The Lean MBA vs. MOOCs – Differences & Similarities

the lean mba course moocA MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course that is conducted through the web, usually with open access to anyone and unlimited participation in terms of amount of students. Three of the top MOOC providers are Coursera, EdX, and Udacity.

The Lean MBA is a 1-year, 100% online program that covers 12 functional areas of business administration. Created by Madrid-based startup MyLeanMBA, this program is similar to, yet different from a typical MOOC in a number of ways.

Time Commitment

Coursera, EdX, and Udacity classes normally require 2-8 hours of weekly commitment. This can depend on the type of MOOC you choose – some may be more of a time commitment than others.

The Lean MBA program usually requires 2-3 hours of study per week.  It is specifically designed for busy people who have work/personal commitments, but want a flexible, concise yet interesting way of learning. You may have a job, an active social life, or children to take care of. Luckily, this program can fit into any schedule because each lesson lasts only 15-30 minutes (per day).


Online MOOCs generally do not put much emphasis on networking between students. Students may participate jointly on class projects, but their interaction usually stays online.

On the other hand, MyLeanMBA organizes student meetups in cities worldwide so that participants in The Lean MBA program can meet each other, network, and talk business. We also create LinkedIn groups for students of each monthly class to discuss lessons, ask questions, and share ideas.

Teaching Format

The Lean MBA is focused on high-quality content, but also emphasizes fun and interaction. The program requires not only reading and watching videos, but also deep thinking about your unique situation in a business context, plus responsive writing to questions and examples.

Udacity, EdX, and Coursera rely mostly on video lessons, with some weekly assignments. Again, this depends on which course you take and can include case studies or readings, as well.


Most  MOOCs are self-paced, meaning you have complete control over how and when you study. Depending on your study style, this can be great for you. But if you’re not great at time management or concentration, you may find yourself struggling to finish the lessons.

Although The Lean MBA program is partially self-paced, you must pass the weekly lesson checkpoints and tests by each Sunday. Thus, the program requires that you build a consistent routine in order to complete the lesson checkpoints and end-of-the-week tests in a timely fashion.

Course Content

MyLeanMBA has worked hard to make The Lean MBA a fully comprehensive business program. Students will learn the 12 core functional areas of business administration that can be found in traditional MBA programs. This knowledge can be applied towards changing your career path, launching your own business, entering the corporate environment, and more.

EdX, Coursera, and Udacity courses covers a wide variety of topics, not only business. Taking one of their MOOCs is great if you want in-depth, specific knowledge on a single subject.


Udacity, EdX, and Coursera are very accessible, offering access via computer, tablet, and smartphone. The Lean MBA program is optimized for all three of these devices, too. This way, you can do the course while you’re on the metro in the morning, on your lunch break at work, or before you go to bed at night.

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