The quality of education you can get online is constantly improving as the world’s best schools continue to pump life in their distance learning programs, and the long-standing institutions take pains to keep up. Several universities are even opening their courses to anyone who has a desire to take a class, absolutely free!
This is great news for anyone students of business, entrepreneurs or small business owners who want to advance a career, knowledge base, learn a new skill, or simply round out an existing degree. Here’s a rundown of some of the best free business courses you can find online.
Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field. — Dennis Waitley
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- Startup Engineering – Coursera – This 10-week course, taught by Balaji Srinivasan and Vijay Pande of Stanford University, gives entrepreneurs the skills they need to build a tech start-up from the ground up. Key tools and techniques explored include command line, dotfiles, text editor, distributed version control, debugging, testing, documentation, reading code, and deployment. The class also features guest appearances by senior engineers at successful startups.
- Competitive Strategy – Coursera – This six-week course, taught by Tobias Kretschmer of the Universität München (in English), explores how firms behave in situations where its actions affect a competitor’s profits, or vice versa. By analyzing how firms select strategies to gain the competitive advantage, the aim is to get students to think about business strategy in a more systematic way.
- Critical Thinking in Global Challenges – Coursera – This is an introductory course that gives you the chance to better grasp what critical thinking is, how to enhance your critical thinking skills in the context of business functions.
- Law and the Entreprenuer – Coursera – This class, taught by Esther Barron and Steve Reed of Northwestern University, aims to prepare students to spot potential cracks in their start-up plans from a business and legal perspective. The goal is to understand choices such as the type of entity, selecting a name and trademark, protecting intellectual property, structuring agreements, financing, and the relationship between attorneys and entrepreneurs.
- Foundations of Business Strategy - Coursera – In order to grow beyond the opening stages that you just conquered above, you will need to understand the principles taught in this course. Find out how to compose and express a business strategy that will guide your business through the other phases of growth and help attract capital.
- Smart Growth for Small Business - Coursera – As your business changes and grows, its needs will be more complex. Use this course to garner an understanding of how to shepherd your business through that crucially important early phase in its life and grow it more effectively so you can realize your goals.
- Microeconomic Principles – Coursera – Despite what many think, microeconomics is not just the study of money. This exciting course shows us how a proper grounding in economics can help us to understand many business and societal problems better, and offer better solutions.
- Organizational Analysis – – Coursera – You will work with cases involving organizational struggles, school systems and politicians struggling to reform various organizations. Ten weeks are spent weighing the value of several organizational tactics and a practical application of each.
- Networks: Friends, Money and Bytes – Coursera – This course focuses on 20 practical questions about Web, wireless and Internet, and how products work from these top business organizations: Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Ericsson, HP, Skype and AT&T.
- Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies - Coursera – This program will help those who aspire to be entrepreneurs in developing great concepts into successful businesses. After you take this class, you will know how to use an effective business model approach to analyze each part of your company, and a lot more.
- Computational Investing – Coursera – Do you wonder why some companies’ stocks go up and down together, and others separately? What does portfolio diversification really mean? What should the price of your stock be? Take this class in computational investing and find out.
- Think Again: How to Reason and Argue - Coursera – Reasoning is important in business and in all parts of life. This course will teach you how to reason well by teaching you some very important rules that you should follow in your thinking processes.
- Information Security and Risk Management in Context – Coursera – You will explore the most recent strategies to secure information and its systems in business. This will range from policies, procedures, technologies and auditing. You will learn from leading business experts who will share proven practices.
- An Introduction to Operations Management – Coursera – This class will teach you how to improve and analyze business processes, whether it is in services or in manufacturing. You will discover how to boost productivity, provide more choice, improve quality and cut response times.
- Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning – Coursera – This course is designed for people and small businesses who want to have a better understanding of their financial goals so that they can make informed decisions on a both personal and business level.
- Corporate Finance – Coursera – This is a solid introduction to business finance, meaning corporate financial management and investments, for graduate level students in business school who need to prepare for upper level class work.
- Passion Driven Statistics – Coursera – This is a project-based class that will allow you to answer a question about which you feel passionate. You will conduct independent research based upon data that already exists. You will be able to develop skills as you develop a testable hypothesis, and also learn how to properly prepare data for analysis.
- Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Small Businesses Part I – Coursera – After you take the plunge and start your own business, how do you encourage that business to grow? This five-week course will give you a clearer idea.
- Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Small Businesses Part II – Coursera – This is the second five-week installment, and focuses on the obstacles small-business owners typically encounter.
- Learning Strategic Innovation in Innovation – Coursera – Discuss ways to foster creativity without creating chaos in this 8-week course.
- Foundations of Business Strategy – Coursera – Study what makes a business strategy successful, and which new ideas really work in this six-week course.
- Surviving Disruptive Technologies – Coursera – Sometimes new technologies pose a threat to existing companies. Take this six-week course to discuss some ways to dodge these bullets.
- Social Psychology – Coursera – In this six-week course, you will examine the reasoning behind decision-making, successful persuasion tactics, and why some clients simply won’t be pleased.
- Gamification – Coursera – Apply the rules and tactics of games to real-life situations in this can’t miss course.
- Introduction to Finance – Coursera – This ten-week course is indispensable for anyone who needs to develop a better understanding of how to manage personal or company finances.
- Sustainable Agricultural/Urban Land Management – Coursera – This is a great course for anyone exploring a career in the burgeoning field of environmental and green business.
- Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Coursera – This six-week course explores the complex business of the healthcare industry.
- Artificial Intelligence – edX – This class will introduce you to the basic techniques and ideas that are used to design the most intelligent computer systems. There is a specific emphasis on the statistical and decision-theoretic modeling paradigm.
- Software as a Service – edX – This course bridges the gap between computer engineering and customer service.
- How to Build a Startup – Udacity – You will learn the key steps and tools that you need to build a strong start up company. You will learn the key steps of the customer development process, how to find the first customers for your product, and how to gather feedback.
- Web Development - Udacity – This class starts from the basics of how the Internet works, to how to build your own blog app, and how to scale it so there can be a large number of users. You will learn everything that Steve Huffman wishes he knew when he got started in the world of startup businesses.
- Statistics – The Science of Decisions - Udacity – In this online class, you will learn about how statistics apply to life each day; the many methods to acquire data via observation and experimentation; how to organize and describe quantitative and categorical types of data, and how to anticipate patterns that use basic probability and sampling.
- Software Testing – Udacity – When you write software for your company, destruction can be every bit as valuable as creation. You will learn how to catch bugs and to break software, and you will also learn different methods of testing that will help you to build strong software.
- Software Debugging – Udacity – After you take this class, you will have a strong idea of how to undertake systematic debugging, and you will also learn how to automate debugging. You will have the opportunity to build several debugging tools in Python.
Peer 2 Peer
- Learning How to Create a Sustainable Business With Social Objectives – Peer2Peer – You will learn how to take your idea, product or service and come up with a business plan that is financially sustainable, and also has a strong social impact.
- Internet Marketing – Peer2Peer – This free online class teaches you how to get started in Internet marketing. This is an ideal course for beginners at home and also for startup businesses.
- Business Foundation - Peer2Peer – This class teaches you all of the basics of micro and macroeconomics and how they affect business.
- The Webmaster’s Journal – Peer2Peer – This class will instruct you on relevant topics related to business, web design, technology and social media. All of the topics that are covered in this class are relevant to businesses small and large.
- Microeconomics: An Introduction – Peer2Peer – This course will give students a grasp on the ecosystemic nature of specialized markets, large and small.
- Technovation Challenge – Peer2Peer – This course will prepare students to pitch an idea for a new app and its accompanying business plan.
- What is Networking – Peer2Peer – Anyone just starting out or looking to revamp a small business will benefit from this course on networking.
- Sustainable Design – Peer2Peer – This business development course will familiarize students with the strategies for creating a successful small business.
- Hydropower Business Development - Peer2Peer – This online course will show how to effectively build a hydro power business from scratch. The class covers hydrology, PLF and project cost. You will learn how to determine if the project is economically feasible, and how to use all of the basic tools in ascertaining the true cost of the project.
- Entrepreneurial Marketing: Mission and Vision – Peer2Peer – This class focuses on the importance of building a strong mission and vision statement. To be successful in marketing for your business, you really need to have a strong marketing plan based upon a clearly thought out mission and vision.\
- Entrepreneurial Marketing – Peer2Peer – This business class teaches you the important elements of a strong marketing program, and how to think of the most effective marketing plan for your particular business.
- Starting My Own Business – SmallBizBee – This popular, free course is ideal for the entrepreneur who wants to start their own business. Some of the key elements of the course include deciding on a business, the business plan, home based businesses, financing and licenses and permits.
- Entrepreneurship and Business Planning – SmallBizBee – Topics in this free business class include building your team, generating the idea, starting your company, writing a business plan, funding, legal issues, and sales and marketing.
- The Art and Science of Negotiation – MITOpenCourse – This class will teach your how to bargain and negotiate in public, business and legal settings. You will examine strategy, communications, ethics, and institutional influences and how they change our ability to analyze problems, negotiate agreements and resolve disputes.
- Design and Manufacturing - MITOpenCourse – You will learn about modern manufacturing with an emphasis on manufacturing processes, equipment/control, systems and manufacturing design. You will learn about both engineering and management disciplines to determine the rate, quality and and manufacturing rate.
- Information Technology and the Labor Market – MITOpenCourse – YOu will learn how information technology is changing business and labor in the US. Also, you will learn more about how work is organized, different occupations and the skills that are needed in a given occupation.
- International Trade – MITOpenCourse – This class will provide you with a strong introduction to theories of international trade and finance, with many applications to modern policy problems. You will learn what determines how goods flow across different countries and what determines the flow of savings and investments.
- Managerial Psychology – MITOpenCourse – This online class will introduce you to basic behavioral science theory, tools and methods. You will discover the best opportunities to both use and apply them to problems that you will run into in your work and career.
- Management Communication for Undergraduates – MITOpenCourse – You will learn about how to develop the writing, speaking, teamwork and interpersonal communications that you need to be an effective manager. You will learn the most important communications strategies through discussions, exercises, cases and examples.
- Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting – MITOpenCourse – You will learn about the key concepts of financial and managerial reporting. This is a good introductory course in the subject because the viewpoint is that of the beginning financial and managerial report reader, rather than the experienced accountant.
- Law for the Entrepreneur and Manager – MITOpenCourse – Learn about the legal issues that companies have to face during their existence. The course begins by discussing the basics of business law, and then follows the company through the entire business lifecycle.
- Introduction to Lean Six Sigma Methods – MITOpenCourse – Introduces the basic concept of Lean Six Sigma concepts that are the foundation of modern continuous improvement strategies that are used for businesses, industry, government and many other organizations.
- Working in a Global Economy – MITOpenCourse – This course introduces the basic debates about the modern global economy and the implications for business practice and policy. Includes sections where experts from academia and business talk about their experiences with different parts of globalization.
- New Global Agenda: Exploring 21st Century Challenges Through Innovations in IT – MITOpenCourse – This unusual workshop is made to introduce you to different aspects of international business and politics in the 21st century.
- E-Commerce and the Internet in Real Estate and Construction – MITOpenCourse – This examines the long term effects of IT on the strategy of business in both real estate and construction. Considerations include supply chain management, risk allocation and impact on contract obligations.
- Manufacturing Systems Analysis – MITOpenCourse – You will learn about models of manufacturing systems, transfer lines, flexible manufacturing systems, calculation of performance measures, in process inventory and how to meet production commitments.
- Development of Inventions and Creative Ideas – MITOpenCourse – You will learn about the role of the engineer as a business patent expert, and you also will learn about patent interference and related events. Course compares the different manners of transplanting a new invention into modern business operations.
- Economics of Information – MIT OpenCourse – You will learn all of the underlying economics of information and the related management implications.
- Analyzing Projects and Organizations – MIT OpenCourse – You will learn how to understand the rationality behind the way that organizations and programs behave. You will also learn how to be both comfortable and analytical with a live organizations.
- Behavioral Economics and Finance – MIT OpenCourse – This course surveys research that incorporates evidence of psychology into economics. Some of the topics in this online class are prospect theory, probabilistic judgement, self control and mental accounting.
- Practical Leadership – MIT OpenCourse – This is a highly interactive class where you will receive real-time feedback on your leadership skills from peers and from the instructor.
- Negotiation and Conflict Management – MIT OpenCourse – You will learn about the most advanced negotiations theories in the context of a business environment.
- Pricing – MIT OpenCourse – Learn how to properly price your goods and services. You will be provided with an understandable framework to grasp pricing structures and tactics.
- Management in Organizations – Education-Portal.com – In this course, you will learn about the complex roles of a manager in a business. You will learn how to utilize people and resources most effectively to achieve the goals of your organization.
- Managerial Skills – How Good Managers Promote Productivity – Education-Portal.com – This course will show you how to develop the skills that a good business manager needs. Some of these include technical, human and conceptual skills. You will learn how each skill has an effect on a manager’s ability to lead his or her employees.
- Henry Mintzberg’s Managerial Roles – Education-Portal.com – Learn about all of the roles that a manager has in a business or organization. This lesson by Henry Mintzberg tells you about the 10 specific managerial roles that we normally see in most businesses. You will learn what each one is and the lessons that are associated with each.
- Four Functions of Management – Education-Portal.com – Anyone who is a manager in a business has to think in a strategic and conceptual way to achieve the goals of the organization. This free course will tell you about the four basic functions of a manager and how each one relates to the success of the company.
- Classical Management Theory - Education-Portal.com – This free course will instruct you on the most important parts of the classic management theory. This will cover bureaucratic management, classical scientific management and classical administrative management.
- Fayol’s Theories on Staff Management and Worker Satisfaction – Education-Portal.com – You will learn about the seven principles of Henri Faylol and how they work out in the modern workplace. You will learn about division of work, authority, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination, remuneration and centralization.
- Classical Administrative School of Management – Managing the Organization – Education-Portal.com – This class discusses the need to think about an entire organization, as you learn the management principles that first led to the classical administrative school of management.
- The Hawthorne Effect: The Study of Employee Productivity – Education-Portal.com – You will learn about the correlation between the social context of a workplace, and employee productivity, which is known as the Hawthorne effect, which is the concept of an employee changing their behavior depending upon how much they are being observed.
- Planning as a Function of Management – Education-Portal.com – This program will teach you about the importance of managers engaging in planning. Proper planning allows you to deal with critical organizational issues so that the problems don’t blow up in your face.
- How Internal and External Factors Drive Organizational Change – Education-Portal.com – It is important for managers to both recognize and respond to all facts that affect the organization. This program will teach you about the internal and external environments of an organization that will drive change within the company.
- The Planned Change Process – Education-Portal.com – Change is recognized as one of the most difficult things that most companies will go through. This program will describe in detail the key parts of the planned change process. This includes recognizing the need to change, how to develop change goals, naming a change agent, and assessing the current climate.
- Groups, Mobs and Teams in Organizations – Education-Portal.com – Do you wonder why some organizations work better together than others? This is often because not all groups are teams, and not all teams are group. This course will explain the many different types of employees that you will find in organizations.
- Groupthink: Definition and Examples – Education-Portal.com – There are some groups that are very quick to come up with decisions to keep cohesion, but this can often be a mistake. This course will show how dangerous group think can be, and it uses the Challenger tragedy as a good example.
- Leadership: Leaders and Their Role in Organizations – Education-Portal.com – Leadership is the way in which we lead employees to reach company goals. This is a very important part of employee productivity and performance. This class will teach you how leaders influence employee behavior.
- Macroeconomics – Education-Portal.com – You will learn the basics about macroeconomics and how they apply to both your professional and personal lives.
- Information Systems and Computer Applications – Education-Portal.com – You will learn all of the basics about information systems in organizations, hardware and systems, application software, data management and enterprise business systems.
- Management Vs. Leadership – The Difference – Education-Portal.com – This lesson discusses the issue of whether all managers are leaders and all leaders are managers. There are instances where a person is named a manager but is really not a leader. This teaches you how to distinguish between the two.
- Introductory Business Law – Education-Portal.com – This class will help you to prepare to take the Introductory Business Law CLEP exam. You will learn about constitutional law, contract formation and employment law.
- Managerial Communication – Education-Portal.com – This class will talk about the important role of communication in management, and will detail the many functions that it facilitates. You will learn most of all about what managers most need to communicate, and what the challenges are in that process.
- Understanding Employee Compensation – Education-Portal.com – This free class describes the compensation process for employees. The course describes both direct or indirect compensation in the form of benefits that are provided to the employee in exchange for labor.
- ISO 9000 Certification – Education-Portal.com – This program teaches you about the ISO 9000 certifications. A firm that has this certification shows that it believes in strong quality management systems that are focused on customer needs.
- Business Ethics in Contemporary Business – Education–Portal.com – This business lesson in ethics explains how ethics apply to the world of business, and it focuses on a case study involving the company Enron.
- Principles of Management – Education-Portal.com – You will learn about all of the skills and qualities of some of the top managers in the country.
- Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy – Webcast Berkeley – This class provides the businessperson with an introduction to microeconomics, with a special focus on resource, agricultural and environmental problems.
- Statistics – Game Theory – Webcast Berkeley – This class will provide you with the general theory of zero sum, two person games and continuous games, and how they apply to the business world.
- Business Research Methods – Open University – This free class will teach you about business research essentials: market research, business, marketing, business planning, downturns, advertising and more.
- How to Make Investment Decisions – Open University – This free class will give you a good idea of the basics of investing on both a personal and a business level.
- Introducing Corporate Finance – Open University – This class will give you a good introduction to the importance of finance and the role that it has in many organizations like yours.
- Entrepreneurial Impressions – Open University – You will learn in this class about the complex experiences and impressions that entrepreneurs experience as they go about building their businesses.
- Investment Risk – Open University – This class will explore with you the concept of risk in the context of investments, and will comment upon the effects of the main risk factors in an investment context.
- Management Beyond the Mainstream – Open University – This course will help you to deal with this question: What should we do when management is inappropriate, does not work or is not an option in its existing form?
- Management and Business Research – Open University – You will learn here about how to develop a better understanding of how research is done in a management environment, and you will learn how to better appreciate some of the issues you will face in business.
- Managing Relationships – Open University – If you find fundraising for your organization a tough task, this class could be for you. You will learn to better understand your role in the process of fundraising for your firm.
- How to Frame a Business Case – Open University – This class will provide you with helpful reading strategies that will help you to put together a compelling business case. You will learn how you should use the most key business concepts to analyze your business situation.
- Institutional Development – Open University – This program focuses on how to build strong business and government institutions. You will learn how to properly analyze the institutional landscape and to learn how to build good relationships.
- Making Sense of Strategy – Open University – Strategy is important to anyone who wants to know how both organizations and individuals make sense of the world and try to be successful. You will learn new skills in clear thinking and independent inquiry.
- Environmental Factors and Organizations – Open University – This program looks at the key relationships between business and social and ecological environments, which are often referred to as corporate responsibility.
Master Class Management
- Management Skills & Leadership Development – Master Class Management – Our free online management training and leadership skills course will teach you management concepts, leadership styles, and the fundamentals of a mini-MBA business management certifications program. It is the perfect management training solution for busy professionals who need to balance work, family, and career building.