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HBX Will Open Online Introductory Courses to Students Worldwide

By Hannah Smati, Crimson Staff Writer

Following its inaugural pilot program, which was accessible to Massachusetts undergraduates, and its subsequent expansion to six corporate clients, HBX—Harvard Business School’s digital learning platform—will begin releasing its online set of introductory courses to undergraduates and post-graduates worldwide at the end of the month.

Any college student and those who have been out of college for up to nine years will have the opportunity to apply for the upcoming iteration of the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, according to Bharat N. Anand ’88, HBX faculty chair.

Consisting of three courses on accounting, analytics, and management economics, CORe enrolled 600 Massachusetts undergraduates when first launched during the summer of 2014 and attracted about 450 more students that fall, Anand said. Despite the fact that the February iteration will begin during the school year for most students, he said he still expects as many as 1,000 enrollees.

“We realized that there might be a market much broader than MBA students,” Anand said. “Our focus is undergraduates and post-graduates—people who are thinking about business as a career, or who want to start a business, or who want to have the confidence to enter the workforce, or even who want to switch careers.”

The CORe program will still have an application process and will require tuition fees from those who enroll.  According to Regina E. Herzlinger, a Business School professor and edX course instructor, while those accepted to CORe will be eligible for financial aid, the courses offered on HBX must be paid so that the platform can be sustainable.

“There’s no way these courses will be free. The faculty is paid, the editors are paid, the photographers are paid, the administrator staff is paid; there has to be some source of those revenues,” she said. “To enable offering financial aid and to support the costs of developing these programs, something has got to give.”

According to Anand, the program is not intended to substitute for an MBA but rather to allow those with a liberal arts education to supplement their degree with a primer in basic business skills. Despite the pre-MBA aspect of the program, he said that the “Credential of Readiness” received by enrollees who finish the $1,500 eleven-week program can be very valuable to employers.

According to Janice H. Hammond, a Business School professor who teaches one of the three CORe courses, the program will attempt to replicate key features of HBS pedagogy online in the program. To adapt “cold calling” to the HBX platform, she said that students will be randomly chosen to receive a digital “cold call” and give a text response in under two minutes.

—Staff writer Hannah Smati can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HannahSmati

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