From Down Under, A New Online MBA

Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda. Class Central

FULFILLING ‘AN UNMET NEED’

The new degree will be the first offered by Coursera in the Asia-Pacific region. It certainly won’t be the last. Already Coursera has a slate of 12 online degrees planned in business, data science, computer science, public health, and more — adding those elements to a platform that already boasts courses and specializations through partnerships with over 170 universities and industry educators.

“Three hundred million people are entering the workforce in the next 10 years who will all be vying to succeed in a rapidly changing economy,” Jeff Maggioncalda says. “Coursera is working with Macquarie and other leading universities to not only make degrees more accessible but to also be more relevant preparation for the future of work.

“We are thrilled to launch the Global MBA with Macquarie University, our first degree offered by an Australian university and one that we believe fulfills an unmet need in the MBA market today.”

By year three, Snell says, the Macquarie Global MBA should have hundreds of students.

A ‘STACKABLE’ MODEL WITH OPEN COURSES

The Global MBA will feature asynchronous lectures and assignments combined with regular live video sessions with instructors and collaborative group projects. All will be done digitally and “aided by the most advanced technologies that enable seamless communication with instructors and peers,” according to the school. Students can access all of their course material wherever they are on Coursera’s mobile app.

More important in terms of flexibility will be the “stackability” of the degree. Coursera’s model for online degrees gives students the choice of taking as much or as little of a degree as they want — a “stackable” model that allows students to earn certificates as they go through the program and start learning before even submitting a formal application. This means that all courses in the Macquarie Global MBA will be available on Coursera to enroll in as open courses not for credit. Students can choose to take as many open courses as they want and gain individual certificates along the way. In fact, two open courses will launch on September 24: “Know Your People” and “Adapt Your Leadership Style.”

The new degree also has an innovative admissions model enabling people with nontraditional backgrounds who do well in the open courses to be admitted into the degree, Snell says.

A NEW DAY FOR THE DEGREE ‘THAT IS THE MOST TRANSFORMATIONAL’

The business education landscape is changing, and Macquarie and Coursera are anticipating how to change with it.

“It’s not just a matter of offering a whole MBA in terms of its entirety, saying, ‘Look, you can get a whole MBA and that’s going to take you traditionally three or four years, or if you want to accelerate, two years out of your working life,'” Lan Snell says. “Our question was, ‘How can we reissue the model now that is really catered for different needs?’

“This is where the partnership with Coursera comes into play. I do think the next generation has to provide different learning options as a pathway into qualifications or into the degree. So what we’ve done is, we have partnered with one of the world’s leading platforms — it’s the gold standard for online education — and it has a global reach. And that brings up a really important point: Again, when we look at traditional MBAs, they’ve really been designed for the few rather than the many. Not too many people can afford the huge investment that traditionally comes with a MBA.

“And yet it seems to be the degree that is the most transformational. And so our philosophy is to try to democratize business education, or follow a distributive model of business education, as much as we can.”

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