Articles from BBC

Forget the MBA

When Luis Ochoa wanted to make the leap from investment banking analyst to corporate strategist, he didn’t follow the usual path of getting a master’s of business administration degree. Instead, the Stanford University graduate took a few free strategy and financial accounting classes on Coursera, one of the major providers of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which have grown in popularity globally over the past few years. “I gained a foundation with those courses that helped me transition into corporate strategy” at Oppenheimer Funds, the 29-year-old New Yorker said. “Now, I’m not interested in an MBA because I’m where I want to be.” Like Ochoa, a growing number of people are hoping MOOCs will be a ticket to a new job or promotion —without the cost and time required to secure a traditional university degree. The challenge is to increase employers’ awareness and appreciation of the value of online courses. “We still get questions from companies about how good MOOCs are, but we’re finding that businesses are more and more willing to consider them to help fill skill gaps,” said Sebastian Thrun, chief executive of the MOOC platform Udacity, based in Mountain View, California. “For some jobs, companies are looking for specific credentials that MOOCs can provide, and not necessarily a degree.” For some jobs, companies are looking for specific credentials that MOOCs can provide, and not necessarily a degree. — Sebastian Thrun A Bainbridge Strategy Consulting study of US human-resource professionals found that only about a third were aware of MOOCs, while about half of the managers and directors in a global survey by CarringtonCrisp said they are “uncertain of what a MOOC offers.” “There’s a generation gap between those doing recruiting and the younger people taking...

What makes a global top 10 university?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in first place in the latest league table of the world’s best universities. It’s the third year in a row that the US university, famous for its science and technology research, has been top of the QS World University Rankings. Another science-based university, Imperial College London, is in joint second place along with Cambridge University. Behind these in fourth place is Harvard University, the world’s wealthiest university. And two more UK universities share joint fifth place, University College London and Oxford. With King’s College London in 16th place, it means that London has three institutions in the top 20. Edinburgh University is joint 17th and there are two Swiss institutions, ETH Zurich and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in this top tier. But US universities are still in the majority, taking 11 of the places in the top 20. Even though some university leaders might be sceptical about such rankings, they will all be sharply aware of their significance. Mike Nicholson, Oxford University’s head of admissions, says: “It’s fair to say that it would be a foolish university that did not pay close attention to how league tables are constructed.”. Read full story by Sean Coughlan at...