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An MBA for Free?

Here’s how to earn an MBA for free – if you really want to, that is.

Monique Verduyn

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MBA-graduation

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.

Read Next: 15 Free Online Courses That Are Actually Worth Your Time

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?

Personal MBA BookGuy Kawasaki answered this questions best when he said:

“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:

  • Management
  • Business ethics and leadership
  • Finance
  • Accounting.

Related: 10 Free Online Courses That Can Benefit Every Entrepreneur

Free MBA from Regenesys Business School

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:

Related: 6 Free Online Classes For Digital-Marketing Beginners

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.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

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“Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

Wits Language School

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The Internet is currently abuzz with advertisements for “free” online language courses and online education. While developments in technology have undoubtedly created opportunities for more people to access education, the question still remains as to whether it is actually possible to learn a language solely with the use of an online platform. Whilst there are numerous advantages to using online platforms, there are equally as many disadvantages.

Online platforms are limited in their capacity to support group discussions, as well as the engagement with language facilitators and tutors. Many platforms are also unable to cope with the thousands of students that try to join online discussions. Language learners benefit greatly from human interaction within a classroom. Mark Edmundson (2012), an English professor at the University of Virginia, argued that online education creates a “monologue and not a real dialogue” in the learning environment.

Classroom environments allow learners to express their opinions, participate in debates, and engage in face-to-face interaction with classmates and their instructor.

Related: “Free” Online Courses Versus Interactive Classroom Courses

Language facilitators are responsible for explaining material, answering questions and guiding learning based on students’ needs and language levels in real time. From an online perspective, this resource becomes diluted, as often there exists back and forth communication between the student and the facilitator over an extended period of time. Within a classroom environment, learners are immersed in the language and encouraged to speak. Learning takes place in a pro-active way with a balance of learner-facilitator interaction and group work. Language learners receive undivided attention from the facilitator, and the pace and content of the tuition is thus tailored to the learner accordingly.

Two of the benefits of online courses are that they offer flexibility and convenient accessibility; however, they also require a greater amount of self-discipline, reading and time-management skills. Online courses tend to make it easier to procrastinate and they create a sense of isolation. These elements are not conducive to successful language learning. Motivation levels are likely to decrease when using online platforms, as learners have no real external influences to help keep them motivated and inspired.

The quality and accreditation of online language courses is also a concern to most learners, as many online courses lack valid accreditation and certification. It is crucial to enrol in a course that provides legitimate information and that is accredited with a relevant board or organisation. A course that does not provide valid accreditation will serve no purpose or advantage to the learner.

Wits Language School was established in 1997 and forms part of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the last 19 years, the school has built a reputation for providing high-quality language services and short learning programmes in a dynamic and international learning environment. Wits Language School endorses interactive teaching styles, uses up-to-date teaching methods, and employs experienced and highly qualified teachers who are mother-tongue speakers to assist all participants in their quest to learn a second language.

Online learning should be considered a supplement and extension, rather than a replacement, to traditional classroom learning.

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

Wits Plus

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Vital Stats

Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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Your Investment In Knowledge

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

Wits Plus

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Vital Stats

Most people spend their lives collecting, spending, and worrying about money — so much so, in fact, that they say they “don’t have time” to learn something new.

However, some of smartest and busiest people in the world — Barack Obama, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates — all spend at least one hour a day on deliberate learning. They see what others don’t: That learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. As Benjamin Franklin said long ago, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

One of the very benefits of ongoing technological advances is that it empowers an accelerated and personalised learning experience that puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Modern learning harnesses the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. Online platforms, software and mobile devices means that the traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have just about disappeared. Knowledge can now be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and the commitment to stick with it.

Related: Building Customer Relationships

We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver. Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform all aspects of human capital management, including learning. Technology-enabled learning will be immediate and directly relevant to the task, for example:

  • personally tailored learning content and experiences delivered to you as and when you want or need them
  • chatbots and virtual assistants can source and categorise the information that you need for optimal decision-making
  • augmented and virtual reality simulations can provide a multi-sensory experience to speed up and embed learning.

Additionally, social connectivity already enables user-generated content to outpace and outstrip what traditional education and learning institutions can deliver.

Knowledge may be the new money but, unlike money, you don’t lose it when you use knowledge or give it away. Transferring knowledge anywhere in the world is free and instant. It’s fun to acquire and it makes your brain work better. It helps you think bigger and beyond your circumstances. It puts your life in perspective by essentially helping you live many lives in one life through other people’s experiences and wisdom.

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