Thinking about pursuing a degree in business but not sure where to get started? Before actually committing to a master-level program like an MBA, you can dip your toes by taking individual online business management courses.
Some of these courses are free online offers while others might be a part of an online MBA program that you can take a la carte. Business schools often offer online courses individually and do not necessarily require you to be enrolled in a program.
Whether you’re interested in taking a general, foundational business course or a more specific class in a subject like finance accounting or digital marketing, there is a course out there that will fit your interests. Read on to learn more about the kinds of MBA courses you can take online.
So there are MBA courses out there but what exactly does that mean? To answer that question, we have to review what the MBA curriculum consists of.
A typical MBA core curriculum will include some or all of these core courses:
- Marketing and Marketing Management
- Statistics and Operations
- Leadership and Teamwork
- Financial Accounting
- Accountability, Ethics, and Responsibility
- Human Resource Management
- Global Business
The rest of your classes would be elective courses, including some of the following classes:
- Organizational Development
- Business Math
- Labor Relations
- Quantitative Analysis
- Business Communications
- Information Systems and Computer Applications
- Introduction to Computing
- Business Strategy
- Project Management
- Other specialized management courses
The Basics: Business Plan, Personal Finance, and Entrepreneurship
The US Small Business Administration website hosts its own online educational portal called the Learning Center. These courses are short, free, MOOCs open to all.
They are geared toward small business owners and aspiring small business owners. So, whether you’re looking for tips for improving your business or still trying to learn the basics, the Learning Center is a great resource.
You can enroll in courses like how to write a business plan, financing options for a small business, market research, and young entrepreneurs.
EdX, Harvard and MIT’s MOOC collaboration, also offers these kinds of introductory courses, often in partnership with other colleges and universities. In partnership with Wellesley College, EdX offers several personal finance courses including “Personal Finance Part 1: Investing in Yourself.” The goal of the course is to help you become a smart, discerning consumer and to teach you to make smart life decisions.
English for Career Development
If you do not speak English as a first language, English for business or career development can be a good first step. Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania offer a free online course called “English for Career Development” and intended for non-native English speakers who want to succeed in the global marketplace.
In addition to Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania, the course is co-sponsored and was co-developed by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs.
Project Management and Strategy
If you are looking for low cost or even free online educational opportunities, you can get started on Coursera or Udemy. For example, take a business course with multiple real-world applications like Coursera and the University of Michigan’s free class, “Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills.” Coursera also offers free courses in business English and Financial Markets.
If you are willing and able to invest in some online certificate programs or even individual courses, some platforms offer excellent quality, rigorous paid programs, and classes. EdX also offers several business and management programs and individual courses.
The platform offers over 400 business and management courses in addition to seven programs: Supply Chain Management, Strategic Management, Quantitative Tools for Quality and Productivity, Project Management, Business Management, MBA Core Curriculum, and Master’s Degree in Accounting.
EdX offers a professional certificate in strategic management in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The certificate includes three class requirements that all focus on different aspects of strategy. The main goal of the course is to teach students how to develop a strategy that will maximize their competitive advantage and drive profits.
Meanwhile, RIT, the Rochester Institute of Technology, has collaborated with EdX to offer a MicroMasters program in Project Management. The program includes four graduate-level courses: project management life cycle, best practices for project management success, international project management, and project management micromasters capstone exam.
Coursera offers over 101 different individual courses in leadership. Some courses may be better suited as introductions to leadership while others are targeted to more experienced professionals.
One example of a beginner course is “Teamwork Skills: Communicating Effectively in Groups.” The course, offered in conjunction with the University of Colorado, Boulder, is meant to be an introduction to teamwork and overall professional communication skills. Students can expect to learn decision-making skills, to negotiate preferred outcomes, manage workplace conflict and obstacles, and how to work more effectively as a part of a team.
Harvard Extension School, Harvard University’s arm for continuing education, offers many different individual courses and certificate programs in business and many other fields. Its self-paced online class in business analytics teaches students to read, analyze, and summarize data sets for business purposes.
Students will become comfortable with statistics and be able to test hypotheses to make business and strategy decisions. Note that most of Harvard Extension’s courses are not free. If you can pay for these courses, consider researching how you can apply the courses toward a certificate or maybe, eventually, to a business management degree.
Should You Take MBA Courses Online?
There are so many online MBA course offerings that it may be hard to know where to look. It’s important to do your research first and make sure that the class you are taking will generate a worthy return on investment. This article should point you toward some of the most reputable options out there.