Go Back to School With MasterClass

Tennis taught by Serena and film lessons from Scorsese—this startup helps you become an expert by learning from one.

Whether you’re looking to hone a skill or pick up a new one, MasterClass makes the learning process exciting by putting experts in charge. A single class costs $90, or the All-Access Pass ($180 a year) gives members the ability to take any available course. We chatted with co-founder and CEO David Rogier about why MasterClass just might change your life.

On MasterClass’ beginnings: Our mission is to make it possible for anybody in the world to be able to learn from the best. The big inspiration came from my grandmother, who had an extremely tough life. She fled to New York City from Poland to escape the Nazis, and she eventually became a doctor. And the lesson she always taught me was that education is the only thing someone can’t take away from you.

Class rules: MasterClass’ online classes are an average of two to five hours, and you can learn at your own pace, from any place, on almost any device. You can start with just doing an under 10-minute lesson, or you can also decide to dive all the way in—it’d take years to go through everything [we offer]. And you can do it on your phone, or your television. Our mission is to make it possible for anybody in the world to be able to learn from the best, and our instructors have devoted their lives to honing their craft.

On choosing instructors: At first, it was really hard to get anybody to say yes. Now, we say no to nine out of 10 people. We’re looking for somebody who is the best in the world, a master of their craft. A really good test of that is, Would other masters want to learn from them? Steph Curry—do other players want to learn how to shoot from Steph? Of course. That’s kind of a rule of thumb.

Why MasterClass could change your life: There’s only one place online where you can take a class from Martin Scorsese or Annie Leibovitz or Steph Curry. The things that they teach are in a level of depth that you can’t get anywhere else. These people all have done press interviews and things like that, but this is them diving into their craft. And what they’re going to teach you isn’t just their craft, but also life lessons that can change how you see and do things—they can change who you are as a person.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Melissa Flandreau is an editor of this magazine. Email her at melissa.flandreau@paceco.com.

Photography courtesy of MasterClass

Originally Published March 2020