MBAs with a Web 2.0 component are proving popular with IT professionals and are particularly ‘fit for purpose’ during a recession, according to business schools. By Helen Beckett [18/11/2010]
An MBA delivered over the social networking site Facebook has garnered 30,000 sign-ups within two weeks of its launch. The London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) selected Facebook to broaden the appeal of its GlobalMBA, which will be awarded by the University of Wales.
Study for free on Facebook
Students will be able to study for free and will pay only if they want to be formally assessed for an MBA, confirmed Valery Kisilevsky, group managing director at the LSBF. The application allows prospective students to investigate the course through online resources before deciding whether they have the time and money to complete the course.
At Cambridge’s Judge Business School, (JBS) Dr Simon Learmount, director of the fifteen-month-old Executive MBA programme, said the course was launched at a fortuitous time as the economy collapsed. The part-time and Web-supported structure is proving ‘fit for purpose’ for technology professionals who make up more than 10% of the cohort, he said.
One in ten from IT
The Cranfield School of Management said that10% is also a benchmark for the proportion of IT students on its MBA course. Ben Booth, CIO of Ipsos, recommends an MBA is being an excellent way of providing the soft skills essential for performing at CIO level. Booth has an MBA and reckons that the qualification “creates a more rounded person”.
His opinion is confirmed by the JBS experience: “We’ve found that the flexible learning structure has been incredibly well received by IT professionals”, commented Learmount. Two students in the first cohort have senior roles in Citrix and Broadcom. “Both had firsts from Cambridge and PhDs coming out of their ears – but are finding it valuable to study alongside CFOs, marketing directors and from other industries”.
Web 2.0 for collaborative study
The Web 2.0-supported version of the JBS MBA course is designed for candidates successful in a particular discipline who wish to gain broader skills to prepare for senior management. It is appealing to people with big jobs who can’t afford the time and ‘opportunity cost’ to take two years out from their career.
“We’re finding that at this level, it is incredibly important that the Web is used for more than simply accessing course materials or downloads. It’s a place where students can share thinking and collaborate on projects. It is enabling a new kind of learning that is particularly relevant to business schools, rather than ‘one-way’ teaching”, said Learmount.
At the Cranfield School of Management, Séan Rickard, Director of the full-time MBA programme said that pure distance learning courses could not deliver decent MBAs. “An MBA is all about preparing someone for senior management and this is about interaction and people skills and finding about your strengths and weaknesses in this situation.”
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