The Popularity of Distance Learning Education Dictates Market Prices

The fact that an MBA diploma is one of the most popular, recognized all around the world and the leader among other business programs is out of the question. Every year thousands of people, who plan to become successful and build a fast moving career in their sphere of business, spend a large amount of time, effort and money in order to get the diploma.

An MBA degree has existed in the western countries for a while and it is very popular. The number of MBA specialists reached a million people in the U.S. in 2006. There are thousands of MBA graduates in Russia for now. Still, the number of those willing to get an MBA is growing rapidly every year.

If we look at an MBA from the inside, it gives a student the complex and systemized understanding of management and business administration together with a large quantity of practical knowledge. The outer part is shown through a significant career growth of an MBA graduate, his/her income increases and establishing useful business connections in business-elite. Today there is a great number of MBA programs all over the world, that one can get in a European, an American or Russian universities and business school.

Needless to say, such a high demand on MBA programs all over the world including Russia, dictates such a high cost of MBA programs. The yearly tuition fee in most European universities roughly costs $25 000. An average MBA program lasts two years. It is necessary to sum up the travel costs, accommodation costs and miscellaneous costs. This way the total cost of education in an average Western business school is $100 000.

In order to get an MBA degree in Russia you will have to pay 350 000-560 000 rubles. General MBA in Russian is the most popular program (over 40 programs). At least half of the programs offer an internship, including an internship abroad. The maximum cost of these programs is 23 000 euro. MBA General in English in Russia is on average 16 000 euro. The maximum price for this program you will pay in Stockholm School of Economics- 33 000 euro. General MBA 1.5 programs are offered rarely, but their cost and characteristics are the same as 2-year programs.

Executive MBA (in English and Russian) is also a 2-year program and its cost is 16 000 euro. The education is mostly conducted in English. There are very few yearly executive MBA programs in Russia. They are 7000 euro, the education is in Russian.

Distance learning programs MBA Start by Moscow Business School are gaining a huge popularity. Several years ago, many students considered distance learning programs to be a part-time education due to the technological gap between Europe and Russia. The development of technology in Russia, distance learning demonstrated its benefits. Apart from obvious advantages— the effect of presence, high program intensity, modern business cases, professional tutors— distance learning has one more advantage: its cost is much lower than the regular educational programs. It is connected with the use of high technologies during the development of the educational programs.

Moscow Business School has more than 3000 distance learning students, who chose MBA Start program. By the end of 2008 most of them will get their MBA diplomas. The educational process is conducted with the help of dozens of tutors, professors and IT specialists. The students see the results of the education already and they are applying their knowledge and skills in practice. During the summer of 2008 the prices of distance learning at Moscow Business School had been artificially constrained as a part of the «Special Price» promotion and were 123 000 rubles per course. In September 2008 the cost of MBA Start became 169 000 rubles. Some time later it rose up to 238 000 rubles.

Maxim Blynski, the head of «Video courses» division:

«Several times a year we hold open doors events for the MBA Start program. Very often people ask me about the dumping and the marketing strategy, chosen by us. I will be honest: it was not easy for our first students: the distance learning program was developing, the lecture and practical material were being improved, together with the evaluation system. For that moment we retained the prices of 2007. We artificially constrained them also because that was what many students asked us to do.

After a while all materials and technologies, responsible for the educational process, became perfect. Still, their improvement, based on a connection with our students, raised their value. At the same time the value of our graduates went up as well.

Our main goal of the last year was to prove us, our students and the whole world that distant MBA learning is not worse than full time education, that it is comfortable, affordable and prestigious. We have done that and now we got the right to move on to the next strategy and raise the cost of education, in return, providing students with installment payment plans and the possibility to get the academic certificate guarantees you low price throughout the following year.

We will not stand still, since the teamwork result and the project profitability increase will help us boost our program and continually improve its value for our students.»