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GMAC Research Chart of the Month: What Do Employers Think of MOOCs?

Posted by GMAC Research
The premier provider of market intelligence for graduate management education

Posted on Aug 7, 2018 11:00:00 AM

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Do more employers characterize MOOCs as a professional development tool or an alternative to a traditional graduate business degree?


Online learning opportunities are everywhere. When MOOCs, or massive open online classes, first became widely available about a decade ago, many thought they would disrupt traditional university degree programs the same way music and media were transformed by digital alternatives. While a full-scale disruption hasn’t come to pass, the number available MOOCs continues to climb, even as the number of new MOOC learners has slowed. Just as with traditional graduate management education (GME) programs, a driver of the value of an educational experience is how employers characterize it. Looking to the future, an important question to ask is what do employers think of MOOCs?

This is the focus of the chart of the month for August. As a part of GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, employers were asked how they would characterize MOOCs from five options, of which they could select all that they agree with (totals do not sum to 100 percent due to multiple selections).

Overall, the responses show that while most employers agree MOOCs are a way for an employee to explore a personal interest and a professional development tool, only 18 percent agree it can serve as preparation for a graduate management education and even fewer agree it is a viable alternative to earning a graduate business degree (10 percent). An even smaller share of US employers see MOOCs as an alternative to business school (6 percent).

GMAC Advisor_Chart of the month_August 2018

The 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey was conducted in February and March 2018 in association with career services offices at 96 participating graduate business schools worldwide. Analysis is based on responses from 1,066 employers in 42 countries worldwide who work directly with participating business schools. For more from the 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey, including hiring and starting salary trends, visit

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Topics: Employment Outlook, Research Insights

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