After American Laurie Pickard worked out what an MBA would cost her at a US business school, she took matters into her own hands and completed her now widely publicised "no-pay MBA" using massive open online courses, or Moocs as they have come to be known, as well as other free or low-cost online resources. Today, there are plenty of ready-packaged, online MBA-style programmes for those lacking time or money for the traditional route. George Washington University in the US and Macquarie University in Australia are among dozens of reputable institutions offering online MBAs. In SA, online programmes have also become part of the MBA "furniture". The problem with online MBAs is that they can’t replicate the "learn how and learn who" of a traditional classroom MBA, says Nicola Kleyn, dean of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs). The "learn what" — the pure knowledge component — is easily obtainable from textbooks or online material, she says. But for ...

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