Michigan Ross has not yet chosen a technology platform for its new program, Hopp says, though they are “in conversations” with Noodle and evaluating other technology providers for best fit. Nor has the school landed on any concentrations to offer, largely because the available electives haven’t been determined. All this will be set “eventually,” Hopp says. Given the timing of the launch, a hookup with 2U, one of the largest online education players, appears unlikely. 2U recently announced that three more business schools plan to launch online MBAs on its technology platform next year, a move that would give the provider a portfolio of 10 different online MBA options by the end of 2019, including the business schools at UNC, Rice and UC-Davis.
“The way we laid out this program is, we made a template for it to grow into. And so concentrations were on the list of things to be built in later, and we know what the areas of concentration that students are most interested in — the trick is to get enough electives and then group them into concentrations,” Hopp says. “We’re not requiring students to take a concentration, we’re simply saying, if you want to follow a career path like this — if you want to go down a marketing, brand management path, for example — here is a set of courses that will support you in achieving that goal.”
‘DILUTING THE BRAND’? NOT BY A LONG SHOT, HOPP SAYS
The idea that Michigan Ross is “diluting its brand” by venturing so strongly into the online space is mostly nonsense, Hopp says. Instead, he says, look at this new program as an investment in innovation and quality — in other words, the future.
“My response is, I’m not worried about diluting our brand, what I would be worried about is if we were worried about it, because it would mean we were not willing to take the risks and take the innovative steps that we need to really push the envelope of business education,” he says. “Twenty-five years ago when we launched MAP, it was the strangest, weirdest thing anybody had done, and if you look at the press that we got on that, other schools said things like, ‘That’s ridiculous, it’s too expensive, it’s too nontraditional, it’s not academic enough,’ and so forth. Now everybody does it. So I think that the same thing is gonna be true here.
“I don’t believe you ever dilute your brand by investing in innovation and quality, and that’s what we’re doing.”