My homemade MBA curriculum – a copy of HBS’ Required Curriculum

As I mentioned previously, I took a look at Harvard’s MBA curriculum to see what the key components of a good business school education are.  Why Harvard?  Easy – it’s the best.  Harvard Business School is not only the pioneer of business education, but consistently ranks as the #1 business school in both domestic and international business school rankings.  Unless you are an alumnus of the likes of Wharton or Stanford, I think we can all agree that HBS is the best business school to use for my curriculum benchmarking exercise.


For this project, I am focused on the core curriculum of the business school.  Most business schools have some kind of core coursework requirement.  At Harvard, it’s the first year – called the Required Curriculum.  The second year at Harvard is filled with electives that allow each student some freedom to customize their MBA.  For my purposes, I’m looking at just the core – the Required Curriculum.


As you can see from their website, the Required Curriculum looks like this:                              HBSRequiredCurriculum

Using this is my ideal curriculum, I set out to find free, online courses that cover the same fundamental material.  Again, my goal is to acquire the same knowledge and skills from my homemade MBA as I would have at a real brick and mortar MBA program.


I was shocked at how easy it was to build my homemade MBA curriculum.  In practically no time, I found free, online courses on Coursera that align almost perfectly with the HBS MBA Required Curriculum.  Here’s what my curriculum comparison looks like:


Insert “that was easy” button here.


I’m interested to hear what you think of this curriculum for a self study MBA?  What’s missing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The Idea: a homemade MBA

Can I gain the same knowledge and skills through a self-taught MBA as I would through a real MBA at a brick and mortar school?


I’m really excited about this idea.  I’ll define what I mean by the “homemade MBA” in more detail in another post, but for now I just want to get started with this project.


The best first step in any endeavor is research.  The internet has a lot to say about self-study MBAs.  However, I found that most roads lead to Mr. Josh Kaufman and his notion of the Personal MBA.  His site certainly piqued my interest, and I decided to buy the book and see for myself what it has to say (a quick guess from what I can gather prior to reading the book – it’s a synthesis of a bunch of business books that Josh read).  Unlike Mr. Kaufman, I think it takes more than just reading to learn effectively.  As such, I am going to focus less on textbook and business book reading, and more on free online courses for the content of my homemade MBA.


Step two of my initial research was a quick overview of Harvard’s MBA curriculum (more on why Harvard’s curriculum in another post), and what is available in the world of free online courses (aka Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs).  To my amazement, it looks like I’ll be able to create an almost mirror-image of HBS’s curriculum on my own with free, online courses available on Coursera.  I’ll show you the details of my curriculum comparison in my next post.


Although I’m really excited, I’m also slightly concerned about the workload of this project.  The classes range in duration from 6-12 weeks, and in average hours required per week (each) from 4-12.  And, there is a point when eight of the 13 classes overlap.  Not good.   Combine this with a full-time, relatively-demanding job, a (wonderful) marriage, and an upcoming international relocation (for work), and that’s a lot on my plate.  Then again, doesn’t the saying go – if you want something done, give it to a busy man? (or woman, we’re gender equal here)


Well, to pull this off, I’ll certainly be busy.  Time to get to work.