Online MBAs have become more commonplace, but no one has taken it to the next level like the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s iMBA. This fully accredited degree, delivered through Coursera, is surprisingly affordable at $22,000 and is the first to incorporate MOOC content into a full-fledged graduate business program. We spoke with iMBA alumni to learn what they loved about the program and what challenges they overcame.
The iMBA was born of the Gies College of Business’s mission to “create life-changing access to management education” by leveraging digital learning technologies and embracing its land-grant roots. It offers students an immersive experience that combines face-to-face classes with the flexibility of remote study. The iMBA also helps students develop career-advancing leadership skills in an engaging, collaborative, virtual classroom.
The program’s initial appeal was its low price tag. The tuition bill is far less than an MBA from an elite school, which can cost $200,000 or more. In the first cohort, 54% of graduates earned a promotion or new job, and saw their salaries rise by an average of 21%.
Applicants for the iMBA come from every corner of the world. They have an average of 11 years of work experience and hail from 47 states and 90 countries. This diversity is an enormous benefit of the program, as it provides a wide range of perspectives and experiences.
For prospective students, the application process for the iMBA is relatively straightforward. Applicants are required to submit an online application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Applicants can choose to upload a video interview and answer questions via the platform, which makes the application process more accessible.