Read an article today about new online offering in business education: online MBA degree from Jack Welch Management Institute. The guy has already made a name for himself, even if occasionally in dubious nominations. Nevertheless, he was named the Manager of the Century by Fortune in 1999, and obviously has something to say about business.
Now he is trying to extend his legacy by buying an online outlet for broadcasting his business and probably life philosophy. The article rightfully admits the stigma which is still attached to online education in general, and business online education in particular. Some critics argue that Welch is also carrying stigma for his implementation of the “mean and lean” business approach. What I am wondering is if adding the two stigmas together will actually serve the purpose of de-stigmatizing either one.
About the perception of distance learning. I remember my conversation with a student during my class visit at Evening MBA, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. She got her undegraduate degree from the University of Maryland. Since at that time this was a number one program on my list, I asked why she had not gone to the Smith part-time MBA program. It would seem natural for two reasons: she had already had connection with the University, and, at least by Businessweek rankings, Smith stands much higher than the McDonough MBA. (Even though other rankings put them at about the same position).
What she told me was quite interesting and unexpected for me. She said that she had some acquantainces who got their undegraduate diploma from UMUC (University of Maryland University College) – mostly distance and some evening programs or combination of the two. According to her, they put on their resume in educational credentials – University of Maryland. Which is not the same thing altogether. At any rate she felt that her degree from UMD was somewhat devalued by the fact that other people used it for essentially online degree. Of course, the guys who inconspicuously ommitted part of the name of their school and presented themselves as UMD graduates, instead of UMUC, boosted their degree credentials quite substantially. So she was concerned that the same name interference would happen with the MBA program from the University of Maryland. And it was the reason, at least in part, for her decision to not go back to the University of Maryland for her MBA degree. Incidentally, UMUC also offers online MBA program.
Anyways, just a little insight on the state of online MBA education. Should I mention that part-time MBA is also looked down upon by some from the full-time MBA programs? Well, I probably just need to take the foot out of my mouth and go to bed ;-)