Guttenplan, D. (2010) Poking, Tagging and Now Landing an M.B.A. New York Times, November 28

Note: this post was up-dated on 27 March 2023.

The above article is a somewhat confusing report on The London School of Business and Finance’s offering of MBA materials through Facebook.

Founded in 2003 (and not to be confused with the highly prestigious and much older London School of Economics), the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) currently has locations in London and Singapore, offering programs in marketing, finance, business law and a variety of accounting certifications. The LSBF is a for-profit organization, with an agreement with external universities, such as Uninettuno, a private university in Rome, Italy, for the award of its degrees. It is owned by the same company (Global University Systems) that owns University Canada West, a private university in Canada.

LSBF originally offered an Online MBA through its Moodle open-source software, which allowed students all over the world to access lecture videos, course materials, e-books, notes, quizzes and tests, interactive case studies, and collaborative Web-conferences. 

My understanding (although was not clear from the NYT article) was that potential students can interact with the online MBA materials without a fee in a Facebook application. If they wanted to take the exams, then there was a fee. To participate, you had to agree to allow the LSBF access to your Facebook personal information (including friends).

Now the LSBF uses its own learning management system. Currently the cost of the online MBA is £9,000 (US$13,000, C$15,000).


My views on this are clouded by my dislike of Facebook’s corporate ethics, which is why I deactivated my Facebook account some time ago (although I had to reactivate it to look at the LSBF site, but then was not allowed in because I did not agree to my personal data – including friend contacts – being passed to LSBF). So as always, there’s no free lunch, and in any case you still have to pay the fee of £9,000.

However, there is a useful value proposition close to what LSBF is doing. State and public universities could for instance do the same (with or without Facebook) by making their course materials open, but charging tuition for instruction and assessment.

I’d be interested in other people’s comments on this initiative by the LSBF. Is this just another form of privatization, another scam, or, given the global demand for graduate education, is this a really useful service? And should public institutions be going in the same direction? Over to you.


  1. The University of Wales has been parterning with a lot of institutions all over the world, and have ended up in a bit of hot water:

    And that’s just the most recent one – they also had a partnership with an unaccredited school in the U.S.:

    While it should add a degree of credibility to the MBA you discuss above, the fact is UofWales has not been very good at due diligence when it comes to their choice of academic partners.

  2. really good idea, to have access to a free university degree from UK. I do hope to start it rigjht away., and surely it will
    head me up to new opportunities.

    Many thanks,


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