Archive for March, 2010

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Last week the Economist published a supplement called “Distance Learning Special 2101: Which MBA?” 

The report, available to download here , (the link sometimes doesn’t get you the whole Pdf, be warned) “rates”, not “ranks” a number of DL programmes. What I quite like about this is first that it doesn’t pretend that you can easily rank programmes such as this (in fact, the whole idea of a ranking is pretty ludicrous when you think about it since it squashes innovation) and instead provides the results of people rating various, fairly sensible, aspects of distance education.

However, since much of the input comes from current students, the problem is that (as any fule ‘kno) if you ask students in the US to rate anything, they will invariably rate it very high, and if you ask anyone in the UK to rate something, centuries of restraint and decorum prevent them from ticking the top box. So there is a correlation between whether the programme listed has a major US influence or component, or whether is has a strong British dimension.  

That said, Henley comes out of it comparable to Warwick and better than OU, Aston, Bradford, Imperial and Royal Holloway (the other UK schools rated). We come nowhere near Florida, IE or Thunderbird. In Florida and IE’s case, closer examination reveals that these are actually much more like our Exec MBA in price, cohort size, length and frequency of campus delivery, so more comparison of “apples” with “oranges”, in my opinion. Florida’s program is unusual in the US market, but would not really be considered a DL programme over here.

 The dark horse is the Euro*MBA, a consortium DL MBA between 6 European schools.  However, even that seems to have a relatively small number of students. Henley, OU and Warwick are the ones which have scaled up and managed to maintain some seriousness. There are a few minor factual errors in the description of our MBA, but I’ve never seen a piece of journalism about Henley that didn’t contain at least one mistake.

As for us, we seem to be rated in the upper “average” band for “Overall”, “Programme Content” and “Effectiveness of Distance Learning elements”, and “Good” in “Quality of fellow students”.


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