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Dec 23

Merry Christmas from Homemade MBA (and Stanford!)

‘Tis the season, so here is my (slightly early) Christmas present to you other Homemade MBA-ers out there!

Christmas present

Okay, fine, I’ll admit it – I actually am just re-gifting Stanford University’s recent release of fantastic MBA MOOCs that you should take as part of your do it yourself MBA projects!

 

Although there are many other Stanford MOOCs out there, here are the best ones for your  self-study MBAs:

Stanford Online

  • Statistical Learning
    • Offered by Stanford OpenEdX and starting January 19th.
    • Course Description: This is an introductory-level course in supervised learning, with a focus on regression and classification methods. The syllabus includes: linear and polynomial regression, logistic regression and linear discriminant analysis; cross-validation and the bootstrap, model selection and regularization methods (ridge and lasso); nonlinear models, splines and generalized additive models; tree-based methods, random forests and boosting; support-vector machines. Some unsupervised learning methods are discussed: principal components and clustering (k-means and hierarchical).
    • My take:  Statistics is the most important subject in life today.  Bold statement? Yes, of course.  However, statistics are used (manipulated?) in almost every facet of our lives today.  The more you know about statistics, the better.  Soon enough you will find that as a society we are data hungry but information starved.  You need a solid foundation in Statistics to know when you are presented with bad studies and bogus conclusions.
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
    • Offered by NovoEd and starting on January 5th.
    • Course Description: This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now spreading across the world. You will learn the process technology entrepreneurs use to start companies. It involves taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to sell and market the idea, and managing rapid growth. To gain practical experience alongside the theory, students form teams and work on startup projects in those teams. This is the 7th offering of the class. In total nearly 200,000 students from around the world have participated and worked in teams together in this class. The the best teams at the end of the class pitched their ideas to investors. Many of the alumni of the last class are continuing to build their startups and will be mentoring teams this time. By the conclusion of the course, it is our hope that you understand how to: 1. Articulate a process for taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity (high performing students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of alternative theoretical models). 2. Create and verify a plan for gathering resources such as talent and capital. 3. Create and verify a business model for how to sell and market an entrepreneurial idea. 4. Generalize this process to an entrepreneurial mindset of turning problems into opportunities that can be used in larger companies and other settings.
    • My take:  Though there is an overly rosy focus on Technology Entrepreneurship these days, who better to offer such a class than the academic backbone of Silicon Valley?  Regardless of the reasons you should be interested in learning about this, it will be worth the price of admission to hear from the experts in high tech business.
  • Organizational Alaysis
    • Offered by Coursera with a unique, self-paced structure
    • Course Description:   In this introductory, self-paced course, you will learn multiple theories of organizational behavior and apply them to actual cases of organizational change.It is hard to imagine living in modern society without participating in or interacting with organizations. The ubiquity and variability of organizations means there is ample room for complexity and confusion in the organizational challenges we regularly face. Through this course, students will consider cases describing various organizational struggles: school systems and politicians attempting to implement education reforms; government administrators dealing with an international crisis; technology firms trying to create a company ethos that sustains worker commitment; and even two universities trying to gain international standing by performing a merger.

      Each case is full of details and complexity. So how do we make sense of organizations and the challenges they face, let alone develop means of managing them in desired directions? While every detail can matter, some matter more than others. This is why we rely on organizational theories — to focus our attention and draw out relevant features in a sensible way.

      Through this self-paced course you will come to see that there is nothing more practical than a good theory. In every module, you’ll learn a different organizational theory, and it will become a lens through which you can interpret concrete organizational situations. Armed with a toolset of theories, you will then be able to systematically identify important features of an organization and the events transforming it – and use the theories to predict which actions will best redirect the organization in a desired direction.

    • My take:  This class was rated as the best MBA MOOC by the Financial Times in 2013.  My take is that they probably know what they’re talking about.

 

While I think these courses would be fantastic for your self made MBAs, I also think a little down-time over the holidays is a good idea.  If there comes a time when you have to choose between a MOOC and spending time with your friends and family, just remember this – the MOOC will still be there next year!

 

One of the seemingly endless advantages to creating your own MBA is that you set the pace and schedule.  Make sure you enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays.  That way you will start 2015 refreshed, and your enthusiasm for your MBA projects will be renewed!

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