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Rina Raphael, Los Angeles Times
Welcome to the Michael Scott of MBA programs.
“You cannot learn from books,” Michael Scott says in an episode of “The Office” in which he has been invited to give a speech at his employee Ryan Howard’s business school. “Replace these pages with life lessons,” the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton says as he rips out pages of an economics textbook he has borrowed from a student in the audience, “and then you will have a book that is worth its weight in gold.”
ThePowerMBA similarly rejects book learning and says the life lessons its “business program” teaches come directly from the people who have been there, done that:
You won’t learn from academic textbooks, but from the global voices of reference (founders and executives from Youtube, Netflix, Tesla, Airbnb, Red Bull, Airbus…), in a format that fits into your daily life.
That format consists of 15-minute online classes led by business industry leaders such as YouTube cofounder Steve Chen, Netflix cofounder Marc Randolph and Tesla cofounder Martin Eberhard. In addition to convenience, another selling point is the price: $999, which ThePowerMBA notes is a fraction of the cost of attending a traditional business school.
But this is not an apples-to-apples comparison for the main reason that, unlike most of the top-ranked business schools, ThePowerMBA is not accredited. In fact, ThePowerMBA wears its lack of accreditation as a badge of honor:
We are not officially accredited by any institution or government agency. And we are proud of it. We strongly believe that accreditation constrains flexibility, leading to outdated learnings, curricular stagnation and ineffective programs.
However, where ThePowerMBA makes this declaration – in the FAQ section of its website – is telling. If ThePowerMBA were really proud of its lack of accreditation, why not publicize that fact on the homepage where more consumers will see it, instead of tucking it away in a section of the site most consumers will probably never visit?
And make no mistake, ThePowerMBA compares its business program to the very best MBA programs out there. In a video on its homepage, Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup” and an instructor in ThePowerMBA program, says:
We’re coming from an era where this information was held for the exclusive few. If you wanted to get an elite MBA, you had to apply and be accepted. So you’ll be judged, are you worthy of gaining the information? If that sounds kind of like an old-fashioned idea, it is.
Another instructor in the program, Sugarfina cofounder Rosie O’Neill, says in the video:
Personally, I think what you’re doing with ThePowerMBA is even stronger in many cases than what you might experience when you go to a physical business school.
ThePowerMBA says that while its program isn’t accredited, “top companies” like Google and Heineken “have trusted ThePowerMBA to train their teams.” However, that is probably not the only training that they have undergone. And these are people who already have jobs.
Moreover, if your goal is to pursue a graduate program, ThePowerMBA, by virtue of it not being accredited, probably won’t help you get into a program.
Find more of our coverage on education here.
Rina Raphael, Los Angeles Times
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