Rafi Mohammed

Want to Graduate from Harvard Business School at About 1/3 the Price and Without Submitting Your College Grades...Read This Blog

Posted on May 31st, 2007 (1 Comments)

I recently got into a spirited discussion with a good friend who helped review my book. He said “one of the biggest ideas I learned from your book was the idea of offering early bird (good), regular (better), and chef’s table (best) versions.” Bursting my brief moment of proud self satisfaction, my friend then interjected his belief that some high-end businesses are not geared up to offer different quality versions.

Of course, I respectfully disagree with my friend – I believe a key to growth for most high-end businesses lies in offering different versions. Case in point, consider Harvard Business School (HBS). With an outstanding faculty, legendary alumni association, 15% applicant acceptance rate, and a $147,000 price tag, HBS is a grooming ground for the corporate elite. In fact, US News & Report recently rated HBS the number 1 business school in America.

Want to enjoy the prestige and splendor of a HBS education? Just pick a version.

The impetus for this blog came from a conversation I had last week while slurping oysters at my favorite Boston restaurant, B&G Oyster. In between slurps, the guy next to me – a Los Angeles entertainment executive – mentioned he was in town taking a comprehensive business course at HBS. He went on to elaborate that the key benefit of completing this course is earning "alumni status" (which enables him to become a full fledged member of the Harvard Club). Interestingly, he never once mentioned the benefit of learning from Harvard's all star professors! My new friend is raising capital for his company and feels investors will value his HBS alumni status. Summing up his decision to enroll in the course, he crowed: “a fraction of the time, 1/3 the price, and all the benefits of having a MBA.” (…my HBS MBA friends may have a small issue with the notion of the benefits being the same)

Curious, I did a little investigation and this guy’s story checks out. HBS does offer 3 and a half month management programs (7 weeks in residence, the remainder at your home) priced at $51,500. The application does not require any academic transcripts (just checking a box indicating the highest level degree you hold) and a helpful reminder that full payment is required before the program start date. And remember my fellow oyster aficionado’s claim about gaining alumni status, sure enough – the program’s web site trumpets that after concluding this course, you’ll be awarded HBS alumni status! I can now see his point – if $50,000 could buy me a HBS pedigree, access to fellow alumni movers and shakers in Corporate America, and this distinction would help raise hundreds of millions of dollars of capital, enrolling in this program is a slam dunk decision.

HBS does an interesting job of employing early bird ($5,750 + 3 day seminar = HBS certificate of accomplishment), regular ($51,500 + 7 weeks = HBS Alumni), and chef’s table ($147K + 18 months = MBA degree) versioning.

If the ivy covered crème de la crème of business schools can effectively version, my bet is that most other high-end businesses can also version their products and services.

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Readers' Comments on This Blog Entry

From Reverend Steve from the West Coast on May 31st, 2007
Hey, shut up! That how I got my divinity degree and became a minister in the Church of Steve. Just $30,000 and I could perform marriages!