Getting accepted to a top-tier B-school seems like an achievement, which it is, but it’s only the beginning. The real grind comes after, once the program has begun. The very aspects that make an MBA education so valuable – high caliber classmates, a variety of business subjects, highly skilled and demanding professors, massive amounts of learning – also make it challenging. Additionally, the pace of learning can seem daunting. A preparatory course that teaches the fundamentals of business can alleviate the pressure and set students up for success. It can also help students make the most of their time at B-school, learning from all stimuli rather than struggling to catch up with the basics.
CORe (Credential of Readiness), a program offered by HBX, the online learning platform of Harvard Business School (HBS), does exactly this. CORe offers a comprehensive portfolio of essential preparatory courses in Accounting, Analytics, and Economics – grounded in real world problem solving and delivered via a highly-engaging online platform, to make business school aspirants ‘MBA-ready’.
Is it for you?
Entrants to MBA programs come from diverse educational backgrounds and work experience. The difference between what an engineer, doctor, lawyer, commerce graduate, humanities graduate or chartered accountant studies is huge. Yet, in B-school, they are taught in one class and compete on the same turf. The CORe program is for students / professionals who may have never learned, or don’t feel at home with, business fundamentals. It is also valuable for people who have studied business but perhaps need a refresher before stepping back into a classroom environment.
Designed as a primer, CORe integrates the essential aspects of business thinking into three courses – ‘Business Analytics’, ‘Economics for Managers’ and ‘Financial Accounting’. These are the three classes that Harvard Business School faculty determined were essential to success in an MBA program and in the business world. Business Analytics, for example, trains students in quantitative methods used to analyze data. This is especially useful for students from humanities courses or professional courses that had limited application of mathematics, statistics and quantitative concepts. Delving into areas such as describing and summarizing data, sampling and estimation, hypothesis testing and regression, it initiates students into the MBA mode of applying mathematical and statistical principles to understanding and solving real life business situations.
Economics is the foundation of several business aspects such as customer demand, supplier cost, pricing, market dynamics, and competition. Through the Economics for Managers course, students learn to not only understand economic principles, but also use economics as a way of thinking and decision-making, in the context of business. Prof. Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX says, “We want to have you see and appreciate where and how companies get it right, where they use economic logic in powerful ways, and where they can sometimes fall into decision-making traps. This is a course that we, at HBS, want every one of our students to master before they enter our MBA program.”
The third course, Financial Accounting, is designed for students who do not have a business or accounting background. It teaches financial accounting, the backbone of all businesses, from the ground up. Students need a strong understanding of financial statements even for subjects such as Operations Management and Strategy. Since the course is taught through the case-based method with real business scenarios rather than plain theory, it can be a real eye-opener. Says Amita Metkari, Mechanical Engineer, looking to pursue an MBA, “The CORe platform is riveting. Cogent design and presentation of the platform has helped me get over my bias of subjects like accounting being dull, so much so that reading articles online about a company’s cash flow statements or analyzing a balance sheet has become my happiness fix.”
The HBS teaching method using a powerful virtual learning platform
HBX blends the tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of technology to offer immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive virtual learning platform. What makes it fun and effective is that the platform and the courses are designed for real-world problem-solving, active learning, and social learning.
Real-world business scenarios are posed to students to solve, and they learn the theory inductively. Students have real profiles and get to know their classmates, as the platform enables peer-to-peer networking and collaborative learning. Frequent reflections and interactive activities necessitate attentiveness and encourage knowledge sharing and active discussion between students. While HBX courses are self-paced; participants are required to meet weekly deadlines. This helps keep the cohort, a class of typically 300 students, on track and supports the social elements of the learning experience.
CORe is offered throughout the year with durations ranging from 8 to 17 weeks. Each program length teaches the same content, but allows students to choose the time intensity that suits them. Applicants can also choose cohorts that provide the credit option of CORe, which will earn them eight undergraduate credits from Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School. Upon successful completion of the program, including passing an in-person final exam, students receive a Credential of Readiness from HBX and Harvard Business School. Students may also receive an official-grade transcript, and are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty, and experience the HBS campus near Cambridge. Applicants to Harvard Business School can include CORe course credential in the application, but this will be considered in the larger context of a holistic selection process.
Interested candidates submit a free, 10-15-minute application by the deadlines noted on the HBX website. For more information and frequently asked questions, please review the HBX website.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HBX and not by the Scroll editorial team.