HEC Breaks New Ground Online

Cécile Peltier, Translated by Nina Fink
Publié le
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Une vingtaine de professeurs volontaires participent à la production du nouveau cursus 100 % en ligne de HEC.
If OMIE fares well, HEC will launch new online initiatives together with schools and businesses. // ©  Cécile Peltier
The top French business school, HEC, will offer distance-learning degrees beginning in the fall of 2017. A turning point for European business schools, this also represents a big investment for HEC, which hopes to use the program to boost its brand abroad.

HEC recently announced a new Online Master's in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OMIE). The English-language program is set to launch in September on Coursera. OMIE will target entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who can't come to Paris.

HEC's approach is unprecedented in France and according to associate dean Marc Vanhuele, "This is the first time a European business school has launched a 100% online degree program." For HEC dean Peter Todd, who aims to make HEC one of the top ten business schools in the world, OMIE is strategic. "Today, roughly a quarter of HEC students start businesses. That's close to 100 startups per year. It's time to go digital so we can share our expertise worldwide."

Different Degrees

Unlike the MOOC model, OMIE isn't free, though it does offer an inexpensive trial version. The first option is the €5,000 certificate program, which features 12 courses comprising 3 specializations. The Master's degree program is more selective, demanding and structured, with additional coursework and a group project. To ease the €20 thousand tuition burden, HEC will offer scholarships managed by local African foundations, among other forms of support.

Quality and Quantity

HEC plans to "make the [OMIE] experience as immersive as possible" with €4 to €5 million invested in building the program alone. Vanhuele explains, "The question is... whether there is a market for this price and level of selectivity." In the hopes of "generating significant margins", HEC plans to enroll 300 Master's students and many more certificate students within the year.

Connections, Connections

Thanks to its 25 million users, Coursera offers OMIE increased visibility and potential clients in the form of "users who have taken fee-based entrepreneurship classes," notes Vanhuele. In exchange, Coursera will get a cut of the tuition.

If OMIE fares well, HEC will launch new online initiatives together with schools and businesses. Yet, as Vanhuele notes, "No matter how immersive it may be, distance learning can never replace the on-campus experience." To that end, OMIE Master's students will have access to in-person events with other HEC entrepreneurship students.

Read the article (in French)

Cécile Peltier, Translated by Nina Fink | Publié le

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Catherine CONSTANT.

At long last! Really good news.