“When it comes to success in business, an MBA degree is optional. But a GSD, which is only earned by Getting Stuff Done, is required.” – Christine Comaford-Lynch

iTunes U FreeSo the title of this post (the MBA for Free part) is a bit of a stretch, but it begs the follow up question: who has the time and money to get an MBA? Plus unless it’s from Wharton or some other top tier school, will you really see a return on your investment.

For this reason, I’ve never seriously considered getting my MBA. But often, I’ve fantasized about going back to school for the sheer delight of learning. While I never liked the competitive aspect of school, I miss being mentally challenged in such a way that results from an inspiring lecture.

iTunes U to the rescue. A place where education evolves and the campus never sleeps. According to the Los Angeles Times, the iPod Lecture Circuit is just a FREE download away:

By making hundreds of lectures from elite academic institutions available online for free, Apple is reinvigorating the minds of people who have been estranged from the world of ideas. For several years universities have posted recorded lectures on their internal websites, giving students a chance to brush up on their classes or catch ones they missed. But 28 colleges and universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Yale, now post select courses without charge at iTunes.

I’m hooked. Here’s what I’ve been listening to on my morning run:

  • Home Truths about the Housing Market (Wharton)
  • What’s Ahead for Financial Markets? (Wharton)
  • Globalization and its Effects (Duke)
  • Giving Away Money: An Economist’s Guide to Political Life (Stanford / Duke)
  • Michael Munger on Recycling (Stanford / Duke)

It sounds like school and it feels good to be learning something new. How did this phenomenon come about? The LA Times continues:

Apple began working with Duke University in late 2004 to broadcast classes from its website using iTunes software and has expanded the service to other schools. Separately, some universities started putting lectures on the iTunes store in the form of podcasts, which are free video or audio recordings that anyone can download to their computer or iPod.

The downloads have surged since May, when Apple began featuring lessons on the iTunes home page under the heading iTunes U. For example, the 86 courses UC Berkeley offers are now being downloaded 50,000 times a week, up from 15,000 before Apple’s promotion.

Want to learn for free? Head on over to iTunes U. And while you won’t earn a degree, I can promise you’ll be inspired.