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9 Online Courses To Boost Your MBA Application

From cryptocurrency to sustainability, taking a specialist MOOC can be a way to make your application stand out

As the first round of MBA applications is on the horizon, prospective students should be doing everything to build the strongest application possible to gain the front seats on the most coveted program.

What better way to strengthen your application than with a MOOC. A Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, can be an opportunity for students to get a taste of business education from leading b-schools, while adding significant skills and certificates to their MBA resume.

The global MOOC market has enrolled over 101 million students, with around 20 million alone signing up for a course in 2018. With courses offered by top schools including Wharton, INSEAD, and Stanford GSB, the MOOC has become a highly recognized certificate.

Here we’ve listed nine online courses to help strengthen your MBA application:

1. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, Princeton University


In late 2017, Bitcoin experienced a huge bubble, reaching a peak of over $19k, in its wake launching a huge market for unregulated cryptocurrencies. For MBAs, this is a hot topic in innovation and finance.

Understanding cryptocurrency’s potential is central to this online course offered by Princeton, preparing students for an increasingly digitalized economy. The specialization is split into four sections, taking users through the decentralization and mechanics of Bitcoin, as well as how to store and use the currency.

The course is free, although there is no certificate upon completion.

2. Women in Leadership: inspiring Positive Change, Case Western Reserve University


One common obstacle that women come up against in business education is that tools and resources are not geared towards women.

The women in leadership online course from Case Western Reserve University is specifically designed to empower women in business and offer them specific training in a male-dominated world. The course, moreover, is also aimed to help men to support women in the workplace.

Each segment addresses different challenges in a gendered workplace, and offers practical training to help overcome this.

3. Mastering Data Analysis on Excel, Duke University


Far from the days of overladen filing cabinets, businesses operate on big data and statistics, as a tool for spotting trends, predicting behavior, and making decisions. Knowing your way around a spreadsheet can be the making of a 21st century business leader.

Behind the ‘Mastering Data Analysis’ course is the dual belief; first, that decisions can be made competently and efficiently through data; secondly, that data does not eliminate all uncertainty and risk. Over 250,000 enrollees can attest to the power of this course, making it one of Coursera’s most popular courses.

The Master of Data Analytics is fast becoming one of the biggest alternatives to an MBA—this online course could stand you in good stead for either.

READ MORE: How The MOOC Became A Cash Cow For Business Schools


4. Marketing in Digital World, University of Illinois


Marketing professionals will tell you the same thing—the fundamentals of marketing have stayed the same, but the tools which you use have radically altered.

Digital and online is everything for marketing, and getting to grips with the tools available is the foundation of this online course. Many MBAs offer a specialization in marketing, for which this course is a natural stepping stone. Over four weeks, the course looks at sales, distribution, and pricing, all through a digital lens.

While the course is at the more expensive end of the spectrum—$77 a month—students get access to the other seven courses in this digital marketing specialization from the University of Illinois.

5. Digital Transformation, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)


‘Disruption is not new’, reads the description for this online from consulting giant BCG. Businesses, and MBAs, are forced to understand the technologies which are changing the way we operate in the 21st century.

As well as understanding the economics of innovation and disruption, this online course gives students a unique peek at the digital transformation framework through which BCG operates with its clients.

For those coveting a post-MBA career in innovation, in consulting, or even at BCG, this course provides an insight to all three.  

6. Managing the Company of the Future, London Business School


Understanding the difference between management and leadership is the foundation for this online course by the London Business School.

MBA, Master of Finance, Master in Management—whatever program you chose to study, the fundaments of management will be running through it. The online course will take you through every level of running a business, from decision-making to motivation, applying all of these through the business model of the student.

Want To Explore Further? 10 MOOCs You Need To Do Before Your MBA



7. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business, University of Maryland


For those studying an MBA to help them set up their own business, look no further than this online course in entrepreneurship to get the ball rolling.

The specialization is split into four courses, each around 10 hours each, taking enrollees through the lifecycle of starting a business, beginning with developing ideas, and walking through bringing the business to the marketplace, and sourcing funding.

The course is at the cheaper end of the spectrum, only $37 a month.

8. Corporate Sustainability: Understanding and Seizing the Strategic Opportunity, Universita Bocconi


Hitting the triple bottom line—achieving environmental, social, and financial success—is one of the biggest pressures on businesses of the future.

As this trend becomes much more of a need, many business schools are incorporating sustainability into their curricula—making this online course a particularly appealing one.

At the heart of this online course, from Italian b-school Universita Bocconi, is centering business around all stakeholders equally, moving away from traditional profit-motivated business.

9. Business Analytics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania


The Business Analytics specialization is one of Coursera’s most popular courses—hardly surprising, given it exposes students to teaching from one of America’s top b-schools, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Analytics has flooded into all areas of business, including marketing, human resources, finance, and operations, helping business professionals to make their decisions with greater ease and efficiency.

In particular, the course focuses on the human side of data, in particular how it can be used for recruiting, performance evaluation, and customer behavior.



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