COLLABORATION

New MBA programme by Jolt will revolutionise online alternative education

SOURCE: Avel Chuklanov/Unsplash
Students now prefer to enrol in online courses rather than in physical universities.

Higher education is making a gradual shift away from traditional classrooms and full-fledged degrees that take years to complete. Alternative tertiary qualifications are quickly taking over as the next big thing in higher ed that allows students to develop industry-relevant skills quickly for more than half the cost of a traditional degree. 

The higher education industry is currently being disrupted with the emergence of alternative open online courses such as MOOCs and micro degrees.

What adds to the impact of these tech-savvy alternative tertiary qualifications is that many world-renowned corporations are slowly relaxing their education requirements to accommodate for prospective employees who have undergone these alternative qualifications. 

The reason behind the rising popularity of these alternatives lies in the demographics of students who enrol in them. Many of these students either already hold employment on a part-time basis or are full-time employees who seek a change in their career. 

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These students rarely have the time to attend full days of classes at physical universities and they are unable to bear the costs to further their studies. 

These alternative tertiary qualifications not only provide flexibility in terms of timing but they also provide students with the exact skills they need to further enhance their careers or shift to a completely new direction. 

For instance, London-based business school alternative Jolt offers a modular, self-designed, pay-as-you-go MBA programme which includes courses taught by global business leaders from Google, Netflix, and Tesla. 

Ironically named The Jolt NAMBA (Not an MBA) programme, unlike a traditional MBA course, it only costs £175 a month, or £4,500 in total. 

The programme provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness for young professionals who intend to switch or accelerate their careers but are unable to afford the tuition or time required by a traditional Masters programme. 

Jolt, which is a start-up that launched in 2015, has successfully raised a US$14.1 million Series A to further expand its programme. With the latest round of funding led by Balderton Capital, Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures. 

The company was founded by entrepreneurs Roei Deutsch, Nitzan Cohen-Arazi and Nadav Leshem, who decided to come up with a cost-effective alternative tertiary qualification to counter the current higher education system and falling student enrolment. 

In fact, Jolt’s enrolment is growing by around 25 percent each month thanks to its flexibility and affordability. 

Alternative Education
Jolt plans to elevate its courses to provide benefits equivalent to physical qualifications. Source: Headway/Unsplash.

“Higher education is in a bubble in which a staggering $2.3 trillion is invested every year in something that works for a small minority of people,” said Jolt CEO Roei Deutsch. 

 “Data shows more than three-quarters of graduates believe many higher education programs are no longer fit for purpose; trust and confidence in academia have nosedived in recent years, and the number of applications for MBA courses across most major establishments has fallen.”

The three founders leveraged their strengths in alternative training and education programmes to launch Jolt’s live video courses marketplace in 2016 which served as a starting point for the company to expand its offerings. 

From there, the company has created digital classrooms within existing co-working spaces, connecting students and lecturers across the globe via live video and their very own Jolt app. 

Moving forward, Jolt intends to elevate alternative tertiary programmes to have the same networking opportunities, credentials, and opportunities to learn life skills that traditional programmes offer. 

The company has grown ever since it launched its first campus two years ago, Jolt now has three locations in London in Shoreditch, Soho, and Liverpool Street as well as seven locations across Israel. 

Currently, the start-up is finalising plans to launch campuses in Manhattan in 2020. 

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Since the launch of the NAMBA programme in July, Jolt has gained 10 percent of the market share in Israel, and 1.5 percent in the larget UK market. 

Jolt has raised a total of US$23.3 million and will use the funds to advance plans for further expansion across the UK, Israel and the US. 

“There is a rapidly increasing demand from both employees and employers for more adaptive forms of professional education. Jolt combines a powerful tech platform with a deep understanding of how people really learn to fulfil this demand, giving the learner complete control over when what and with whom they study,” commented Balderton Capital’s James Wise. 

“We believe Jolt has the potential to help tens of millions of students, who couldn’t otherwise afford the time or cost of a traditional business school, to gain new skills and meet new people.”