Thanks to the Internet, you can do a complete MBA, using (mostly) free online resources. If you’re looking to up your business skills, that should be music to your ears.
Depending on which business school you choose, MBA fees can range from around R50 000 to R150 000, and can take from one to five years to complete.
Although entrepreneurship is less about education than it is about gut feel, people who run their own also have an appetite for risk – and that’s where the value of formal learning comes in. Education can influence your attitude toward risk by enabling you to understand business better.
Let’s face it, knowing more about strategy, finance and marketing can be useful. If you understand the importance of financial and inventory controls, you can prevent fraud.
Learning about companies that grew too fast and lost control of their finances and the quality of their products may encourage you to move more slowly. You may also benefit from knowing more about human resources and the need for well-designed payment and incentive systems.
These are just a few of the tools you can get from an MBA because it’s a generalist degree, applicable to many business functions.
But do you need an MBA?
“If by education you mean book learning and class attending, then the answer is no. If by education, you mean the totality of experiences in your life, then the answer is yes.”
You may never attend university, he insists, and still be a great entrepreneur – and he should know.
Bestselling author Josh Kaufman agrees. In The Personal MBA, he states his manifesto: the business school MBA is a waste of money, if you want to just learn about business. According to Kaufman, an MBA does not guarantee success in the slightest, and has only one use: An MBA from a top school is a prerequisite for gaining entrance to the upper echelons of the Fortune 50. But it sure comes at a price. Instead, he says you can learn the same principles for a lot less money, just by reading his book.
An MBA for less than a grand?
And then there’s Laurie Pickard (32), who stands to be the first person to structure an MBA programme comprised entirely of free or low-cost online courses accessible to anyone with Internet access. She’s documenting her journey in her blog, The No-Pay MBA. Pickard is taking classes from Harvard, Wharton, Yale and other top-end universities. She’s also doing this while keeping her full-time job as a rural enterprise development and entrepreneurship specialist at USAID, working from Kigali, Rwanda.
A year or two ago this would not have been possible, but the number of top-tier institutions offering free online business courses has exploded. Pickard has chosen to document her journey so that other students can her blog as a resource.
Cleverly, she organised her degree path by themes, with the first semester tackling three topics that are standard in the MBA core curriculum:
- Business ethics and leadership
Free MBA from Regenesys Business School
In a world first, Regenesys Business School, is offering free business education up to an MBA level. The institution is making all learning materials freely available online.
This move allows individuals from anywhere in the world to study on their smartphone, tablet or PC, for free. By registering online, students enjoy unlimited access to these learning materials at no cost. This also allows a student the freedom to complete a qualification module by module according to his/her own time requirements.
“Our goal is to educate one million people in the next three years,” says Brett Cousins, director at Regenesys Business School.
“Regardless of one’s location or financial means, everyone should have access to life-long learning and development opportunities.”
Regenesys Business School on +27(11) 669 5000 or visit www.regenesys.co.za.
But wait, there’s MOOCs
Thanks to the MOOC revolution, you too can get your MBA for nearly free. MOOCs is an acronym for massive open online courses – they can be accessed globally over the internet, and are really flexible.
The options are many, but here is a list of the core MBA courses you should take to give you the knowledge you’d get at university, as well as some of the MOOCs that cover the content:
- Corporate Finance (Ross, Intro To Finance or Wharton, Intro to Corporate Finance)
- Financial Accounting (Wharton, An Introduction To Financial Accounting)
- Economics (Caltech, Principles of Economics With Calculus)
- Business Strategy (Darden, Foundations of Business Strategy)
- Statistical Analysis (Princeton, Statistics I)
- Marketing Principles (Wharton, An Introduction To Marketing)
- Organisational Theory and Behaviour (Stanford, Organisational Analysis)
- Operations Management (Wharton, An Introduction To Operations Management)
The best part? You can learn all these new skills – through the world’s top universities – without quitting your business, or forking out R100 000. Also, MOOCs by their nature are exciting and fun – they’re at the leading edge of online learning, and you can expect to interact with students from around the world. So here’s to lifelong learning.