1. The New Era MBA

Today was my first day of school.

Today I joined classmates from 180 countries — each logging in, meeting teachers, introducing themselves and reading the class syllabus. What made it different is it was a fully accredited and tuition-free online MBA program via UoPeople.

What also made it different is I’ve already started my week one assignments for two classes, BUS 5110: Managerial Accounting and BUS 5113: Organizational Theory and Behavior, and haven’t actually paid anything yet.

The founder of UoPeople, Shai Reshef, introduces UoPeople like this:

We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just looked at what wasn’t working and used the amazing power of the Internet to get around it. We set out to build a model that will cut down almost entirely the cost of higher education, and that’s how we did it. First, bricks and mortar cost money. Universities have expenses that virtual universities don’t. We don’t need to pass these expenses onto our students. They don’t exist. We also don’t need to worry about capacity. There are no limits of seats in virtual university.Actually, nobody needs to stand at the back of the lecture hall. Textbooks is also something our students don’t need to buy. By using open educational resources and the generosity of professors who are putting their material free and accessible, we don’t need to send our students to buy textbooks. All of our materials come free. Even professors, the most expensive line in any university balance sheet, come free to our students, over 3,000 of them, including presidents, vice chancellors, professors and academic advisors from top universities such as NYU, Yale, Berkeley and Oxford.

I haven’t run into Oxford, but one of my professors is leading the class from Beijing and I just chatted with a classmate in Uzbekistan who has spent 8 years working for the UN, so that’s kinda cool.

Questions welcome. For now, I need to get back to analyzing retail financial statements and explaining the hawthorne effect in organizations. Take it away, Mr. Reshef:

“A new era is coming, an era that will witness the disruption of the higher education model as we know it today, from being a privilege for the few to becoming a basic right, affordable and accessible for all.”


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