In 2013, I had just finished a three-year assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. I planned to stay in the field of international development and not go back to teaching elementary school, which I had been doing before my assignment in Central America. I wanted to work in support of entrepreneurship, but I discovered I didn’t have the business background to be competitive for those kinds of jobs. I also knew that going into debt for an expensive MBA was not right for me at that point in my career and life.
Instead, I took a risk and decided to create my own MBA program using free online courses from top universities. I was fortunate that my search for an affordable business education coincided with the advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs) from some of the best universities in the world. My goal was simple: to match a traditional MBA course for course using free MOOCs from top business schools, and then to use that education to score my dream job in international development. I created a blog site to document my experiment, which I called the “No-Pay MBA.”
Through my self-made business education, I orchestrated a successful career reset, from Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua to entrepreneurship development specialist in Rwanda. But my reset didn’t stop there. As my blog became more popular, I also began serving as an adviser to other self-directed business students around the world. Ultimately, I wrote a book, Don’t Pay For Your MBA, which teaches people how to use the abundant resources on the internet to get an education equivalent to an MBA, minus all the debt.
Now, I’m in the midst of yet another reset. Early this year, I left my job in Rwanda and started a new job — my most important ever — as the mother of twins. Having a business school education but no business school debt has turned out to be a real blessing, as it has allowed me the flexibility to stay home with my kids while doing part-time consulting. When I started my MOOC MBA journey, I could never have predicted where it would lead me. I guess that’s the thing about resetting: it opens up a world of possibility.