Bernard Garrette, HEC Paris
On first glance, it could seem that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) pose a substantial threat to the ideal of the culturally and professional Business School, as students now have the option of learning online from their own homes. Indeed, the figures for MOOCs are formidable; with the internet accessible all over, MOOCs attract people from every corner of the globe, creating a diversified student body that is hard to beat at a Business School.
But it is important to note that a Business Education goes far beyond the confines of the classroom; it is an experience, and students’ ability to work alongside their classmates and learn from them – our students are not just from different countries, but different professional backgrounds, too – is crucial.
MOOCs are Business Schools’ best marketing tool
It is perhaps unwise to pit MOOCs and Business Schools in direct competition; rather, it seems that they can each serve as a complement to the other. Indeed, a MOOC could act as a Business School’s best marketing tool, giving prospective students all over the world a taste of the standard of teaching, research and expertise available at the institution, thus serving to consolidate the school’s global reputation both among developed and underdeveloped demographics. This in turn may inspire many to come to the schools themselves and live the whole rounded Business Education experience, even those who previously never would have considered such a step.
It is in this way that perhaps the increase in MOOCs should be seen by Business Schools as an opportunity to expand, rather than a threat to traditional values.
About Bernard Garrette, Associate Dean, in charge of the MBA program at HEC
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Bernard Garrette is a professor of Strategy and Business Policy at HEC Paris. He earned both his Master’s degree (1985) and his Ph.D. (1991) from HEC Paris. He has been serving as Associate Dean, in charge of the MBA program, since January 2011. His research interests focus on international strategic alliances and “Base of the Pyramid” strategies. He has co-authored numerous articles in academic journals (Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Research Policy, California Management Review), as well as several books, including Cooperative Strategy (Wiley, 1999) and Strategor (6th edition, Dunod, 2013), the leading strategic management textbook in French. Bernard Garrette has been a visiting professor at London Business School (1997 and 1999) and at the University of Cambridge (1995-1996).