As a former Big Ten student, I know March Madness might consume a disproportionate amount of your time and energy this month. However, for those of you looking to improve your business skills with free MBA and business school MOOCs, here are a few new courses I recommend taking a closer look at this month from Coursera and NovoEd.
Coursera’s March Madness MBA MOOC lineup:
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
- Offered by: University of Michigan
- Course Description: This course provides you with a practical, holistic introduction to the strategies and skills that can lead to successful negotiations in your personal life and in business transactions. The course covers the four key stages of negotiation: (1) planning, (2) negotiating, (3) creating a contract, and (4) performing the contract. Each stage examines the key questions that you should be prepared to answer in future negotiations.
- My take: Negotiation is an often overlooked area of business concentration. While Accounting and Finance may be the language of business, they are ultimately put to use through negotiation in most business contexts. As this course rightly points out, we all negotiate in our daily lives – regardless of our career roles and choices. For that reason alone this course out to be on your list.
- Offered by: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
- My take: I am a huge fan of the University of Virginia Darden Strategy course I took, and can’t imagine a better free course on business strategy. However, I mention this Competitive Strategy here because it is offered by a German university, and am interested to see if their approach is similar to the American one.
Law and the Entrepreneur
- Offered by: Northwestern University
- Course Description: This course will highlight the critical legal and business issues entrepreneurs face as they build and launch a new venture. We will explore real world scenarios, and address the legal and business issues that entrepreneurs face, from the moment they conceive of the “million dollar idea” to all of the important junctures along the path to success.
- My take: as litigious as our society is, it can’t hurt to learn some basics of law. If you have a successful business or business idea, you will inevitably need to get some legal assistance to protect your intellectual property, and this course looks like it will arm you with some essential knowledge to help you along your way to entrepreneurial success. It may not make you an IP attorney, but it will probably help you choose a good one to help you protect your future business venture.
NovoEd’s March Madness MBA MOOC:
Design Thinking for Innovative Problem Solving: A Step-by-Step Project Course
- Offered by: University of Virginia, Darden School of Business
- Course Description: In this new online program, you’ll apply the design-thinking process to one of your real-life challenges. Using a clear, guided process that combines creative right-brained thinking-such as brainstorming and visualization-with traditional left-brained analysis, you will reach an innovative solution.
- My take: As I mentioned above, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Strategy course I took during my own Homemade MBA project was fantastic. I can only imagine this course will follow suit, or potentially take it up a notch. As such, I wholeheartedly recommend trying this course. Well…at $395, it may not be wholehearted, but at least majority-hearted.
So there you have it. If you aren’t a basketball fan, or want to get that next promotion into a management position, take a look at these free business school MOOCs. Based on my experience creating my own MBA, these should be winners and will arm you with the business skills you need.