Tom Ryan wants to give more South Africans the opportunity to do an MBA. To do this, Ryan, who co-designed the executive MBA at UCT’s Graduate School of Business, has developed SA’s first low-cost MBA equivalent. Ryan was inspired by the story of an American, Laurie Pickard, who earned her now widely publicised "no-pay MBA" using massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other low-cost online resources. He has partnered with a Cape Town-based nonprofit organisation, Salesian Life Choices, to create a two-year business education for R38,000. This is a fraction of the cost of MBAs offered by Wits, UCT and Stellenbosch — which range from R226,000 to R289,000 — and an even smaller portion of the fees for MBAs at top international business schools, amounting to well in excess of US$100,000. Naturally, Ryan’s low-cost MBA doesn’t come with the same credibility as its higher-education equivalents, and it is not yet accredited within a recognised qualifications framework. But the plan is not ...

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