Thursday, December 12, 2013

How do online courses compare with a full time MBA?

MOOCs are in vogue and they are catching on, even if in a small way. One important question is : do they pose a serious challenge to the high-profile, full MBA programs? The answer would determine how the great names in management education need to respond.

Philips Delves- Broughton, himself an MBA from Harvard and author of a best-selling book on his experience there, sat in on some MOOC management courses to check them out. His experiences, he says, were mixed.

What struck me immediately is that the free online MBA is still in its Precambrian stage. What few courses there are range wildly in quality. Open, online learning offers a dif­fer­ent set of opportunities and challenges to classroom teaching. And clearly not all universities or professors know what to do about it. Some are simply dumping their classroom lectures and course materials online. Others are really engaging with the vast new audiences out there.

The more important point is that, to my knowledge, none of the better-known schools is offering the entire suite of MBA courses online. They have a sample or teasers. It would appear that the intent is to market themselves, not to educate people without cost. (Why would they want to do that? It would seriously threaten their business model). What we need is a good quality online that is reasonably priced, say,  a fourth of the price of an IIM MBA or around Rs 3 lakh. Are there any out there?

I would go along with a point the author makes. It's not necessary to match the quality of the top schools. Just offer something that's reasonably good and at a very low price- or completely free. That would not unsettle the top schools but it would provide enough to get people jobs.

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