With HBS CORe, Harvard Business Opens Online Program

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Harvard Business School (HBS) is opening its online program in business basics to students worldwide. The school is also inviting admitted MBA students to enroll in the program as a pre-MBA boot camp experience, particularly for non-traditional admits or those who need more basic quantitative work before showing up on campus.

The registration opened on January 12 for the spring and summer 2015. The new HBX CORe program is an online learning initiative that provides a primer on the fundamentals of business with a suite of three integrated courses: Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. The program, taught by a team of HBS faculty members, is designed specifically for rising college sophomores, juniors, and seniors; current and prospective graduates, and those in the first ten years of their careers.

These latest changes could put the program in competition with Executive MBA programs which demand a greater time commitment from managers with 10 or more years of work experience. EMBA programs cover more ground, but Harvard’s imprimatur on this program of business basics could make it appealing to managers who otherwise would attend second-tier EMBA programs. CORe more directly competes with summer business programs for undergraduate students put on by such schools as UC-Berkeley and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

Bharat N. Anand, faculty chair of HBX, explained:

“We positioned it as a program for Humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors. We ended up getting roughly a third from the Humanities, a third from the Humanities, a third STEM and another third from economics, social science, and business undergraduates. That was the rough breakdown.”

HBS also allows applicants anywhere in the world to apply for start dates in February, April and June. The deadline for applications for the April 15th intake is March 25, while the deadline for the cohort that begins June 3rd will be May 13.

Anand further explained about the new online program:

“In the summer group, we restricted it to Massachusetts enrolled students and kids of alumni. In the fall, we restricted it to B- to-B. Now we are opening it up and it is available to anyone anywhere, up to ten years out of undergraduate. We gradually increasing the eligibility. There are a lot of career switchers who want to understand business better, even entrepreneurs who have run their own companies but now want to run their own firms more systematically. The number of applications we received from people who are 13 or 15 years out of college was fascinating.”

Anand expects roughly 20% of the next incoming class at HBS, some 150 to 200 students out of slightly more than 900, to take CORe this year.