You know Jack

June 22, 2009

Jack Welch, still a corporate icon even as the luster of the Imperial CEO has dimmed, is getting into online education. The former General Electric chief executive is investing $2 million for a 12 percent stake in Chancellor University, the Wall Street Journal reports. As part of the deal, the school’s MBA program will be named the Jack Welch Institute. Welch and his wife, Suzy, will have some hands-on involvement, helping to recruit faculty and shape the curriculum.

Given the reputation of online education, Welch’s involvement promises to either improve the industry’s image or tarnish his own. Douglas McIntyre of Wall Street 24/7 says it is as bad as “Julia Child putting her name on a McDonald’s outlet.”

That may be a bit extreme, but the deal does raise some questions:

1) Will the bottom 5 percent of the MBA class be expelled each year?

2) Will General Electric’s questionable expansion in finance be a case study? Or perhaps there should be a case study of post-Welch purchase of subprime lender WMC Mortgage at nearly the peak of the market?

3) Will the online university have a virtual fraternity – Six Sigma Alpha?

4) Will students be allowed to do extra credit toward the end of a semester so that they can hit their grade targets?

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