MBA MOOCs from Stanford Online

World-class academic powerhouse Stanford is leading the way in the MOOC revolution.  They offer a diverse range of classes on both business and non-business topics.  Stanford also splits their MOOC courses on various platforms including Coursera and NovoEd, so you have the chance to experience more than one MOOC platform as well.  I highly recommend some of Stanford’s online business classes for your self study MBA projects.

Stanford Online


1. Course title:  Organizational Analysis (self-paced)

  • Link to course
  • Professor: Daniel McFarland
  • MOOC Platform: Coursera
  • 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.

2.  Course title:  Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis

  • Link to course
  • Professor: Matthew O. Jackson
  • MOOC Platform: Coursera
  • Course Description:
Social networks pervade our social and economic lives.   They play a central role in the transmission of information about job opportunities and are critical to the trade of many goods and services. They are important in determining which products we buy, which languages we speak, how we vote, as well as whether or not we decide to become criminals, how much education we obtain, and our likelihood of succeeding professionally.   The countless ways in which network structures affect our well-being make it critical to understand how social network structures impact behavior, which network structures are likely to emerge in a society, and why we organize ourselves as we do.  This course provides an overview and synthesis of research on social and economic networks, drawing on studies by sociologists, economists, computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians.
The course begins with some empirical background on social and economic networks, and an overview of concepts used to describe and measure networks.   Next, we will cover a set of models of how networks form, including random network models as well as strategic formation models, and some hybrids.   We will then discuss a series of models of how networks impact behavior, including contagion, diffusion, learning, and peer influences.

3.  Course title:  Technology Entrepreneurship (Part 2)

  • Link to course
  • Professor: Chuck Eesley
  • MOOC Platform: NovoEd
  • Course Description:

This is the second half of a course that introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now spreading across the world. Last time, nearly 40,000 students from around the world participated and worked in teams together. The top teams were matched with Silicon Valley mentors, and 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: – 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). – Create and verify a plan for gathering resources such as talent and capital. – Create and verify a business model for how to sell and market an entrepreneurial idea. – Generalize this process to an entrepreneurial mindset of turning problems into opportunities that can be used in larger companies and other settings.

I also highly recommend joining the Stanford Online email list, as they do a good job of sending out new course notifications and updates about course offerings.  Alternatively, you could always just check back here and I will try to post the latest MBA MOOC news and online MBA courses on!

M is for Massive, but don’t Misuse My MOOCs

Those of you who have followed my Homemade MBA project know I have completed many business MOOCs to make my own MBA.  As a result of taking so many MOOCS, I am on a lot of University email lists.  Just this week, I received two very different emails showcasing both the beautiful and beastly possibilities of the MOOC revolution – MOOC email lists.

Read my full article here in the MOOC News section of Homemade MBA to hear my reflection on the right way and the wrong way to use MOOCs (and MOOC course email lists).

NovoEd’s Business Courses: Why Pay?

In their recent September newsletter, NovoEd published their latest list of MOOC course offerings.  A few items of interest included some promising business courses for you homemade MBA makers out there.

NovoEd Logo

New NovoEd online business course MOOCs that may pique your interest:

  1. Writing a Successful Business Plan
  2. Startup CEO
  3. Storytelling at Work


Writing a Successful Business Plan will be brought to you by Robert Calvin, an adjunct professor of Entrepreneurship and Marketing from the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School.  As the course title would suggest, the content of this business MOOC will focus on writing a business plan.  Though this seems obvious enough, it appears that Prof. Calvin will emphasize keeping the business plan realistic and useful, while also making sure your tick the boxes required to use the business plan to pitch to investors.  This is one of NovoEd’s “premium” courses, and will set up back $29.


Startup CEO will be taught by real-world entrepreneurs Matt Blumberg and Clint Corver.  Matt  is the CEO of Return Path, and Clint is the COO of NovoEd itself.  This course promises to

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On-demand: The Future of Learning with MOOCs

As Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) gain more momentum and credibility, people are beginning to consider the impact of on-demand learning to both the college experience and professional development.


In a great article titled “The Future of Professional Development: Online, Free, and Just-in-Time,” by Jeff Selingo, the author of College (Un)Bound, we consider the impact of MOOCs on professionals in the workforce.

College Unbound book

In his article, Jeff points our that the need for refreshing our professional skills and knowledge is never-ending, and brick-and-mortar colleges and universities aren’t keeping up.  MOOCs, however, are not only keeping up, but pushing the pace even faster.

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Homemade MBA Progress Report: June 29, 2014

This week I started the final course in my Homemade MBA plan – Globalization and You.  You can see my first impressions here in my appropriately named First Impressions: Globalization and You post.


Back to my beloved Gantt charts!  I haven’t updated these in a while, mainly because it wasn’t as critical to keep track of everything when I was only doing one course at a time.  Nonetheless, here is my updated chart:

Homemade MBA Progress Report 6-26-2014

Homemade MBA Progress Report 6-29-2014

The Gantt chart does a good job of illustrating why I haven’t posted as many Progress Reports over the last few months.  There just hasn’t been that much to say on the Coursera front.


This has worked well for me, as I transitioned to a new job in February/March and I have been much busier than I was when I started this project last year.  The flexibility offered by doing a self-study MBA like this is one of the biggest benefits of a homemade MBA vs. a traditional MBA.  I can still cover the topics I want to cover and learn the material, but I can adjust the pace according to my work schedule.  This really is ideal for a full-time employee.


Anyway, I will keep you updated throughout Globalization and You.  You can look forward to me sharing any interesting tidbits or articles as we march through the next 10 weeks of content.


After that, I will spend some time reflecting on my homemade MBA project.  I will revisit some of the advice you all provided in the comments section (e.g. other MOOC platforms, courses, etc.), and see what the next step in my homemade MBA project should be!

First Impressions: Globalization and You

First of all, well done with the introductory video.  Not only did you tell us what to expect in the class, you showed us a bit of personality as well.

Globalization and YouUniversity of Washington logo

I like the fact that you filmed the intro video after filming the rest of the content, so you can refer to specific things that we should watch out for as viewers.  It was also extremely refreshing that you poked fun of yourself a little bit, and showed that there is some fun and trial and error in the process of creating these MOOCs.


I also liked that you introduced your camera crew and grad students, as any undertaking like this is surely a team effort.  Well done, Prof. Sparke.  We’re off to a good start.


Okay, a few nit picks.  The graphic for the course is a bit 90’s, as is the intro and outro music.  While it can be a good touch to have these features to bookend the content of a video lecture, poorly executed ones such as this are just kind of annoying.

Harvard’s HBX: a misguided MOOC

There was a fantastic article in today’s New York Times called “Business School, Disrupted.”  The article discusses Harvard Business School’s strategy for online education.  Their solution: charge $1,500 for three online business school courses.


Called the Credentials of Readiness (with the clever acronym CORe), your $1,500 investment grants you access to online courses covering Accounting, Analytics, and Economics for Managers.  You will have nine weeks to complete the trio, at which point you will receive a paper credential with a grade of either high honors, honors, or pass.


HBX’s strategy is about the exact opposite of most MOOC’s.  When asked about their approach, the executive director of HBX, Jana Kierstead, commented, “We don’t want tourists.  Our goal is to be very credible to employers.”


In other words, HBX isn’t interested in those who are truly intellectually curious, and want to expand their skill sets by participating in a decentralized academic exercise.  They want to sell a piece of paper that employers will value.  Pity.


The article depicts a divided Harvard Business School, citing rock-star faculty members Clayton Christensen and Michael Porter with contrasting opinions of the online education debate.  The students themselves are also split; some think that HBS’s brand value and elite standing will prevent MOOCs from having an impact, whereas others think even the mighty HBS will be touched by the MOOC revolution.


Harvard Business School Dean Nohria believes their MBA program is not at risk.  Drawing on the analogy that has not replaced all retailers, he thinks that MOOCs will not replace such prestigious institutions as HBS.  He also mentions that MOOCs are more suited for lecture-based classrooms, not the case-based teaching method employed by HBS.


Dean Nohria is a very smart man, but I think his perspective is severely influenced by confirmation bias and a lack of personal experience with MOOCs.  If Dean Nohria had completed the MOOCs that I have during this Homemade MBA project, I think he would be much less confident in his assertions.  Then again, he has a slightly vested interest in his traditional bread-and-butter MBA program.


This great article concludes by pondering the longer-term future of MOOCs and the education system.  Which universities will be impacted first?  Will all universities as we know them always exist?  Will rock-star professors like Mr. Christensen and Mr. Porter become their own educational entities, and use their established reputations as management gurus to go it alone with MOOCs as a mouthpiece?


Like you, I don’t have the answers.  But if my Homemade MBA has taught me anything, it’s that MOOCs absolutely will reshape the educational landscape.  Free-access MOOCs might be a trend only for us early adopters, but decentralized, internet-based classrooms are here to stay.

MOOC News – Don’t be a MOOC Dropout!

As I find news about MOOCs, I will try to post the links to MOOC articles and MOOC stories in the MOOC News section of this site.  Please share the MOOC info you find here as well and hopefully we can build a useful MOOC news library for everyone to use.


This article, called, “Don’t be a MOOC Dropout: How to Survive and Thrive in a Massive Open Online Course,” is from (see link below).  This article was suggested by the professor of my upcoming Intro to Public Speaking course (University of Washington) on Coursera.

MOOC News and Reviews


This is a good introduction to MOOCS, and is probably of the most benefit to those of you out there who are new to the MOOC scene.  For those of you who have taken a bunch of Massive Open Online Courses, then perhaps the last part about things to do after a MOOC could be of interest to you.


Either way, enjoy the article, and good luck with your MOOC-ing!

Hello from Asia!

My apologies for the unprecedented gap in posts – I just relocated from Europe to Asia, and have been a bit busy!   This move comes as a result of taking on a new position at work (same company).


Now that I am (more or less) settled again, I can pick up where I left off with my homemade MBA.  In addition to being free and available online, this geographical flexibility is what makes a homemade MBA so great!  If I was at a brick-and-mortar MBA program, not only would I have missed out on this fantastic job opportunity (because I wouldn’t be working, obviously), but I also wouldn’t even have the option of relocating.  With my do-it-yourself MBA, I am 100% flexible with the timing, location, and pace of my MBA studies.  How can a traditional program compete with that!?


Once I find a few more spare minutes, I will post my normal Homemade MBA Progress Report to bridge the gap between my last update and now.  I also owe you all a summary of Critical Perspectives on Management – the latest MOOC I completed.


For those of you who follow this site, or are working on your own self-study MBAs in Asia please get in touch with me via the comments section and let me know what you’re up to.  I enjoyed my time in Europe, but I’m happy to be back in Asia!

Homemade MBA Progress Report: February 2, 2014

This week I made it through two weeks of material in Critical Perspectives on Management.  I’m happy to report that the course material is still very high quality, with very well-made video lectures.  I’m really impressed with the editing touches IE Business School (and/or Prof. Rolf Strom-Olsen) has made for this class.


The Gantt chart for this week:

A Gantt Chart showing my progress on my Homemade MBA as of Feb. 2, 2014

Homemade MBA Progress Report: February 2, 2014

And the details of my lack of progress this week:

  • Critical Perspectives on Management:  I made it through the material and quizzes for Week 2 and Week 3.  The required reading took a bit of time this week (first three Chapters of “The Box,” a book about the history of the shipping container and its impact on the global economy), but it was very interesting and enjoyable.


One thing I have noticed in Critical Perspectives on Management thus far is that the quizzes for this class, though short, are pretty tough.  The wording and answer options (the quizzes are multiple choices), remind me of graduate level quizzes/exams.  I think this is a good thing, as it increases the difficulty of the course and makes it feel more like a graduate level management course than some of the other classes I have taken as part of my Homemade MBA.


I will be traveling for work a lot this month, so it might be a bit of a struggle to keep up with this course for Week 4 and Week 5.  Also, Yale’s Financial Markets is coming up at the end of the month, so I can’t afford to fall behind in this class.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up, keep you up to date with my progress, and (most importantly) keep learning!