now it had been used to hire faculty, said Hillman. This year ASU’s full-time MBA enrolled 86 students, up from 70 last year, who paid $54,000 in tuition if they were Arizona residents, $87,000 if they moved to the state from elsewhere in the U.S. to go to school and $90,000 if they came from other countries. Hillman said the school is...

Want An MBA For Free? Check Out These Illinois University MOOCs...

Massive Online Open Courses, better known as MOOCs have long been known for their silly name and idealist view on democratizing the college education. This week, one Illinois university gave MOOCs a little bit more cred. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced it would offer all its MBA courses online, for free. That means you can essentially get an MBA from UIUC, ranked in the top 50 nationwide, without paying a dime. Unless you actually want the degree– that will cost you about $20,000, the university said. Regardless, opening up their MBA program as a MOOC is a great way for you to gain a lot of knowledge, on the cheap. And UIUC is not the only Illinois university offering popular online courses for free. Whether you’ve got some extra time on your hands, or are just looking to gain a new skill, MOOCs from a top university can be the way to go. Here are the top MOOCs from universities in Illinois: iMBA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign The flagship University of Illinois school made headlines for offering its MBA program online on Coursera, and rightfully so. Starting in June, MOOC-only students get to sit in on classes such as managerial accounting, and focus on specializations such as Leadership and Management, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. What’s even better is that you can actually get a degree from the university via Coursera, but you will have to be admitted to the certificate program and pay about $1,000 per course. That’s a total of $20,000, which may seem like a lot, but the on-campus price ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. You also get special support from faculty and advisors that students who don’t pay won’t get. Right now UIUC is only...

Mooc Maker To Compete With B-Schools With Tuition-Free Online MBA...

The University of the People – a digital non-profit university – has become the latest tech upstart hoping to disrupt the business education industry. UoPeople is in the process of developing two MBA programs in management and entrepreneurship, to complement its two undergraduate business administration degrees. Not only will they be taught entirely online but they will be offered entirely tuition-free. Other online learning providers have launched a plethora of programs similar to the executive education courses offered by business schools – short customized programs sold to corporations that generate much revenue – but UoPeople is thought to be the first to reveal plans for a full MBA program online, for free. It is collaborating with academics from leading business schools. Roxie Smith, vice president, is developing the MBAs with Russell Winer, a marketing professor at NYU Stern School of Business in the US, along with UoPeople’s board. As well as Russell, other board members include Stephan Chambers, former director of the MBA program at Oxford’s Saïd Business School in the UK. Founded in 2009, UoPeople is one of a cadre of technology organizations, including Coursera, FutureLearn and Udacity, which are encroaching into business schools’ territory with their free business content, often developed by top academics. Known as Moocs, or massive open online courses, these digital programs have been deployed as marketing tools by a legion of universities and their business departments, including Europe’s Henley Business School, HEC Paris and IESE Business School, while elite institutions in the US like Harvard and Wharton have pioneered the concept. UoPeople has grown to have about 2,500 students from more than 150 countries, a third of whom are from the US but many are from the African continent and Middle Eastern region....

MOOC your way to a free MBA?

It has been suggested that, with care and dedication, you can assemble a Masters of Business Administration for free. Perhaps unsurprisingly for those in the know, the idea hasn’t caught on. When leading MBA providers, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, started offering free MOOCs mirroring their MBA content in finance and marketing, the more entrepreneurial among MBA aspirants thought of assembling a collage of such courses to create a DIY MBA. As you might expect, blogs sprouted to update progress. The MBA has been a remarkably resilient academic beast. Most program names and arrangements fall foul of the regular reviews and restructures that sweep through all academic institutions, but the MBA – first offered more than a century ago at Harvard – continues to draw in the crowds. Why do an MBA – the credentialists Having taught MBA students for two decades, I have insights into why students choose the degree, and what they achieve. While the motivations for entering an MBA are varied – they generally coalesce around two core groups. First are the credentialists – drawn by the cache of a degree that is often cited as a gateway to promotion within organisations. For credentialists, MBA programs are still value for money. Generally, a well ranked MBA raises earnings by more than 50%. Even a modest 10% increase in earnings would repay the investment in an MBA in a few short years for most graduates. A key problem for credentialists is that the free MOOC MBA (at least currently) does not lead to any credentials. If the great and good MBA schools have been giving away their content, they have not been giving away their MBAs. Why do an MBA – the transitioners The second...

Can MOOCs Compete With Traditional MBA Programs?...

Companies want employees with the best credentials, which is why professionals in all fields use continuing education to improve their expertise – and their salaries. For senior managers, an MBA has traditionally been a credential that gives them an edge in the jobs market. However, getting an MBA can take time and money, and fewer companies are willing to help fund employees’ education; too often managers get an advanced degree only to leave for a better job elsewhere. Enter the Mooc. Massive open online courses are a relatively new phenomenon, providing distance learning to people interested in specific subjects. Some institutions believe that Moocs are going to change the way we think about business education. This is because they are generally free and open to anyone who is interested in a subject, without pre-qualification. There are currently more than 1,200 Moocs available with an estimated 10 million registered participants. While Moocs are available in diverse subjects, from advanced calculus to opera, they don’t help students earn college credits, at least not yet. Courses are starting to be recognized by educational institutions. The American Council on Education has already approved five Moocs for university credit, although it’s still up to each institution to decide whether or not to accept them. Moocs are being offered by major universities and business schools, and do give students an opportunity to learn from some of the finest educational institutions in the world. Harvard Business School, the Wharton School, and HEC Paris are among the latest institutions to offer Moocs in business, law, and corporate finance. The advocates for free online learning say that Moocs provide an opportunity to those who can’t afford college to get a better education. However, a 2013 study indicates that...

Get an MBA-Equivalent Education with These Free Courses...

Want to learn everything you might in an MBA program—without having to pay for the expensive classes? Online learning hub SlideRule has gathered free online courses from top schools like Wharton and Harvard Business School into a well-rounded curriculum. The MBA Essentials learning path covers six core MBA subjects— Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Operations Management, and Strategy—plus secondary subjects like Data Analysis. For each subject, they picked what they thought were the best available classes from sites like edX and MIT Open Courseware, as well as alternative courses if the first choice isn’t available or for a different perspective. Here’s the methodology behind their curriculum choices…Read the full story at...