MBAs on Coursera: One New, One Milestone

The second MOOC-based MBA comes to the Coursera platform, as the first graduates its student cohort.

IN AUGUST, the Macquerie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, announced it would offer a new Global MBA exclusively on Coursera, the online platform that delivers education via massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The first cohort will begin the program in May 2019.

The MGSM’s 24-course Global MBA will develop students’ capabilities across six areas: leading, strategizing, analyzing, influencing, adapting, and problem solving. Its curriculum follows a “stackable credential” model, in which students earn certificates as they progress through the program.

The curriculum features asynchronous lectures and assignments; live video sessions with instructors; and group projects, which globally distributed student teams will complete using digital communication platforms. All courses are open to those who wish to take them for free without receiving course credits.

On average, Gies College's iMBA students are 37 years old with 12 years of work experience.

Those who wish to earn the degree must apply and be admitted under MGSM’s normal admission criteria. Nontraditional students who do well in certificate programs could be admitted into the degree program. Tuition and fees for the program are set at AUD$33,000 (approximately US$23,300).

Macquarie’s Global MBA joins one other open-course MBA on the Coursera platform, the iMBA offered by the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Gies College launched the iMBA on Coursera in January 2016. The program graduated its first cohort of 76 students this May, making the college one of the first business schools to take an MBA cohort entirely through the program using Coursera’s MOOC platform.

Any student can take an iMBA course, also offered in a stackable format, to try out the program for free; those who wish to continue the experience can then apply to the full program. The college now has more than 1,100 students enrolled in its iMBA.

With total tuition set at US$22,000, the iMBA is an affordable, flexible option for students prevented from enrolling in traditional programs because of barriers such as high cost, family commitments, or distance from campus. Larry DeBrock, a professor of finance and economics who teaches a live video class session each week in the iMBA program, explains that the course format relies heavily on prepping all material in advance, so that he is not simply delivering lectures. “Instead,” says DeBrock, “we may start an economic markets class looking at a sea of faces telling us what gas prices are in their city. It’s relevant, real-time learning created by real-world conditions.”