From LearningLovers.org, we met Maxime Riard as CTO of Memopulse, an online training project based on spaced review to avoid forgetting content over time. Now, Maxime has sold this company to promote an online MBA as CTO and co-founder through Neuronimo, with the same team as in Memopulse.
How To Get An Online MBA By Dedicating 15 Minutes A Day: Interview With Maxime Riard
Here is what Maxime Riard told us about his new project, Neuronimo, and how by using it you can get an online MBA by dedicating 15 minutes a day.
“Neuronimo is a 100% online MBA. The concept is that it is cheap and people can study without stopping their work, with 15 minutes a day for a year, with all the subjects that a normal MBA is about. We launched it in early October 2016. It lasts one year. We want to launch a new edition every month. We have one class at the moment, and we are looking for students for the next one. We made free offers and discounts to have many users at the beginning, to tell us a little how it goes, and the truth is that people are quite happy. We had over 600 people who signed up for the October class and the feedback is pretty good. People keep studying, so we’re happy.
Those who do not follow the course until now are those who have not even started: They have signed up, but they have not started. At the end of the first week, 343 people passed; the second 297 passed and the third 296, which more or less means that we lost 40 students the first week, but 300 were not started, which is not exactly the same. Yes, we could improve things so they really get started.”.
“Neuronimo is a bit like Duolingo: There are small pills, although a little longer than Duolingo, because we do not teach languages. There is a whole program that students have to follow step by step. Each time they complete a lesson the next one gets unlocked, and they have to complete some per week (or what we establish, which usually is between 5 and 10) and at the end of each week they have a test (test type questions) to check whether they have understood it. Every week, they have to pass a test of the lessons of that week.
We use Typeform (forms, but improved and more beautiful) to prepare the courses. We use this for the courses, because it is more entertaining and it allows us to ask questions, and sometimes to make, within the same lesson, a path according to what the user wants, including photos and videos. Although it also has its limitations: It is a platform which is not intended for courses, but the advantage is that it looks nice, it can be properly used from mobile devices, and it is quite interactive; it looks like it is done to make a form, question by question, block by block, and then people have to interact with the platform to include a response, get into the next, etc.”
“It’s all in English language. We are in the world market. When we launched it, we had more than 600 people targeted. Those who actually follow the courses, now we have half of them: The people who pass all the tests in time, are around 300. Of those 300, I think they come from 42 different countries, so Neuronimo reaches the whole world.”
“We have now connected the platform with a LinkedIn group, so there is this networking part, and we plan to do more with it. For the course of next week, there are already things that users have to do in a small project and send it, and it is the first test that we will do with that. Let’s go little by little. That will also mean more work. So, we have to see if users always do it, if they keep doing it… I would like to develop new functionalities so that people can do a small group project; but to be honest, I cannot say when.”
“At the moment, it’s for B2C. The cost is 290 euros for the entire one-year MBA. Then, we want to set up other ways of payment (monthly payment), but we’ll see; we want to do it a little less difficult to pay. People who study are people who already have a job, who are between 25 and 40 years old, and in the end is not much money for them; although it is always money.
At the moment, we have good feedback and we hope that these people who have a job will help us get to companies later, because the experience we had with Memopulse getting companies is that this is very complicated, although now we have a product that is easier to understand (at least, it costs us much less to explain it). The truth is that if 3 people of those 300 who follow us ask their boss for their company to get the MBA for 10 people, well, it could work in the B2B. We do not want to go to see companies at the moment. We do B2C, and if then it arises, it will be great. We are going to talk to the students a bit; we are going to help them to convince their bosses. Let’s try that, but what we do not want is to go head-on in cold calling, because it’s too much work with few results.”
“We offer our own certificate and we are working to continue improving the courses and obtain a recognized MBA accreditation. Let’s see if we can get it, because you never know: The process is very, very long. I do not know if it will take us more than a year.
We hope that enough people will be targeted, that it will start to be well known, and that even that will help us to have an official degree. If we cannot have anything official, then we’ll keep it that way, also waiting for the minds to change related to get a title from that school. Because that is changing with many things; like all people studying programming, where in the end now the title is worth nothing. By now, we have that.”
“In contrast to traditional business schools in Spain, we differentiate ourselves:
First in price, because between our 300 euros and the 30000 or 50000 that other MBAs cost, you already notice an impressive difference. Then, the possibility of receiving business courses with the same content that would be included in any business school, but while having a job or/and a family. Also, dedicating much less time in transportation to go there and less class hours.
Also, within our offer, 15 minutes a day is the minimum to spend during the week. Then, we provide additional material for people who are interested in the subject so they can read. We leave books for those who want to go ahead, for example in marketing. In all subjects we offer additional things for those who want them. Students can spend more time if they want, but they do not have to.”
“In the end, our students really do learn a lot about business: We cover the entire program of a classic MBA, there are many, many things; In fact, what it costs us the most is to divide the course into small pills and not to exceed the 15 minutes a day, because we go over it… there are so many things!
The commitment of the student, who is a year on their side studying on their own, is something to appreciate, because people who are willing to do that type of program, who want to continue learning, is also something to keep in mind. In addition to having learned everything we have taught them, people are willing to continue learning, and can do it by themselves. It is something that companies now, and in the future too, have and will have to value more and more, because people who do not want to learn, will not help a company to go further.
We, unlike the other MBAs, are open to all who want to sign up: There is no selection. In addition, there is a free trial period of 10 days at the beginning, so that people do not have to pay without knowing how it goes.
We are beginning to do a little what Coursera does: Offer a type of certificate that can be verified, even if it is not official. This is something for HR, because if a person says that they have taken our MBA, they can provide a link where HR people can check it, which is a way to certify, even if it is not official. It’s like a private school, but you can check it out.”
“We want to do the projects in groups. We will see when it will come out, and mix the nationalities of the students on purpose. Then, we have also thought, in the city where there are many students (why not?), to organize an annual or monthly meeting with them. At the moment, we do not have so much time to organize it, but for example, it would be possible in Madrid or Paris.
We do not plan to travel or things like that; it’s not what we propose. We just propose a service, a solution that allows people not to waste too much time or money on getting an MBA. So our goal is not to force people to travel.
We have a group of LinkedIn, where almost all students are targeted; they are almost 300 and they are all within the group. I think it’s a great potential, although I we’re not sure how to take advantage of it at the moment. At the moment it is there; some people share things, we share some things with them too, and it goes like this. I’m sure we can do many more things with it, although I do not know yet exactly how.”