06 Nov 2014

Harvard Business School Marks Completion of First Cohort of HBX CORe

More than 100 of those who completed the School’s new interactive online program on the language of business come to campus to receive Credential of Readiness

BOSTON—Harvard Business School’s new digital learning initiative, HBX, held a closing ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 2, on the School’s campus in Boston to formally mark the completion of its first offering, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness). CORe is an interactive online program specially designed by HBS faculty members and was first offered this summer to undergraduates (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) and recent graduates interested in learning the fundamentals of business through a suite of three courses in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting.

More than 100 of the nearly 500 participants who finished the nine-week CORe program and exam came to Harvard Business School (HBS) to take part in various activities and a ceremony that included remarks by HBS Dean Nitin Nohria, the three faculty who created and taught CORe (Prof. Bharat Anand, Economics for Managers; Prof. Jan Hammond, Business Analytics; and Prof. V. G. Narayanan, Financial Accounting), and three CORe students, as well as the distribution of a credential recognizing successful completion of the program.

“We are delighted to honor these and all the other students who completed these courses in the basics of business,” said Dean Nohria. “From beginning to end, they were engaged in the kind of rigorous, interactive learning that has long been the hallmark of Harvard Business School’s pedagogy. We believe this program also marks an important milestone in the development of online education.”

The CORe program was offered for a fee to a targeted group of students, in contrast to free massive open online courses, or MOOCs and was based on an innovative technological platform specifically designed to offer an interactive experience that mirrors many of the elements in the HBS case teaching approach. “The fact that 85 percent of those who began the HBX CORe program finished it is testament to the success of this new model of online education,” Dean Nohria observed.

In offering the CORe program for the first time, HBX facilitated the process by limiting eligibility to students enrolled in Massachusetts colleges and universities and to the children of Harvard University faculty, staff, and alumni.

Nineteen percent of the pioneering cohort (of whom 41 percent were women and nearly 70 percent undergraduates) were enrolled in Harvard College, while other students represented institutions such as Amherst College, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Williams College.

Seven percent of the enrollees were from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Undergraduate majors of participants were divided between the humanities (39 percent), engineering and biological sciences (24 percent) and social sciences (30 percent).

Twenty-five percent of the cohort received need-based financial aid to help meet the program fee of $1,500.

Seventy-four percent of the cohort were U.S. citizens.

“Our intent behind CORe was to create a program that would allow students from very different backgrounds – humanities, social sciences, and STEM[science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] majors – to gain basic fluency in essential business concepts and decision making,” said Prof. Anand, faculty chair of HBX. “Through the efforts of our faculty and the HBX staff members, we have been able to create an immersive online experience that prompted a high level of participant engagement, including rich peer-to-peer interactions that greatly enhanced the learning experience. We’ve been delighted to see that the participant response to CORe has been overwhelmingly positive.” As one student put it, “This has been the best proxy for any classroom experience I have seen so far.”

With colleges and universities now back in session, a follow-on iteration of HBX CORe is currently being offered to businesses that are using the program to introduce selected employees to the fundamentals of business.

The next offering of the CORe program will begin on Feb. 25, 2015. Applications (http://hbx.hbs.edu/hbx-core/applying-to-core.html) will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Future cohort start dates will be announced shortly.


Jim Aisner

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.