Why your business degree is like an app store

Call it democratizing education if you want, but Facebook MBA is going to make a lot of money.

These days volume is everything. It’s not enough to have a great idea, it has to be a great idea with mass-market potential. That’s the entire business model for smartphone apps like Angry Birds. Alone, a $0.99 app isn’t a strong revenue stream. But when it goes viral, and tens of millions of users start to download the product, it becomes a revolution.

That seems to be the idea behind The London School of Business and Finance’s new Facebook MBA initiative.

With the launch of these MBA classes, the school is allowing students anywhere to check out their program, free of charge, on Facebook before deciding to enrol. Essentially, they are letting prospective students take their product for a test drive before any commitment is made.

“It is the first online MBA, which will be free to all until the optional point of assessment for qualification … there will be [hundreds of] hours of free study resources available to all users, including 80 hours of high definition video content. Unlike all other MBAs, no fees will be required up front allowing students to save for exams or to pay when it suits them financially,” states a press release about the program.

Is it the democratization of education? Or is it the mass-marketing of course materials that will draw in millions in revenue once those students decide to become certified?

By making these classes free, the discussions easily accessible and the course materials available for download, the LSBF is doing more to promote mass business education than almost anything to date. And that their certification program is a fraction of the price of Queen’s University or the University of Toronto only amplifies the draw, which are $65,000 and $75,000, respectively.

What young people interested in an MBA will see is free study opportunities with a cheap certification exam at the end of the line.

Just like with apps, while $23,000 per exam isn’t going to cover the cost of preparing the system and running it, getting thousands of more students interested in the program than could possibly fit in lecture halls will solve the problem through simple volume.

Maybe their new slogan should be: “There’s a Facebook page for that.”

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