Upcoming Essential MOOCs In Business

online EDUCATION“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

That may be true in business. But thanks to platforms like Coursera and EdX, you can get a free education.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are truly revolutionizing education. In the old days, you’d commit years (and tens-of-thousands of dollars) to earning a degree or certificate. Back then, you’d follow the school’s schedule, not your own. Too often, you were stuck with the faculty’s B-team, usually associates or adjuncts looking to freshen their CVs.

Boy, have times changed!

Now, MOOCs provide the proverbial “third way.” Obviously, you won’t earn academic credits or degrees by taking MOOCs (though there are nearly enough business-related MOOCs to cover the core MBA curriculum). Instead, you get education ala carte: What you want and often when you want it. While flexibility is their calling card, quality is becoming what truly differentiates MOOCs. Most of these courses last about six weeks and require between four and six hours a week of your time.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School alone plans on having 15 MOOCs on the Coursera platform before the end of the year. Since the school stepped into the MOOC arena nearly two years ago, 1.1 million students have registered for its courses, including four “Foundation Series” courses modeled on classes in its first-year MBA curriculum. And more are coming.


Just take a look at this month’s offerings.

Want to learn at the feet of a Wharton rock star professor? Check out Mauro Guillén’s Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society. An internationally-renowned scholar and researcher, Guillén teaches highly popular courses on global business at Wharton. In this seven-week course starting May 5th, he’ll examine how globalization is driving massive changes in government, business and economics, and even culture.

Thinking about starting a company? The University of Maryland is offering another section of Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies, ranked as the #1 MOOC for entrepreneurship by Coursetalk, a website devoted to evaluating MOOCs. This six-week course, also starting May 5th, examines the product lifecycle from concept to launch to maturation, covering areas like market research, business models, positioning, pricing, customer expectations, forecasting, and risk management. Each weekly course includes lectures, online readings, and assignments. The objective? To help students “see and act entrepreneurially,” so they can “develop great ideas into great companies.”

Looking to break into the music business? You won’t find a better resource than Berklee’s John P. Kellogg, an entertainer, lawyer, and scholar who has represented artists who’ve hit the Top 40 charts. Starting May 27th, this course will teach students the basics of copyrights and recording deals, including 360-degree contracts that allow companies to tap into artist revenue streams beyond recordings. Kellogg will also cover the changes arising from the digital age, from online advertising to subscription models.

Want to understand why Google has become so powerful and influential in the media business? Check out Northwestern University’s new six-week MOOC that takes apart the search engine giant. The course starts May 26 and will be taught by Chicago Tribune editorial and business veteran turned professor Owen Youngman. He’ll explore how journalists, marketers, politicians, and social networks are leveraging Google to reach consumers and impact their views and behavior.

And that doesn’t include this month’s MOOCs covering quantitative finance, emotionally intelligent leadership, project management, investment strategy, and stress management.

Here are our picks of the more than 20 essential business MOOCs that are starting between May 1st and May 31st:

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