It’s no surprise that online courses have seen a surge in interest this year as professionals locked-down by coronavirus upskill at home. In April 2020 alone, Harvard Business School’s online courses received five times more visits than in the period of January to March.
With COVID-19 making the jobs market more competitive, even for MBA graduates, it makes sense that people are looking for ways to add to their resumes and stand out from the crowd.
Harvard Business School offers a wealth of courses on its online learning platform HBS Online—covering topics like entrepreneurship, sustainability, analytics, and finance—and any one of them could prove useful in reaching the next step in your career.
Here’s nine Harvard Business School online courses to take during lockdown:
1. CORe (Credential of Readiness)
Duration: 10-17 weeks, 8-15 hours per week
HBS’ flagship online course, CORe, is a full introduction to business, consisting of three courses in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. This one is marked by its flexibility, allowing you to complete the required three-hour final exam any time, as well as offering different durations and start dates throughout the year. The course is assessed by online coursework alongside case studies centered on companies including Walt Disney, The New York Times, and PepsiCo. The course is aimed at college students, those considering graduate school, and mid-career professionals with business fundamentals.
2. Entrepreneurship Essentials
Duration: 4 weeks, 6-8 hours per week
For anyone looking to get a head start with building your own business, the Entrepreneurship Essentials course from HBS is the perfect way to begin. This short, intensive course covers evaluating ideas and assessing the market, raising capital, and identifying risks, with multiple start dates each year so you can pick it up at any stage of your business journey.
3. Sustainable Business Strategy
Duration: 3 weeks, 7-9 hours per week
This innovative course is perfect for anyone considering a career in sustainable business—always a timely topic. Taught by Rebecca Henderson, a HBS professor and research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the course dives into corporate social responsibility, examining industry disruption, business as a catalyst for change, and how to be a purpose-driven leader. Case studies are taken from Unilever and Walmart among others, and the course ends with students developing a personal plan for the action they can actually take to create change.
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4. Alternative Investments
Duration: 5 weeks, 6-7 hours per week
As the global economy is expected to shrink 3% this year, plenty of people will be looking for ways to make their money go further. HBS’ Alternative Investments program is the ideal starting place for exploring investing, and explores opportunities as diverse as hedge funds, real estate, private equity and private debt with the ultimate aim of giving students confidence to assess investments themselves. The course is taught by three finance professors at HBS, so you know be getting a rigorous course, and offers two start dates in October 2020 and January 2021.
5. Negotiation Mastery
Duration: 8 weeks, 4-5 hours per week
This short course offers budding managers the chance explore negotiation strategies with Michael Wheeler, who has taught negotiation at HBS since 1993. Each of the four modules explores a different aspect to negotiation, with interviews with company leaders complimenting the syllabus. The course is built partially around personal goals, which you’ll set at the beginning of the course, and includes reflection at the end on how you will utilise your skills in future negotiation opportunities.
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6. Management Essentials
Duration: 8 weeks, 4-7 hours per week
The perfect basics course for anyone looking to move into graduate business education, Management Essentials, part of CORe, aims to turn students into skilled management professionals. Alongside intensive case studies exploring events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 2010 Chilean Mining Rescue, students will explore decision making, successful change processes, and how to manage growing businesses. Whether you’ve just moved into a management role or aspire to be a CEO one day, this course will teach you all the basics.
7. Disruptive Strategy
Duration: 6 weeks, 5 hours per week
The Disruptive Strategy course was created by Clayton Christensen, a New York Times best-selling and one of the world’s foremost innovation and disruption experts, and could be the ticket for succeeding in today’s ‘new normal’. Students will explore how to identify threats, develop a strategic mindset, and how to innovate, with industry case studies diving into entertainment, healthcare, and digital innovation. The course includes a team project component as well as a final paper and one-on-one interview.
Harvard Business School Online Courses
8. Business Analytics
Duration: 8 weeks, 5 hours per week
With data becoming an increasingly important component of everyday life, HBS’ Business Analytics will give you the skills to be confident in interpreting data and making decisions. The course is taught by one of Harvard’s own MBA professors, and introduces concrete skills such as exploring data sets, analysing variables, and implementing analytical skills in Excel. Examined through short quizzes throughout the course, you’ll mainly learn through practical analysis and through exploring case studies.
9. Global Business
Duration: 4 weeks, 6-8 hours per week
In today’s ever-changing business environment, thrown into sharper focus by Coronavirus, understanding the global economy and varied social and political factors affecting business could mean the different between success and failure. The Global Business course examines these issues and helps build a solid foundation in macroeconomics. You’ll learn in part through interviews with company leaders, exploring the effects of environmental change, political risks, and government spending on businesses.
Applying for HBS Online Courses
All Harvard’s online courses require the completion of a brief application where you’ll be asked for some personal background information and which varies slightly for each program. The majority of applications are accepted.
You can also get tuition assistance for the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, as well as the Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting certificate programs.
Online courses are cheaper than going to business school, but are they worth the investment? For your next read, check out our article: