New Delhi: Coursera, an online learning platform, recently launched a full-time global MBA programme on its platform in collaboration with Australia’s Macquarie University.

The programme targets the workforce in the APAC region and is the first such collaboration with a university in this region.

“This is an innovative, forward-looking programme which borrows from the trends of the future of work and blends the best practices of the future of learning," according to Leonie Tickle, associate dean, learning and teaching, Macquarie University.

The global MBA will be offered through 24 courses across six specialisations, namely, strategizing, leading, analyzing, adapting, influencing and the final capstone project, which integrates the five specializations.

“The value proposition of this programme is flexibility and stackability. Students can pick and choose courses according to his/her interest and convenience and finish at his/her own pace," according to Giovanni Dubois, director, university partnerships, Coursera.

The 24 courses cost $1000 each, taking the cumulative cost of the programme to $24,000, compared to the on-campus programme’s cost of $80,000.

The fastest one can complete the entire programme, i.e. the 24 units across the six specializations stacked as a degree, is one year, though learners can take individual course units according to their pace and needs. There is a teaching schedule of six terms and each course runs for six weeks and learners can club courses or take breaks as and when they like.

The launch of the programme comes in the wake of the changing nature of the labour market. According to Lan Snell, academic programme director, global MBA, there was an urgent need to develop an innovative curriculum, which would anticipate the changing needs of the future workplace where employers were looking for a different set of capabilities than what was currently available.

“Traditional MBA programmes have focused on technical skills like financial management and while those are important, soft skills will become more important in the future and the ability to communicate, to negotiate, to train others, to persuade and to solve problems creatively will be necessary to survive in the market," according to Juliet Bourke, partner, human capital consulting, Deloitte Australia, representing an industry partner of Macquarie University.

However, not all elements of the traditional MBA have been discarded completely.

“The strength of an MBA programme is networking and that’s an element that has been retained in this programme," according to Tickle.

“The disaggregation of a degree programme into byte-sized chunks allows learners not only flexibility, but also eases access for those who may not have the time or money or other resources to access mid-career learning," said Yvonne Breyer, programme director, design and experience, global MBA.

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