The price tag and exclusivity of earning a degree from a top business school is unlikely to change anytime soon, but in recent years, MBA-quality education has become widely available online—tuition free. Leading the way on this front is the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, launched its first massive open online course (MOOC) in 2012 and has since set itself apart by offering “a taste of academic life at the elite institution” to more than one million participants. For a mere $49 registration fee to use the Coursera platform, anyone with access to a computer can benefit from foundational business curricula taught by Wharton faculty members.
Most other top-ranked schools have been slow to embrace the MOOC model, but Wharton will reportedly expand its online offerings to include 15 different courses by the end of the year. “Giving content away free of charge isn’t cheapening Wharton’s brand,” the school’s administrators say, adding that shifting a large portion of MBA content online “will allow for more immersive, in-person instruction that differentiates the degree program, such as lengthy global trips or independent entrepreneurship study.”