If you could earn an MBA from world renowned universities and build a network to rival those of business schools graduates for less than $1,000, would you take the opportunity? If I told you someone is already doing that today, would you believe me?
Well Laurie Pickard is doing that while working for USAID in Kigali, Rwanda. As long as she has internet access, she is good to go. The beauty of Laurie’s plan is not only will she earn an MBA without going into debt but she is also sharing her progress and plan with everyone on her website, No Pay MBA.
Since she started, Laurie has gained worldwide attention from Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Business. So far Laurie has completed 25 business courses and doesn’t seem to be hanging it up anytime soon.
I get excited about this because it gives us, project managers, a way to improve our business IQ with little to no opportunity cost. I have realized in my career, if I want to grow and take that next step, I have to become a smarter businessman and leader. I worry though how much it will cost. So when I came across No Pay MBA, it gave me hope and provided an innovative new way to look at business education.
All the projects we will ever lead are driven by strategic objectives that are hopefully driven by sound and justified business decisions. Instead of accepting the business case and hoping it is backed by the board, what if we were on the other side of that decision? If you want to make that next step in your career, it is paramount to learn and develop strong business skills.
To do that, most of us think an MBA is required but I am guessing most everyone on this site doesn’t have the time to attend a full-time MBA program, let alone an executive MBA program. This is why I think Laurie’s plan is so brilliant. Now it does take more work. To gain credibility in the eyes of CEOs who attended traditional business schools, you may have to complete twice as many classes as traditional students but I think we all know the key ingredient in finding success is the network you build. The No Pay MBA program is built on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which usually includes students from all over the globe. For next to nothing, you are immediately exposed to professors from world class universities like Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford as well as a global network with common interests.
As long as you have internet access, you have the opportunity to earn a world class MBA education and create a global network. What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?
It comes as no suprise that leadership is one of the three cornerstones of the PMI Talent Triangle. The trick though is finding a resource to improve your sweet leadership skills that keeps you engaged and stretches you a bit so your mind and body don't become lazy.
Also, if you are like me, my eye immediately goes to the cost of training for almost any course I check out. For that reason alone I wanted to start a mini-series of posts focsued on Masstive Open Online Courses (MOOC). These are typically free courses offered by world class institutions like Stanford, Harvard, and MIT but for this first post I wanted to take a bit of a step to the left and tell you about +Acumen. They are,
"...a non-profit venture fund with a vision to help build a world beyond poverty through investing in companies that deliver critical goods and services in water, health, housing, energy, agriculture, and education; leaders who are paving the way for new approaches to fighting poverty; and the spread of ideas that will give the world the knowledge and the understanding to change how the world tackles poverty."
What makes +Acumen stand out is the unique courses they offer focusing primarily on leadership in a very creative and authentic way.
Below are just a few of the more popular courses. You can check out all their courses on their course website.
+Acumen views leadership as a combination of three ingredients; moral imagination, operational skills, and financial skills. I find this fascinating because usually when you hear leadership the words charisma, compassion, and visionary tend to follow but this model reminds us how leaders also need to get their hands dirty and set an example. All of the courses fall within one of these three categories.
So if you are looking to grow as a leader in your career, for PMI, or one of the other fantastic project mangement organizations around the world, be sure to check out +Acumen. It is always good to look beyond the usual forms of trainig to discover the innovative and creative resources you may have never disocvered otherwise.
Thank you for taking the time to share this moment and if you know of any other leadership training resources, especially ones that are free, please feel free to share them in the comments.