University of Illinois to Offer All-Online MBA

Posted By Eliana Osborn on May 29, 2015 at 11:05 am
University of Illinois to Offer All-Online MBA

MBA programs were some of the first graduate degrees to offer flexible classes, as target students primarily worked in the field and attended school on the side.  Now, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne is breaking ground with a new MBA program held entirely online.

Coursera, known for vast MOOC (massive open online courses) offerings, will partner with UI for this project.  The University has worked with Coursera in the past developing other MOOCs, so students can expect a fairly smooth process despite the program’s newness.

The benefits of this iMBA program are numerous, starting with cost: the estimated total is near $20,000 for a full degree, instead of $9,000 per semester for part time, face-to-face students.  Flexibility is also key, as the classes will be self-paced.  The eighteen courses are sequenced as specializations, providing a scaffold for learning much like in traditional programs.

If you want to simply take the classes and not get college credit, you can do so for a $79 fee.  To work toward a certified, accredited degree, you’ll need to apply to the college of business specifically for the iMBA program.  For many professionals, getting specialized experience in different fields can be beneficial – even without a degree.  Imagine applying for a job with a resume showing coursework in the particular area a firm is hiring for.

As with all online classes, students need to be realistic about the time and energy expectations involved.  Everyone interested in using the Coursera iMBA offerings must first register with the University of Illinois.  To get a degree, your admission process will involve even more contact with the university,  which should give you an idea of what to expect.

University of Illinois is not the first to offer an MBA entirely online, nor is it the first to work with a MOOC provider like Coursera.  However, it is a well-known brand with a certain cache and academic reputation.  Other distance MBA programs cost upwards of $70,000, making the $20,000 for this program extremely affordable.

For recent graduates and mid-career professionals who are unsure if they are ready to commit to an MBA program, dabbling in the iMBA Coursera offerings might be a smart first step.  There’s just a minimal financial commitment, and you can experiment to see if you have enough interest and dedication to pursue online courses without the traditional college structure.  If all goes well, applying for and continuing the program will be the next logical progression.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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