Thursday, May 07, 2015 at 3pm

Illinois Joins Forces with Coursera for Online MBA: MBA News

Online MBA sees UIUC College of Business partner with Coursera

The College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC College of Business) is looking to take a novel approach as it prepares to enter the online MBA market.

This week, approval was granted for UIUC College of Business to launch an online MBA degree in partnership with online education and MOOC platform, Coursera.  All courses required for the new degree, known as the ‘iMBA’, are planned to be made available on Coursera – where students can access them for free.

From there, the idea is that students can pick and choose courses as they go along – with course sequences leading to a Coursera certificate available for free. However, for students to receive an official online MBA qualification from UIUC College of Business, they need to pay admissions and tuition fees totaling roughly US$20k, according to a report in Crain’s Chicago Business. Credits earned on the free platform are designed to offer students building blocks towards a full MBA, in a flexible manner the school refers to as ‘stackability’.

UIUC College of Business offering ‘stackability’

“A student or working professional could sign up for a class in a topic they need right away for their work and keep stacking courses and credits to build toward a full iMBA degree. This is part of what makes stackability possible – each sequence brings together all the pieces of the puzzle in one place,” said Raj Echambadi, a UIUC College of Business professor and associate dean of outreach and engagement.

The concept of building credits towards an eventual MBA, should you wish to progress this far, resembles the approach taken by Peruvian business school, CENTRUM Católica, last year. This was, however, a Spanish-language option and UIUC College of Business says that its new online MBA will be the first online graduate business degree to be offered in partnership with the popular Coursera platform.

The school’s dean, Larry DeBrock, said the move was driven by a desire to mark 100 years since UIUC College of Business’ foundation: 

“We’re entering the online MBA field motivated in part to find new ways to return to the tradition of great public universities making an elite education available to all,” DeBrock said.

The College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s full-time MBA program entered the North American top 30 in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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