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An MBA Alternative: Taking Business Classes Online

Updated on October 25, 2012
Continually learning is necessary in today's society. However, earning an extra diploma may not be what you need - consider an online alternative.
Continually learning is necessary in today's society. However, earning an extra diploma may not be what you need - consider an online alternative. | Source

It seem that the MBA is fast becoming a near necessity in today's world of business. With the college degree equivalent to the high school diploma of a century ago, those who want to distinguish themselves feel as if receiving further education is their only option for success. The MBA appears to be one of the quickest, easiest ways to do this - which is why 25% of graduate students are studying a master's in business administration.

While the MBA is certainly a valuable tool for many, it is not for everyone. Sadly, like most education today, the focus of many MBA programs (and students) is to receive a diploma rather than an education. Although many valuable skills can be obtained through MBA classes, the primary reason that people study towards a business graduate degree is for the leg up that the diploma provides.

Employers are beginning to recognize this. Years of schooling do not ensure that someone is set to lead, provide vision, and take action. The extra schooling actually suggests that someone is willing to sit patiently, follow the rules, and do what they are told. While this is helpful in some ventures, most employers are looking for innovative people who are able to make things happen.

Additionally, the MBA is primarily for those who desire to work their way up the corporate ladder. Meanwhile, people who are more interested in becoming entrepreneurs by starting their own businesses will seldom receive the needed skills through taking an MBA. In fact, the amount of money spent on the MBA may be just what an entrepreneur needs to make her idea a success.

So what do you do? For those who care more about the education than the degree, what is an alternative to the MBA?

Taking classes online - but not traditional classes.

Would you take classes that wouldn't provide you with a diploma?

See results

The Future of Education

The world of education is slowly beginning to change. The old, tried and true methods of education that have been around since the beginning of time are having their significance questioned in this new era.

Education has been formatted to create people who are able to follow rules, fit in to society, and zone out while doing repetitive tasks. This worked in the age of assembly lines. This does not work today.

As business, society, and experiences continue to become globalized, a new type of education is needed to help both businesses and individuals survive. It is no longer necessary (or possible) to memorize everything that is required to be successful in ones field. With the large number of books, websites, and ideas on every topic, continually changing, it is impossible to know everything. What is needed now are people who can continually learn.

Hence the change in education. Khan Academy was one of the first big players in the arena of new education. The group is currently studying effective ways of using technology to enhance the educational process for youth.

Now, however, there is an incredible platform for students and educators that allows for valuable learning about topics when needed, as needed.

My Rating of Udemy as an MBA Alternative

3 stars for Udemy

The 3 star rating is because Udemy does not provide any type of degree or certification. While learning for the sake of learning is incredibly valuable for hobbyists and entrepreneurs, it is not as helpful as a degree to those who need to find an employer. If Udemy, or another such website, provided a similar system while awarding certificates of completion for fulfilling certain requirements, I would award it 5 stars. (That's a business idea for all you entrepreneurs out there).

Udemy: The New Kid on the Block

As I write this article, Udemy has under 1 million members, making it relatively undiscovered compared to many larger websites. However, this new website is going to be another big player in the world of new education.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online education platform where a student can sign up for individual classes on virtually anything - from Yoga, to WordPress creation, to business plan writing. Udemy allows students to sign up for the classes they want and provides a valuable way to gain the knowledge one needs. This system encourages people to study to learn rather than study to earn a degree.

The Udemy educational structure is based on a variety of platforms with videos, pictures, slides, documents, and audio - virtually anything can be learned via this online school.

Currently classes range from free to several hundred dollars. Once a class is accessed, it is accessible by the student indefinitely - providing the opportunity to come back to the information time and time again.

Udemy: A Money Making Opportunity

For those who have knowledge that they would like to share, Udemy is an incredible tool. Anyone can create a class and offer it to the Udemy community. When a student signs up for the class, the instructor receives the class fees (less 15% for Udemy - a very modest commission).

In other words, anyone can now start making money from being an instructor. If you have the ability to inspire, motivate, and educate, Udemy may be a perfect arena for you to make a living while doing what you love.

Try Udemy for Yourself

Udemy has courses on virtually everything. Some cost money. Others are free.

In fact, you can get online and take a class from Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook), for completely free! And there are plenty of other lectures from other talented and successful individuals available through Udemy as well.

Whether you are interested in learning how to take your career or business to the next level, or whether you would just like to get some extra exercise or learn about ancient Europe, Udemy provides a valuable, effective, and selective way to do this.

As a student who loves learning but hates the classroom, I am excited to see website like Udemy developing and growing. I am confident that education may finally start catching up to the world of business in creativity, innovation, and customer satisfaction.


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    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      You got me hooked, Robert. I'll definitely be checking this out. Thanks for letting us know!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Thanks rfmoran! I am glad that you enjoyed the article. I will have to look at some of your articles about potential alternatives. It is certainly great to find creative ways to learn the skills necessary to succeed in today's society.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran - The Write Stuff 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      This is a great heads up about something that can benefit everybody. I've written about online alternatives to the traditional classroom, some of which award degrees. Coursera and the Kahn Academy, as featured on 60 Minutes are two of the larger ones, and the offerings are free. Interesting that you can teach a course on Udemy. Voted up and useful and interesting