The Subscription-Based MBA

By Aarthi Rayapura July 21, 2014

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The MBA program of the future might consist of 10 months on campus followed by a lifetime subscription of proprietary online courses.

 That’s the compelling thesis of a new paper from two professors at the Wharton Business school, recently highlighted by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Much of today’s MBA experience could be summarized as two years of friendly networking coupled with some ostensibly useful coursework (this was an interesting topic of discussion at the Subscribed ’14 Conference!).

 The networking pays dividends, but the learning tends to fade.

What happens when an MBA who is ten years into the workforce gets promoted and suddenly needs to brush up on an established skill-set, like mergers and acquisitions?

Or what happens if they need to research material on a subject matter that was missing entirely from their MBA program ten years ago, like say, relevant financial metrics for recurring revenue models?

Lots of frantic googling.

As the Wharton paper notes, “The current pattern is learn-learn-learn-certify-wait-wait-wait-deploy.”

What if instead they could take a short and succinct  online course through their business school? A course that they’ve already paid for, because they’re still actually enrolled?

Now the pattern becomes “learn-certify-deploy, learn-certify-deploy.”

It’s an intriguing idea that also happens to be the Subscription Experience exemplified: a personalized, instantly accessible service offering the latest available research and functionality.

It places the emphasis on ongoing, applied intelligence versus a quick two years and a diploma. Recurring value versus a one-time transaction.

You could also argue that this model makes a better networking platform than the current system. Students still get their quality time on campus, but ongoing proximity to the knowledge platform helps them connect easier with both alums and alma mater.

We’re helping lots of online education firms like Lynda.Com and Kaplan innovate the professional learning space with flexible online coursework that’s as interesting as it is applicable.

Now it looks like the big business schools are starting to think beyond MOOCs.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Online Learning Rocks