The Quantic MBA offers a solution to two major challenges that business education is facing.
First, in light of scrutiny over the cost of an MBA, the Quantic MBA is completely free. Secondly, their MBA is entirely online, capitalizing on demands for online, distance learning programs which offer greater flexibility than campus-based programs.
So what is the Quantic MBA, and is it worth the same as a traditional MBA?
Quantic MBA | Curriculum and structure
Quantic School of Business & Technology offers what it claims to be the first app-based MBA. It takes around 11 months to complete, with between 150-to-200 students per intake.
The program is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), listed by the US Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency.
Tuition is delivered through an interactive app, using what Quantic dubs the ‘Active Learning’ method, designed by professors from top MBA programs. The curriculum is self-oriented, allowing you to go through the reading, assignments, and learning at your own pace in your own time.
It is designed to be more interactive and dynamic than traditional MBA teaching methods—“no boring lecture videos, no tedious textbooks”, as the website reads. The interactive platform prompts users for interactions roughly every eight seconds, an interface which ‘tests not to confirm comprehension, but rather as an opportunity to teach’.
Students are often directed to other learning materials, such as studies from different schools, offering the option to read in greater depth on certain topics.
Studying isn’t an entirely solitary experience. On top of the learning platform, students take part in virtual discussions, case studies, and group projects over the course of the program.
Quantic MBA | Admissions
Applying for the Quantic MBA has three stages.
First, candidates must complete a short online application, which includes information on academic qualifications and work experience. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, at least two years work experience, and english language proficiency.
The online application includes the following five questions:
1. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Quantic?
2. How do you plan to use the MBA skills to advance your career?
3. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement and why?
4. If you could ask anyone for professional advice, who would it be, what would you ask them and why?
5. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Successful applicants are shortlisted for a video interview. This is a chance to talk openly and informally about your motivations, your strengths, and what you feel you’d bring to the Quantic community.
After the interview, candidates are admitted to Quantic’s dashboard, where they have access to a small number of foundational business courses. Prior to being accepted, candidates are expected to complete a number of these courses.
Quantic MBA | Pros
Cost—or lack thereof—is one of the main headlines of the Quantic MBA, and remains a huge advantage for students. With tuition at top business schools ranging anywhere from $50k to nearly $160k, Quantic’s free MBA certainly stands out.
Quantic’s appeal also comes in how students can complete it at their own speed in their spare time. Students aren’t committed to lectures and seminars at specific times, and thus are able to orient their studies to fit around work and home life.
For self-employed consultant Hugh Wolton (pictured right), the cost and part-time nature of the program were two big factors for choosing Quantic. Hugh looked around top business schools, including London Business School, but he was reluctant to heap additional costs on top of his student debt from his bachelor’s. Moreover, with his own consulting business to run, he wanted a program which could fit around his work.
“I was aware of the time required for a full-time MBA that you need to take outside of work, and that wasn't something I wanted to commit to. I come from a background of learning on the job, and didn’t want to go back to full time studying,” Hugh says.
The part-time nature of the Quantic MBA means that the majority of students are working alongside their studies. For many, this provides a healthy opportunity to apply what you are learning directly to your job.
Quantic MBA student Matt* felt that his degree was filling the knowledge gaps that he didn’t necessarily get from his full time job at a major consulting firm.
“My consulting career has done a lot for that on a technical front, but I was conscious that I needed to address some knowledge gaps,” he says.
Now, nearing the end of the program, he can think of several scenarios at work where he directly applied what he had learned on his MBA.
Quantic’s structure also creates a unique connection to recruiters which often results in employment. Recruiters across a variety of industries subsidise the cost of the program for students, in return for having first access to graduates. For companies, its access to top talent; for students, it could fasttrack you into an exciting new role or industry.
*Name changed at request of the interviewee.
Quantic MBA | Cons
One of the main drawbacks of Quantic may be the exact reason you’re reading this—you’ve never heard of it. Compared to globally recognized brands like Harvard, LBS, and Wharton, Quantic doesn’t quite have the reputation of the name on the degree certificate.
But reputation may not be as important for the type of student Quantic attracts, like Hugh. “I’m doing this more for myself than potential employers. I want to fill the gaps in my business knowledge, and whether I do that at Harvard, LBS, or Quantic, makes no difference to me.”
Part-time study comes with the perils of trying to juggle a work-study-life balance. The self-oriented nature demands discipline and self-organization, especially when work can be more time-consuming.
“It can be tough to tie it into your routine and stay on top of things, and work as hard as you want to on it. That's often the main challenge for me—am I putting enough time in?” Matt says.
While the program incorporates group projects and some networking events, networking is undoubtedly not equivalent to that on a full-time MBA. That said, Quantic’s alumni base is around 2000 people, and growing, with several intakes each year. “The value of the MBA goes up in time, as the alumni network grows,” Matt says.
The Quantic MBA is a disruptive force in the MBA market. It lacks some of the additional benefits of a full time program—enhanced networking opportunities, extracurriculars and campus life, direct access to faculty, and the reputation of a business school degree—and in that sense can’t be considered a replacement for a traditional MBA.
But as an accredited program, it is a similar qualification on paper to a full-time MBA. The fact that it’s both free and fully remote, moreover, addresses several of the key challenges that full-time MBA programs are coming under increased scrutiny for. As it grows in popularity, it will be a format that business schools can’t ignore.