Last week, I put out a call for others like myself who are using MOOCs to do the equivalent of a complete MBA.  I received responses from all corners of the globe – from Boston to Dubai. Allow me to introduce four fascinating people who are taking advantage of free online resources to reach their educational and career goals.



Balduzzi_Brian-259x300Name: Brian

Age: 27

Lives in: Boston, MA

“Currently, I work as a tax lawyer for an accounting firm in Boston. I am committed to completing a MOOC MBA because, after completing a BA in English (what do you do…), a J.D., and a Tax LL.M., I have some gaps in my financial and quantitative education. I would like to use MOOC courses to expand my knowledge, encourage my intellectual curiosity, and develop skills to add value to my firm’s clients. After finishing my MBA coursework, I hope to transition into higher-level management while maintaining a strong focus in tax and finance.”


Has completed the following coursework:

  • Introduction to Finance
  • Gamification
  • Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part II
  • Global Business of Sports


Currently enrolled in:

  • The Power of Microeconomics
  • The Power of Macroeconomics
  • Foundations of Business Strategy
  • Critical Perspectives of Management
  • Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses, Part I


“I think continued education and lifelong learning is the key to success in whatever you choose to do. Intellectual curiosity allows you to realize when to ask questions and what questions to ask. I would encourage everyone to use the structure from MOOCs to pursue one’s passions. For me, I am passionate about financial education, literacy, tax, finance, and educational reform. I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to support others who wish to create change through their own businesses and financial pursuits.”



Name: Kathy Hilsinger Walliser

Age: 62

Lives in: Greensboro, NC

“I am writing a PhD dissertation on Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical parasitic disease. I have developed a range of preventatives.  So, I needed to find out how to set up a corporation to make this and distribute it to the 700 million people at risk worldwide. Answer: open course MBA.”

Kathy’s goal is to eradicate Schistosomiasis from humankind, just as Smallpox and certain types of Polio have been eradicated.

Currently enrolled in:

  •  Introduction to Corporate Finance by Dr. Franklin Allen, The Wharton School.

“I tell people that NOW they can do it. There is a world of knowledge out there and with the courses, texts, lectures, and background reading, it can all come together. MANY subjects, languages, interests; there is something that they can pursue.”


PenelopeName: Penelope Perez

Country of origin: Mexico

Lives in: Dubai, UAE

Penelope works as an account manager in the advertising industry. Her reason for doing a No-Pay MBA is,

“ to acquire the necessary tools to start my own business. I’m passionate about Social Innovation, so I would like to apply all the knowledge and experience to my own business and become an active agent of positive social change.”

Currently enrolled in:

  • Foundations of Business Strategy (University of Virginia via Coursera)
  • Critical Perspectives on Management (IE Business School of Madrid via Coursera)


“I’m really happy to have found accessible ways to get high quality education by MOOC. I’m happy and feel lucky to be part of this project (The No-Pay MBA), and I realize there are plenty of people determined to continue learning, each for different reasons. The most important thing is that people see beyond the economic/time restrictions and try their best to accomplish their goals.”


GregName: Greg Widders

Age: 23

Country of origin: Australia

Lives in: Sydney, Australia

Greg works as a Digital Marketing Coordinator for a large windows and doors manufacturer across Australia and parts of Asia.

“Going through University completing a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design I felt completely flat about learning. I wanted to get out, get a job, work during work hours and then go home and just do nothing! Not a year into work, I’ve taken a sidestep into marketing and I have secured my first promotion to a position where I am learning on the job. I have been completely reinvigorated! I work longer than I need to, and then when I get home I find myself searching tutorials to help me at work or develop another skill further. I want to complete a MOOC MBA because it gives direction to this drive. I also want the flexibility to change my study load at the drop of a hat without consequence. I’m at a point in my life where some interesting things are on the horizon and I feel locking myself into the structure of a full MBA is not right for me at this moment in time. Another point is that more and more I’m discovering it’s not the degree that impresses bosses, it’s a demonstration of a willingness to learn. Image going into a job interview and saying, ‘I completed my bachelor’s degree and then over the next two/three years I completed the equivalent of an MBA through online courses from the likes of Wharton, Yale, Harvard while working full time.’ I think that shows a willingness to learn.”


Currently enrolled in (all from Coursera): 

  • Foundations of Business Strategy
  • Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship
  • Introduction to Finance

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