EMBA vs MBA: The Best Degree for Your Growth

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There are hundreds of business degree programs offered globally. Navigating the business school landscape is challenging. There are tons of options.

This article will put you on the right path. 

At Quantic School of Business and Technology, we understand how big this decision is. After all, picking the right MBA or Executive MBA will propel your career forward

To help equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision, we’ve developed  a program comparison guide. 

Use it as a tool to determine which program is best suited to your unique situation and desired career outcomes. 

MBA Programs

MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs are most commonly suited to those with less work experience — often, those who have recently graduated. These are people who require more introductory courses in business administration. 

Therefore, MBA candidates are commonly required to maintain a heavier workload and a more demanding schedule during their full-time studies. 

By working on a full-time schedule, MBA programs tend to offer more freedom within the denser school schedule. For instance, selecting electives or choosing a subject specialization or “track.” (Although this is not entirely uncharacteristic of Executive MBA programs, it’s rarer.)

EMBA Programs

Executive MBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) programs are developed with working professionals in mind. Those who want to keep working full time, while advancing their skills.

This is frequently done on a part-time basis. Some schools offer specializations in industries like healthcare and technology; the Quantic Executive MBA’s award-winning curriculum offers elective specializations in management, leadership, entrepreneurship and advanced strategy.

MBA and EMBA Statistics

A good approach to researching which type of program is right for you is by looking at MBA and Executive MBA programs by the numbers—or in business terms, through a cost-benefit analysis. 

Cost of an MBA vs. an EMBA

Approaching your selection of a program through a financial lens is one of the most common methods of analysis. Pursuing  an MBA or Executive MBA costs time and money — it’s a commitment that’s worth taking the time to think about in-depth. 

The key lies in determining which type of program is best suited for where you are in your career, and which stands to be of most benefit to you in terms of career growth. one major difference between Executive MBA and MBA programs is the format of their delivery and associated costs. 

Executive MBA programs, mostly delivered part time, allow students to keep their jobs. This means that Executive MBA candidates can bring in a steady income while they study, thus increasing the ROI of their EMBA degree by reducing its overall cost. 

MBA programs, on the other hand, are most commonly delivered in a full-time format, requiring candidates to put income-earning on hold. They may also require students to incur additional living costs (like room and board), if they have to relocate to pursue the degree. 

Average Age

Executive MBA programs typically attract more mature professionals (with the average EMBA applicant age being 38), with greater work experience. They have competitive résumés and are poised to move into more senior leadership roles with their current employer, change industries, or perhaps, branch out on their own to start a new company. 

MBA applicants, by contrast, tend to be younger (with the average MBA applicant age being 28) and have their applications reviewed on the basis of academic credentials. That said, many programs, including Quantic’s MBA, value unique and sometimes less traditional backgrounds. 

With either program, there are always outliers so one of the most useful ways to determine which program is best for you, is to consider the kind of peers you stand to gain. Will learning alongside those who are just starting out in their careers challenge you? Will you be able to contribute to your cohort in a way that’s valuable and challenges others? These are the types of questions that can help you choose a program that stands to benefit you the most.

Work Experience

Each type of program is delivered with a unique purpose and student needs in mind. 

Executive MBA candidates often compete for admission on the basis of their work experience rather than academic scores. And they are typically required to apply with a minimum of five years’ work experience (though their average work experience is 14 years) and demonstrated managerial or leadership roles. 

MBA applicants, on the other hand, typically compete on their GMAT and academic credentials, as well as their work experience to-date. Quantic’s MBA and Executive MBA, however, do not require students take the GMAT. Both programs require a bachelor’s degree. 

Program Duration

How long an MBA takes to complete depends on the type of program you choose. Executive MBA programs are typically part-time programs that run on weekends and weeknights and vary in duration (between 18 and 24 months, though some take as few as 12 months, like the Quantic Executive MBA); more traditional MBA programs, by comparison, usually take more time, often requiring 4 semesters of full-time study (following a typical university schedule), amounting to two years total (24 months). 

Some online MBA programs are shorter; for instance, the Quantic MBA takes 10 months to complete. Though, this is not an indication of a lighter curriculum — Quantic’s program length is a direct result of its proprietary pedagogy that uses Active Learning to teach. They’ve done away with time-consuming lectures entirely and deliver content via fast-paced, interactive, and personalized modules. Plus, shorter programs  mean you can start earning faster. Quantic’s MBA also has the added benefit of a built-in career network, too, so you’re likely to put your skills to use immediately.

Fees

Whether you choose a traditional MBA or Executive MBA program, the cost of tuition, plus any additional expenses, tends to be substantial. 

As per EMBAC’s 2019 Membership Program Survey, the average executive EMBA cost runs at just under $83,000 (US), though higher tuition costs are not uncommon; many ranked MBA and EMBA programs’ tuition can easily exceed $100,000, and the most prestigious business schools can cost double that (upwards of $200,000). 

MBA programs, on the other hand, while costing somewhat less in tuition (on average $60,000), quickly add up in day-to-day living costs that aren’t offset until graduates return to regular employment. 

Quantic offer’s a hyper-competitive free MBA. How is it free? Tuition is subsidized by the built-in career network, Smartly Talent. Employers pay to recruit from the school’s high-caliber student and alumni network, thus, shifting the burden of tuition costs from student to employer. The Executive MBA, while not free, is just 5% the cost of a traditional program. 

Company Sponsorship

Another stark contrast between the two program formats is funding. 

It’s far more common for Executive MBA candidates to be funded by their employers, while MBAs are typically self-funded. 

This creates a landscape in which MBA students often have more options for applying for scholarship funding, should they invest their time in this additional research and application process. 

It should be stated, though, that over the years schools have begun  to offer more Executive MBA scholarships in response to a changing trend whereby EMBAs are seeing less employer sponsorship and need to be self-funded. Quantic’s Executive MBA offers candidates pathways and resources for employer-funded tuition reimbursement. 

And of course, even for students who are company-funded, conditions may apply, such as requiring that Executive MBA graduates complete a term of employment with the sponsoring company after graduation. Additionally, most require that the school is accredited (Quantic is accredited).

Lifestyle

A student’s lifestyle is heavily influenced by the program they choose to undertake. 

Since Executive MBA candidates tend to have significant and continual work obligations alongside their academic pursuits, course schedules will typically run outside the usual 9-to-5, during what many working professionals consider to be their leisure or personal/family time. This, of course, will also have significant social implications—although course attendance and networking with their newfound community can help fill that social gap. The latter is true for MBA candidates too, who will undoubtedly spend much more time in person with classmates, whether in the classroom, in the library or at networking and MBA events on evenings and weekends.

Because Quantic’s programs are entirely online, it enables both Executive MBA and MBA students to learn on their own schedule, with most students spending between 5-15 hours a week on course work. And with group projects, virtual classrooms for discussion and debate, and optional in-person meet-ups and conferences, there are plenty of opportunities for networking and connecting with fellow peers.

Executive MBA Benefits

Learning Experience

The “E” in EMBA often has prospective students mistaking the EMBA as a more “elite” form of study in comparison to the “more basic” MBA program.

The reality is the two programs are simply designed to suit different kinds of students. They offer different curricula and educational experiences. While much of the core curriculum is shared between the MBA and EMBA, Executive MBAs offer more in the way of advanced courses in C-level management, strategy, and leadership.

MBA programs tend to include more introductory courses for those with less managerial experience with the option to specialize in more focused courses, similar to those seen in an EMBA curriculum. 

Due to constraints on EMBA candidates’ schedules, EMBA programs also offer more classes on the weekends, on some weeknights, and in more condensed formats. 

This results in a program that tends to offer fewer elective options than a typical MBA. However, EMBA cohorts tend to have students from all kinds of backgrounds who bring different experiences, perspectives, and knowledge to the table, which massively enhances the learning experience in its own unique way

Salary Increase?

A Master in Business Administration program offers candidates significant monetary returns upon graduation. 

While salary increases vary by candidate and industry, according to the 2019 Executive MBA Council Survey, EMBA graduates saw an average salary boost of 13.5%. 

While this number is lower compared to MBAs (who by virtue of being younger and earlier in their careers have more to gain in terms of earning potential), the same survey also saw 53% of EMBA candidates reporting that they received more responsibilities, with 40% of those surveyed reporting that they received a promotion during the program. 

There’s no doubt that a degree of either type is well worth pursuing.

Skills Acquired

The skills acquired during study vary by program, depending on the specialties and concentrations  chosen, as well as the type of program. 

The primary skills gained from an EMBA degree are those related to effective leadership, strategy and corporate governance. 

According to the 2019 Executive MBA Council Survey, EMBA graduates reported learning skills that included strategic thinking, decision-making and leadership, in addition to gaining insight into economic factors affecting businesses today, as well as accounting skills and financial acuity. Such skills can help candidates who wish to take their consulting work to the next level, as well as those wanting to move into executive leadership roles and the C-suite within an organization. 

The Quantic School of Business and Technology EMBA prepares students to meet a variety of career aspirations and goals by developing advanced strategy skills, skills in leadership. Watch one student describe their experience here.

Full-Time Job Placement 

The most competitive degrees have gained that reputation by way of the opportunities they afford their graduates, the network and career support. Programs with a strong career network offer candidates avenues to new jobs as well as mentorship opportunities. These are particularly beneficial to students who are hoping to change industry

MBA and Executive MBA Admission Requirements

Because MBA and EMBA programs tend to attract candidates at different stages of their careers, they often differ in their requirements for admission. For instance, most MBA programs require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. Whereas EMBA programs require more work experience (typically 10 to 15 years).

Since most Executive MBA candidates already have a strong foundation of business experience,, standardized tests like the GMAT (Graduate Management Assessment Test) are less commonly required for admission. 

Conversely, most MBA programs put more emphasis on GMAT scores when reviewing candidates’ eligibility, and, though some programs do waive it, it’s important to know whether you need a GMAT for the MBA as well as the minimum score required to apply. While many Quantic students have taken the GMAT (and scored on par with students at top schools!), it’s not a requirement for admission. 

In the MBA world, application essays are also weighted quite heavily in admissions and some applicants might vie for a spot through more creative approaches (some schools even require video essays). And though most global programs are offered in English, students who aren’t native English speakers are often required to get a minimum score on a standardized language test, such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). 

In terms of recommendation letters, both the MBA and EMBA programs often require at least one, if not several. For the Executive MBA, where work-life balance is important, candidates are also required to supply written proof that their current employer actually supports their pursuing the degree. This is true for EMBA applicants who are being sponsored by their employer to study, as well as for those who aren’t, because chances are that candidates will have to do some coordinating with their company (including potentially taking some time off) to complete the program. Quantic’s employer-funded tuition reimbursement program makes this conversation easy with a downloadable guide.

Choosing the Right Program for Your Lifestyle Goals 

The delivery format of a business degree can have huge implications for the success of a candidate during their studies as well as beyond graduation.

In-person programs provide the traditional grounding of an academic environment, but this comes at a premium — higher tuition costs, relocation, and putting a budding career on hold to attend full time

Luckily, competitive online programs are on the rise. They are changing the landscape and reducing the barriers to entry.  Some programs even incorporate cutting edge technology into their Learning Management Systems. For some candidates this is a better option. It increases their competitiveness in the job market,but doesn’t involve a massive investment of time and money. . 

Traditional (On-Campus) MBA/EMBA Programs

Residential programs are a suitable choice for students who wish to be more fully immersed in campus culture. 

On-campus programs also offer candidates more opportunities to network and socialize with their cohort, professors, and the wider academic community outside of their structured MBA or EMBA schedule.

Part-Time MBA/EMBA Programs

A part-time program, whether an EMBA or MBA, is best suited to students who wish to continue working while earning their degrees. Coursework for these programs is most often scheduled on weekends and weeknights. Of course, those choosing this option may find they require a high level of discipline, as their “free time” will be largely occupied by coursework. 

Those with children or other personal commitments and responsibilities may have to assess their priorities during their course of study to ensure they stay organized.

Online MBA/EMBA Programs 

More non-traditional programs, like those delivered online, are gaining popularity, as they offer more flexible schedules and learning environments for the modern student—and with much lower financial barriers. 

By removing overhead costs, these programs can offer a valuable curriculum, experienced faculty, and deep industry expertise at a fraction of the cost of an in-person program (and sometimes even free). 

By virtue of not being overseen by large regulatory bodies, the curriculum of these programs is often more customized and responsive to the changing needs of industry, and not simply academia. 

For example, Quantic EMBA cohorts follow a guided sequence of coursework especially developed by a team of specialists who collaborate with professors from top elite business schools to bring the program to life. Students are offered bite-size lessons and individualized feedback (every eight seconds!) so that they feel supported throughout the course of their studies, in addition to online and in-person group work and networking opportunities that round out the program.

Today’s business professionals are already seeing the signs of a growing remote workforce, heightened interconnectivity, more collaborative tools, and changing operational structures that are altering how we do business globally. 

More flexible online-first programs can be seen as an extension of these wider trends and can, simply by virtue of their delivery format, offer candidates unique insights into the evolving contexts of work as well as the skills necessary to succeed as leaders in this changing environment.

Summary: Choose the Right Degree for Your Career Growth

Is a particular MBA or EMBA program right for you?

That’s the fundamental question. 

To answer it accurately, you need to look at your own eligibility first and foremost (e.g. career maturity, academic experience and work experience). 

After that… you should evaluate your own ability and desire to commit to it.

If you still want to do one, then the delivery format is important. 

You now have the choice of online MBA’s, as well as more traditional full time and part time options. 

Pick one that works for you. 

Your own learning style, lifestyle habits and personal responsibilities and commitments — these things play a large role in what you get out of whatever format you choose. 

Not everyone is primed for success right out of the gate.

So do your due diligence and learn from those who did it right

That way, you can select the program that will give you the highest chance of success. 

The business degree landscape is full of success stories. 

Will you be next? READ THE CASE STUDY.

COVID-19 Response: No Disruption to Classes, Increased Scholarships

With every day bringing news of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting global health, the economy, travel, and work, an MBA or Executive MBA program shouldn’t cause additional stress. At Quantic, we are fortunate in that our programs and required peer collaborations are entirely online, and our staff is well accustomed to working remotely. As such, our programs will continue without interruption.

We have, however, instituted changes to ensure the safety of our community and to be there to support our students and applicants, as well as the broader global community, in whatever way we can.

  • Increased scholarships for Executive MBA
    • As many have been affected financially by the pandemic, we will be increasing both the number of scholarships we award, as well as the amount. We offer both need-based and merit-based scholarships for our Executive MBA. As always, our MBA is completely free to those who are admitted. For additional financial support, please inquire about employer-backed tuition reimbursement here
  • Free open courses: We offer several free open courses available to the public. Courses include Business Foundations, as well as a handful of other MBA-level courses like Blue Ocean Strategy. Just sign up and visit your Dashboard to start learning right away. 
  • Extensions or Deferrals: If you are admitted to one of our programs but need an extension or deferral to another cohort due to circumstances related to COVID-19, just let us know and we’ll do everything we can to accommodate.
  • Events: Until further notice, we have canceled in-person meet-ups and events/conferences. Instead, we’ll host online events to enrich the curriculum and bring students from all cohorts together. 
  • Registrar: If admitted, we request official transcripts from your previous schools. But due to school closures and restricted movement, it may not be possible to obtain transcripts at this time. If this is the case, we will work with you to make alternate arrangements. 

For the past seven years, Quantic has been a pioneer of online, mobile-first graduate education, enabling students to learn wherever they are and according to their own schedule. While this is a scary time, we remain optimistic. As many of us in the education sector adapt and shift into roles that solve the challenges we’re all facing, we will continue to leverage our resources and platforms to help our fellow learners. 

Be well, stay healthy, and never stop learning. 

From Product Manager to Co-founder: Reflections from a Graduate of the First Quantic MBA Class

The following post is by Lindsey Allard (MBA 2016), Co-founder of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback solution for B2B companies. 

It was 2015, and I had recently graduated from Dartmouth College with a liberal arts degree. I was looking for a way to gain general business knowledge while working as a product manager, and I came across the Quantic School of Business and Technology MBA. During my time in the program, I loved the courses because I was able to learn useful concepts in a short, quiz-like format that fit with my full-time work schedule. I didn’t have to stare at endless textbook passages. Everything was on my smartphone, and I could constantly test myself to ensure the content was committed to memory.

After my Quantic graduation in 2016, I worked as a product manager at a new company. I was leading a team of developers building SaaS products and mobile apps. Product managers are like “mini CEOs”. You need to know a little about a lot of things, and Quantic helped expand my areas of expertise during this point in my career.

After a few years of working at different start-ups, I decided to take the leap and co-found my user research company PlaybookUX with another Quantic alum, Kristen. User research is the process of getting feedback on things like product usability, pricing model, marketing copy, and concepts. By getting direct feedback from your target demographic, you are able to make better product and business decisions. However, as I know from my time as a product manager, the process of conducting user research has big challenges, like being extremely time-consuming and requiring a lot of manual work. And I didn’t see solutions out there that successfully addressed all the problems.

When developing PlaybookUX we sought to solve three main pain points:

      • It’s time-consuming
      • It’s expensive
      • Finding the right participants is challenging for B2B companies

Here’s how we solve these pain points with PlaybookUX:

      • Our product solicits video-based feedback, so that product owners can remotely conduct research, and then easily store and reference video records, ultimately saving them lots of time.
      • Again on the saving-time front, we do everything from recruiting the right participants, to incentivizing them, transcribing the sessions, and analyzing the videos with A.I. to extract actionable insights.
      • We have an affordable, pay-for-what-you-use pricing model so that customers don’t need to commit to large subscription fees up-front. This expands access to UX research to start-ups, founders, and small business owners. Previously, they were priced out.
      • Our testing participants are verified through LinkedIn so businesses know exactly who they’re speaking to.

During the process of launching my company, I leaned on Quantic lessons. Financial topics were always difficult to wrap my head around, and I was able to successfully price our product and build our business model with that in mind.

On top of the valuable knowledge gained from Quantic, I’ve been able to leverage the student network to get in touch with like-minded product managers. The network is a strong supplement to my undergraduate network.

At PlaybookUX our goal is to make user testing accessible to everyone. At the time of this post, we’ve been launching for a few months. It’s been a great few months—with hundreds of clients using our platform. We’ve had success with UX Researchers and Designers, but our goal is to make research easy for Product Managers. In the future, I plan to lean on the Quantic network for advice on growth hacking to take PlaybookUX to the next level.

Why I Turned Down a Top Business School

For years, Chris was convinced that gaining an MBA from a top business school would lead to guaranteed success and happiness. In the end, he turned his acceptance down.

 

The following is a guest post from Chris Queen, a Smartly MBA graduate and small animal veterinarian living and working in Dubai. Chris is a massive, self-proclaimed nerd, interested in the power of technology, including virtual and augmented reality, to revolutionize education. When he isn’t caring for pets or writing, he can be found running, swimming and cycling towards his next Ironman race or jumping from a perfectly good plane in the name of skydiving. Chris’ blog can be found at www.thenerdyvet.com and he can be found on Twitter at @thenerdyvet

***

For years, I was convinced that gaining an MBA from a top business school would lead to guaranteed success and happiness.

After all, they take in ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial types and spit out brand new Masters of the Universe at the other end, all guaranteed to progress on to business success, right?! Cue the all too familiar gauntlet of GMAT tests, poring over school brochures and websites, campus visits, ‘meet-and-greets’, and the endless hours of application preparation and submission, each costing on average about $150. In total, I have easily spent in excess of $4,000 simply getting to the stage of hitting the ‘submit’ button on various applications.

I am a small animal veterinarian and I’m at the stage in my career, and life, where I am acutely aware of the question, “Where am I going next?” Not completely enamoured of the usual, predictable and ‘safe’ options, and, to be perfectly honest, somewhat disillusioned with much of my current profession, I looked towards an MBA as being the answer. I have entrepreneurial ambitions, specifically within the tech sector, and so it seemed logical that formal business training, with the plethora of additional advantages that attending a top school offers, was exactly what was called for. I know for a fact that I would find the experience of spending 1-2 years in a major seat of learning and culture with equally ambitious sorts from all corners of the globe a wonderful one indeed. And so it was that my journey to business school began.

Coming from a non-traditional ‘quantitative’ career such as veterinary medicine, I was keen to bolster my familiarity with the core MBA curriculum and came across the Smartly app. Instantly drawn into the simple, immersive, bite-sized, and beautifully presented lessons that had a fun, game-like feel I found myself a dedicated user, powering through all of the available lessons and eagerly awaiting any new material developed by the Pedago team. It was, therefore, an easy decision to put my hand in my pocket and pay for the service* when the full version went live. It was that good!

Fast forward to earlier this year: I finally had that which I had been fixated on for so long: an offer from a top school! So what I did next took a lot of thought…

I turned my acceptance down!

The principle reason for this huge decision was simply the prohibitively inflated cost of studying for an MBA, with my projected expense easily looking to be in the region of $120,000 once the $90,000 of tuition was added to reasonable living expenses. Whilst it is no secret what the cost of an MBA is when students apply, such numbers seem unreal until such time that you are staring at a loan agreement. ROI uncertainty and the realities of staggering debt to pursue my dream aside, I had to really ask myself if there was another way to obtain the same level of top MBA knowledge without bankrupting myself. Smartly once again came onto the scene offering a full MBA degree, with its clear curriculum, simple and intuitive interface and impressive catalogue of ever-expanding content. Oh, and it’s significantly more attractive price tag! With my application submitted I now eagerly await their decision on whether I shall be one of those admitted to their new online MBA.

Sexual harassment in the workplace: A story of silence

Ellen shares her story and hopes it gives you a voice to speak up and incentive to bring in essential sexual harassment training to your working environment.

 

The following is a guest post by Ellen M. Zavian, a sports attorney and professor at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Ellen teaches courses in Sports Law, Entrepreneurship and Leadership and Sports Marketing and has written columns for Conde Nast, Time, USAToday and NFL Insider.

***

There are many factors that can trigger sexual harassment in the workplace that are beyond a company’s control. Nevertheless, it is imperative for companies to create and ensure a safe working environment. Many of those seemingly harmless comments or inappropriate behaviors could be avoided, and victims could be empowered with the right knowledge on how and when to take action.

As the first woman to represent NFL players as an attorney, I received many sexual comments over my career, but I can tell you very little about what I’ve experienced because to name names would not do anyone good, especially me. As an independent contractor, I did not have the luxury of being protected by the many employment laws that protect men and women from such conduct.

When I was working at a law firm, one of the partners clearly crossed the line. Instead of filing, I left the firm.  Another time, when interviewed for a team position, the head coach told me, “It would be too distracting to have you around the office.” I withdrew my name from the pool of candidates. Eluding these situations was probably not the best strategy.

As I matured, my skin got thicker, and my ability to confront comments quickly or diminish them with humor became sharper.  It is this sense of confidence and humor that got me through many other questionable times. For example when i was representing the women softball players and the attorney for the American Softball Association was making fun of the women because they were complaining about having to wear male structured catcher equipment (which left little room for their breasts), I gave him an athletic cup (youth size) and told him to wear it for a day. Needless to say, we won that point and got the women proper fitting equipment (which included a helmet with a hole for their ponytail!).

It is for this reason, I wanted to share my story of silence with you… I hope this gives you a voice to speak up and incentive to bring in essential sexual harassment training to your working environment today. This question remains: how do we communicate this information effectively, achieving a greater goal than that of merely legal compliance? We must first look for tools and mechanisms to effectively transmit information to employees and then optimize understanding and awareness so that everyone in the workplace can feel confident and empowered to speak up and take action in circumstances like mine.

To see corporate training solutions for your company, visit https://smart.ly/corporate-training.

Making Smartly Available for Everyone

First and foremost, we want to uphold our mission to expand access to low-cost education. Not just “education” but superior education.

 

Since Smartly’s launch in the summer of 2015, we’ve helped thousands of people around the world bolster their business knowhow, quickly and easily.  In total, our learners have solved 960,000 lesson challenges, taken 62,000 lessons, and given Smartly lessons an overall 96% approval rating! Across the board—from the incoming MBA student in Fontainebleau to the junior analyst in San Francisco to the stay-at-home parent in Bangalore—our students have let us know that they love Smartly’s fast technology; fun, quality courses; and quirky tone to help them get closer to their goals.

That’s why we’re happy to announce that over the past few weeks Smartly has phased out our subscription services—we’re now completely free. We’ve come to the conclusion that first and foremost, we want to uphold our mission to expand access to low-cost education. Not just “education” but superior education. We’ve broken the mold in edtech by creating bite-sized, interactive courses and will continue to revolutionize by making quality education available for free. We want to be completely different in a good way (you could say we’re pretty hipster). In addition, many of our users around the world don’t have debit or credit card numbers, and we want as many people as possible to have the chance to learn effectively.

Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep Smartly running without subscription fees. We have an exciting solution in store that will help you reach your career goals even faster than through coursework alone—we’re currently exploring ways that companies that you dream of working with can connect with you.

If you’ve enjoyed using Smartly thus far, please recommend the new Smartly to someone who you think would find it useful. If you haven’t tried Smartly yet… try it! Start learning how to be a better manager, how to run A/B tests, how your company’s accounting works, and more in the next 60 seconds. We hope you enjoy the changes to Smartly, and we look forward to your feedback. Come and join the education revolution!

— Tom, Alexie, Ori & the rest of the Smartly team

An Interview with Michael Horn on the future of EdTech

Michael Horn, author of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools talks about disruption in the EdTech space.

We are so excited to welcome Michael Horn, author of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, and a force for positive and innovative change in the world of education, as an advisor for Pedago. We met with Michael a few weeks ago to talk about disruption in the EdTech space. Here’s what he had to say.

In your book, Blended, you explain how in-classroom learning can be melded with technology to create effective learning experiences; why do you think there was no one doing this until recently?

MH: Until just recently, education had been essentially the same since the printing press. There were the traditional teaching methods for the general populace, mixed with tutoring systems reserved for the elite and for those who had enough social capital.

Finally, disruptive technology—online learning—started to appear. When MOOCs arrived, people conceptualized the online learning movement as video tutorials—filmed, staged lessons. The disruptive innovation theory gave us a way to talk about this new movement more broadly, though, and see where it was going, which allowed us to realize that there, online learning represented a bigger moral opportunity and a chance to think about education in a truly novel way that could benefit all students. The theory gives us a framework to understand that we have the potential to use online learning to transform education in a massive way, beyond these filmed lessons, and create a personalized learning solution for every student at a cost we can afford.

What do you see in the near-term future for EdTech?

Video is just a small part of my vision for what the EdTech world has the potential to become. We need to move toward creating different modalities for different kinds of learning. Learning through games, virtual reality—these are great ideas, but they don’t work for every subject. We need solutions that can be customized based on the subject matter to facilitate active learning.

You talk a lot about disruption—how do you qualify disruption, and how do you see it playing out in the EdTech space?

One of the ways that we measure disruption is through asking the question: does your technology have a low-cost value proposition you can bring to market now, while still improving it over time to tackle more complex problems? There aren’t a ton of these on the market yet in the EdTech space.

Some might suggest that MOOCs are disruptive, but I would disagree. There’s a limit to the amount of dynamic education you can provide through MOOCs and video content because interaction between learners and educators is so limited.

Disruption starts by tackling simple problems, then moves up-market to tackle more difficult problems. That’s why there are so many companies tackling math right now—because it’s rules-based. It’s harder to address higher-end education. I’m excited to see what starts coming out of the EdTech space to tackle these harder concepts.

Last question—what’s one of your best learning experiences?

In all seriousness, my first time trying Smartly blew me away. But, if I have to choose something else, I’d have to say my class with Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School because he combined theory lessons with real-life applications using case studies, so the learning was very concrete.

Want to hear more from Michael? Stay tuned to Smarty’s blog or find Michael Horn on Twitter (@michaelbhorn)! Visit Smartly at https://smart.ly.