Look Out, B-Schools: Jack Welch is Moving In

The legendary General Electric (GE) chairman Jack Welch believes his Jack Welch Management Institute will have more than twice as many MBA students than Harvard Business School studying for online MBA degrees by 2016. In an interview with Poets&Quants, Welch said he aims to to enroll 5,000 students within five years, far eclipsing Harvard's 1,800 MBA candidates or Stanford Graduate School of Business' 800 students.

Welch's ambitious goal comes in the aftermath of an announcement Friday that he is moving his institute from for-profit education provider Chancellor University to Strayer Education Inc. The deal is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Welch launched his institute two years ago and currently offers a $30,000 executive MBA degree and a pair of executive certificates via online instruction. The certificate offerings — "Becoming a Leader" and "Creating a Winning Strategy" — last six weeks long and are priced at $2,400 each.

The MBA program currently has 198 students, while another 75 students are enrolled in the certificate courses.

Welch said he believes Strayer's purchase of the Welch Institute will help it achieve its goal of becoming the "number one online business school in the world." He said Strayer has the reach, marketing muscle and know-how to increase the institute's brand value. "We're hoping to get 5,000 students by 2016," said Welch. "It's very doable."

The MBA program features video lectures from Welch, while the certificate programs feature two-way videoconferencing with the former GE chairman, whose involvement takes up between 10 to 15 hours a week of his time.

Unlike Chancellor, with its handful of campuses in Ohio, Strayer has 92 locations in 22 states and in Washington, D.C. "We have a chance to create a hybrid of in-person and online classes," said Welch, of his new partnership.

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