Zero Cost MBA (Envisioning 21st century global manager)

Zero Cost MBA_An Overview 2

In a nutshell:

A self-designed project to gain skills, required to become a global executive.


The financial crisis of the year 2008 hit many people very hard. It was the year when I graduated from the university. It was absolutely clear that future is way more unpredictable and the only way to safeguard my interest is to make myself knowledgeable about the world economy. So, I started following market trends and gradually started to build his knowledge into International Economics.

During my visit to European Commission in 2011, I felt co-existent between technology, business, and public policy to make an effective decision. The problems faced by global corporations are quite different than they used to be, and an interdisciplinary thinking is needed to address multidimensional challenges faced by global corporations. Later, using my years of experiences in working in cross-cultural teams, I imagined profile of a future global manager. Which is:

A person who is a quick learner, have an interdisciplinary approach of problem-solving, has the ability to work outside his area of expertise if situation demands, can work anywhere in the world, make the decision with least amount of information and can communicate with any kind of person.

With this vision, I began working on the idea of ‘Zero Cost MBA(Envisioning 21st-century Global Manager’

Curriculum design: I have spent 2 months in finding the skills for this kind of future global manager. I have read employment survey reports, paper on difficulties faced by large corporation in managing the global workforces etc. I have also studied report in identifying future market trends and used my previous experiences to identify trends in globalization. Read outcomes of this exercise here

Decision to design my own path: My vision to gain interdisciplinary skills could not be fulfilled by the traditional university education. I observed clear lack of interdisciplinary aspects in existing MBA curriculums. Secondly, managerial education is very expensive in nature. So, even if it was possible to pursue this study program, It would have required me to take a hefty education loan. With existing education from 2 top technical universities, I chose ‘skills over degree’ and decided to complete this project on my own.

Skill development: I completed 40+ courses in MOOC/OCW format from world’s top universities(MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford).

I used 250+ public resources (company annual reports, business newspapers, LinkedIn groups) to build a solid foundation in global market trends, business strategies, trade negotiations, and government policies.

With no possibility to do company internships, I used real-life problems as a testing ground to practice my skills. Through 40+ self-designed projects, consulting assignments, participation in international competitions, and engagement at online discussion forums; I have developed market-ready skills. Read more about it here.

List of Courses studies/Other resources used in ‘Zero Cost MBA(Envisioning 21st century global manager)’ project

Course Reviews
Live projects to test skills in the real life situations
Learning experiences with some memorable moments as shared with other learners around the world


Anyone who doubts that MOOCs can be transformational in students’ lives should know the story of Ankit Khandelwal, a young man from India who dedicated two years of his life to taking MOOCs from Wharton, MIT, Yale, and other institutions. His goal was to use MOOCs to create a personalized program he calls ‘Envisioning the 21st-Century Global Manager’, as he was determined to provide himself with the skill set of such a leader.

-Prof. Christian Terwiesch,The Wharton Business School

An engineer by trade, he now has a much better understanding of market trends, business strategies, trade negotiations and government policies. He can also communicate better with people from different cultures, and he has improved his skills at working within multicultural teams.

-International Council of Distance Education, Norway

Through trail and error, Ankit developed a course curriculum from taking multiple online courses from various educational institutions and online resources that helped him gain 21-century skills. Although limitations such as face to face interactions may have short-sighted his experience, internet access to social media like LinkedIn & Facebook helped exchange information and supplement the learning experience and resulted in cultivating a network in 100+ countries with multiple cultural insights through direct interactions with native people

-Penn State University


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