Can MOOC education lead to employment?

The debate about MOOC education rages on in both online and print publications. Just as important as whether low completion rates are a problem, and whether traditional colleges should be quaking in their boots, is the question of whether the market will respect MOOC education. In other words, can a virtual stack of Coursera Statements of Accomplishment translate into real job opportunities?

Below is one answer to that question. Mark Olvito is the CEO of LM Foods, LLC, a consumer packaged goods company in New Jersey. He reached out to me recently to say that he has encouraged his employees to look into MOOC education as a way of furthering their professional advancement. He also graciously accepted my offer of a guest post on the No-Pay MBA blog. I encourage you to visit his thought-provoking and inspiring blog Hustle or Bust. Read on for Mark’s thoughts on MOOC learning and its relationship to the search for outstanding candidates.

Mark2-200x300To say that I’m fascinated by the movement towards MOOC’s, and in particular the structured approach profiled on No-Pay MBA, is an understatement.  That’s from the perspective of a father, and as a lifelong student of business.

But I play another role in life.  It consumes 65+ hours a week.  It consumes 90% of my mental “think time.”  It’s that of company owner and CEO.  From that vantage point, the audience of No-Pay MBA may be interested in my thoughts related to the following:

Can a MOOC education translate to employment opportunities the way a conventional degree can?

The short answer:

The real answer?


I’m biased, and you need to understand where the bias comes from.  Here’s what I’ve based my career on, and the assumption I operate under every day as a company owner.

Talent drives everything.

There’s a problem, however.  As the final decision maker regarding talent coming INTO my company, it is flat out hard to find people who clearly demonstrate how they can step into my company, learn fast, accelerate our progress, and help build a winning team.  There are plenty of credentialed people chasing opportunities.  MANY have advanced, conventional degrees.  Too many.  More supply than demand.  Few stand out. 

As a “buyer” of talent, hiring can be a truly frustrating experience.

I call the missing element “HUSTLE.”  I need to hire people who have not just accumulated knowledge, but who have the inner drive to put that knowledge into practice.  People not afraid to get dirt under their nails.  People who find ways to solve big problems with fresh thinking.  

What if a candidate emerged who had successfully completed a “No Pay MBA?”  They didn’t just go through the motions and check off the boxes.  They actually understand the curriculum and can clearly communicate that knowledge.

I’ve worked with Ivy League MBAs.  Some are great and will create millions of dollars of wealth.  I’ve also worked with some that can’t analyze their way out of a paper bag, or deal with people in a way that lifts them up vs. tearing them down.

My advice to the No Pay MBA audience?leadershipPeterDrucker

Keep at it.  Get the knowledge.  Start demonstrating that you can apply it.  Don’t worry about “measuring up” to the conventional MBA crowd.  Embrace this key point of difference, and  focus on making something happen with this knowledge.

Good Luck!

May you live each and every day of your journey with Hustle.  Or Bust.  

Mark Olivito




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