Articles that mention University of the People

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...