Matthew Rivers was a police officer in Urbana, a city in Illinois, for nearly a decade before he applied to do an online MBA in 2017. His ambition was one day to lead the police department and he did not want to pause his career to study on campus.
The nearby University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offered him a place on its iMBA — an online MBA — with the caveat that Mr Rivers master the fundamentals of business by passing two modules before the start of term in 2018. It was also a way for Mr Rivers, now 38, to prove he could handle academic rigour after years of employment.
He chose courses in corporate finance and investment, which are available for free via Coursera, a digital learning platform, and paid a fee for academic credit (approximately $1,200 per course today) towards the iMBA.
“Online learning is a gateway