01 Dec 2017
HBS Online Certificate Programs Offer Unique Insight Into Business
HBX course participants at ConneXt
When Harvard Business School Online, formerly called HBX, was first conceptualized, the goal was to create a transformational educational experience with a “digital-first” approach that was active, social, and case-based. Inspired by HBS’s distinctive pedagogy, it would be unlike anything else offered online. In addition to launching its first program, CORe (Credential of Readiness)—which teaches the fundamentals of business—HBS Online has created Certificate Programs, a portfolio of courses designed to provide individuals, and in some cases leadership teams, with deep insight into a particular business topic.
As one familiar with game-changing environments, Professor Clayton Christensen signed on to develop the first course, Disruptive Strategy. It is one of five courses, but is the only one that can be tailored to the needs of a management team. Participants can explore issues related to their company in private online, applying Christensen’s theories and frameworks to find solutions to strategic questions posed by their executive sponsor.
The Certificate Programs are built on an asynchronous platform, which means participants set their own schedules. They spend about six hours each week on coursework and assignments in tandem with fellow global cohort members so that all progress through the six-week course together. Videos featuring the instructor and case protagonists, peer-to-peer interactions with virtual classmates around the world, and “cold calls” are incorporated into this highly social learning experience.
“We took a digital-first approach that leveraged aspects of the case method where it made sense and included features that are unique and can only be done in an online platform,” says HBS Online Executive Director Patrick Mullane (MBA 1999). Approximately 88 percent of HBS Online participants successfully finish their courses, compared to percentages in the single digits for MOOCs (massive open online courses).
Other courses include Leading with Finance with Professor Mihir Desai, Negotiation Mastery with Professor Michael Wheeler, Becoming a Better Manager with the late professor David Garvin, and a new course, Entrepreneurship Essentials with Professor William Sahlman.
Since 2014, more than 5,000 individuals and team members from companies such as Intel and Athena Health have taken the HBS Online certificate courses. The reaction of one participant is indicative of the positive responses HBS Online has received: “Disruptive Strategy introduced me to new ways to think about problems, products, businesses, and just everything in life,” says Daniella Patrick, Innovation Lab product manager at Accenture. “Professor Christensen’s concepts have equipped me with a new lens through which I can view and analyze the world.”
Class of MBA 1999, Section B