For each course in my homemade MBA curriculum, I will provide before-and-after commentary – think of it as a Coursera course review.  The before section will cover my expectations going into the course and any specific reasons I chose to take it.  The after section will be a reflection of what I thought of the course (format, material, professor, workload, etc.), what I learned vs. what I expected to learn, and whether or not I would recommend it to others (and why).  I hope this Coursera course-review format is useful for the rest of you out there who are making your own homemade MBAs using Coursera.


Homemade MBA Coursera course:  Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

Image of Coursera course title for Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

  • Parent University:  Case Western Reserve University
  • Description:
    • Great leaders move us through our emotions. They establish a deep emotional connection with others called resonance. Their own levels of emotional intelligence allow them to create and nurture these resonant relationships. They use their EI as a path to resonant leadership through mindfulness, hope, compassion, and playfulness. Unfortunately, most people in leadership and helping positions (i.e., doctors, teachers, coaches, etc.) lose their effectiveness over time because of the cumulative damage from chronic stress. But humans can renew themselves, neurologically, hormonally, and emotionally.
    • Based on decades of research into emotional intelligence competencies and longitudinal studies of their development, the course will examine resonance and developing “resonant leadership” capability, emotional intelligence, and the experiences of mindfulness, hope, and compassion. Using the latest in neuroscience, behavioral, organizational and psychological research, participants will understand the theory, research, and experience of the Positive Emotional Attractor that is an essential beginning to sustained, desired change for individuals, teams, organizations and communities.
    • The course will consist of nine classes, with three or so modules per class, to be taken over 8 weeks. Each module will consist of a video, assigned and recommended readings, reflective exercises, writing in your Personal Journal, and on-line, asynchronous discussions. Each class will have personal learning assignments to use and tests of comprehension.


Chosen to replicate the HBS MBA course: Leadership and Organizational Behavior

  • Description:  This course focuses on how managers become effective leaders by addressing the human side of enterprise.




Expectations going in:

  • I expect to learn about the unique challenges of managing people in an organization.  I also expect to identify some of my personal management strengths and weaknesses, and to learn some skills to improve my management style/technique.

Specific reasons I chose this course:

  • I added this course to my homemade MBA curriculum mid-way through my “first semester” when I realized International Organizations Management wasn’t focused on the type of content I was expecting.  I added Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence to replace the HBS course Leadership and Organizational Behavior in my Homemade MBA.



My thoughts of the course:

  • Format – chaotic
    • It seemed to me that the creators of this class (be it from the Case Western Reserve University side or Coursera) made it their mission to use every single possible tool, feature, bell, and whistle that Coursera has to offer somewhere in this class.  It was annoying to the point of distracting trying to keep up with all the various components involved in each week of this class.  From memory, there were the normal video lectures, but also usually a few YouTube videos, mandatory discussion forum posts (and responses to other students’ posts), weekly “action learning assignments” and “personal learning assignments,” required readings, and end-of-unit quizzes each week.  Now, that’s just silly. It was also a little difficult to find the deadlines for each assignment and to keep track of the penalties if you are a week late, vs. two weeks late, etc.
  • Material –  good
    • If you overlook the format issues, the actual material presented in this class was quite good.  The video lectures were very high quality (see image below), and made good use of the unique features available specifically to video lectures.
A screenshot from Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence showing the high quality video lectures

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence – high quality video lectures

    • For example, the professor would present a question or an exercise and then ask you to “hit the pause button” while you completed the exercise or answered the question.  Then, a few seconds later, he would resume the lecture and discuss the activity you did while the video was paused.  Basic? Yes.  Effective? Yes.  This is the right way to use a video lecture.
  • Professor –  good lecturer
    • Prof. Boyatzis was a very engaging speaker, and did a great job of speaking directly into the camera – which makes it feel like he’s looking and speaking one-on-one to me, the viewer.
A screenshot from Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence showing the professor's engaging lecture style

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence – professor’s engaging lecture style

    • This style made the lectures easy to watch, and very personal-feeling (despite knowing that there were something like 50,000 other students watching the same thing!).  The lectures were also compact and scripted, which made for a quick and pleasant viewing experience.
  • Workload – medium
    • As griped about above, the main workload in this class seemed to be managing all the various components and their deadlines.  Each individual deliverable was neither particularly time consuming nor difficult, but the task of juggling all the tasks each week was tiring.  The course workload was fine, I just would have preferred to spend my time and energy in ways that felt more productive and meaningful.
  • Other
    • As I mentioned in my First Impressions post about Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, I have always thought emotional intelligence is important – not just in a work or leadership context, but also in everyday life.  People with high emotional intelligence are the ones you want to be friends with.  They are the people in social situations that just get it.  And although I thought this class could have been better, I think that the focus of this class is spot-on; Emotional Intelligence is crucial to successful leadership.


What I learned vs. what I expected to learn

  • Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence met my expectations (learning about the human element of leadership and management in an organization).  It also fulfilled my requirement of replacing Harvard’s Leadership and Organizational Behavior as part of my Homemade MBA curriculum.  Through some of the exercises and activities in the class, I was able to identify my leadership/management tendencies, and was also presented with some techniques to adjust those tendencies if desired.  For these reasons, I am satisfied overall with the course and its content.


Would I recommend Case Western Reserve University’s Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence to others?

  • Yes and No – depending on your preferences.

Why/Why not

  • I’m torn.  If they would strip this class of all the superfluous tasks and opt for a more traditional format; then, yes.  As it is with all the distracting bells and whistles; no.  Given, this is just a reflection of my personal preference for clean-cut, straightforward content and deliverables.

As a reminder, each course of my homemade MBA curriculum replicates a course from Harvard Business School’s first-year Required Curriculum (as noted here in my post explaining how I made my homemade MBA curriculum).

Image of my Coursera Statement of Accomplishment from Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence Statement of Accomplishment

If you have any thoughts or questions about Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence, or my review of it, please let me know in the comments section below.


1 ping

    • Jonathan on March 27, 2014 at 2:08 am
    • Reply

    I just spotted this course from Wharton, which looks like it could be a good leadership substitute:


    • tickern on April 3, 2015 at 9:57 am
    • Reply


    I find you website really informative and appreciate the work you are doing.
    I’ve finished a Bachelor, have some years work experience and interested in doing a Master degree with MOOC courses.

    Unfortunately, I still dont get the full picture and I’m hoping you can help me to get it clarified.

    Imagine, if I’ve decided which MOOC courses to take and doing successful. The question, I have is. How and from where I will get on the end of all completed MOOC courses my Master degree, from which University?

    I hope you can helm with it and clarify it.

    Thank you for help and.


    1. Hi Erik, thanks for the comment. I think I should clarify – in completing a Homemade MBA you will not receive an MBA degree from a University. This is a self-study pursuit in which you will gain business school knowledge an understanding, but no degree. The only credential a Homemade MBA could offer is the individual Certificates of Completion from Coursera, but these are by no means a degree.

      Again, if it is the degree you are after you will not receive one from this website, or by creating your own DIY MBA.

      Best of luck with your future studies!

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