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9 Coursera Courses To Boost Your MBA Application
Looking to apply for business school? What better way to strengthen your MBA application than with a MOOC.
Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, 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.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of online courses has skyrocketed. Coursera remains one of the most popular MOOC sites, gaining 10 million new users in a month over lockdown. The site has made over 100 of its courses free to access, while enrolment is often free for most courses anyway (with payment for the certificate).
With courses offered by top schools including Wharton, INSEAD, and London Business School, Coursera offers access to world class education at the click of a button.
Whether you're looking to upskill, hone a new interest, or explore what a business degree might hold for you, we’ve listed nine online courses on Coursera which can help strengthen your MBA application:
9 Online Courses To Boost Your MBA Application
1. Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies, Princeton University
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Bitcoin experienced a huge bubble in late 2017, 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
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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
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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 280,000 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.
4. Marketing in a 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.
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
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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.
7. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business, University of Maryland
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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, which take between eight and 18 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.
8. Corporate Sustainability: Understanding and Seizing the Strategic Opportunity, Universita Bocconi
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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.
Read More: Are Coursera Courses Worth It?
This article was originally published in May 2019 and updated in July 2020.
How UK Business School Students Got Jobs In Lockdown
Graduating b-school students in the UK are headed into a more volatile job market, even as the coronavirus lockdown begins to ease. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Bath School of Management postgraduate students are being supported by the school's Postgraduate Careers and External Engagement Team with some positive results.
From workshops on CV writing, application forms, and covering letters, to running mock assessment centers and practice interviews, b-school students are given every opportunity to prepare for the future in a safe space where mistakes can be learned from.
The Postgraduate Careers team compile reputable company lists and job opportunities students can look through on a dedicated internal portal––it’s organized by industries, subsectors, and specific roles, coupled with one-to-one support advising how to frame your application for a specific role. Then there are regular career fairs, career panel talks, and employer presentations, too.
And it’s working. BusinessBecause caught up with two graduating students—Dan He and Alice Ingabire—who have secured new jobs this summer.
Dan He | Accounting at EY
Dan (pictured) believes the MSc in Management with Marketing at Bath School of Management gave her both the perspective and qualifications she needed to launch her career in accounting, as well as the international exposure she’d always wanted.
“Moving to another country is exciting––I previously only really knew things about the UK from books and movies,” she says. “I was excited to experience English culture.”
The broad array of modules offered on the program, such as marketing, economics, and accounting, sparked Dan’s interest in accounting––an area of business she hadn’t considered before. She appreciated the logic and mathematical skill required and met with the Postgraduate Careers and External Engagement team to assess her options.
“The Careers Team really helped me,” Dan says. “They outlined what the UK job market is like, and I got a lot of advice from them on applying for accountancy roles as an international student.”
During lockdown, assessments and interviews moved online, and the Careers Team again helped her navigate the new online process, she adds.
On a more personal level, they encouraged Dan to persist with job applications when her lack of confidence speaking English might have held her back.
“One professor on the MSc program told me it’s not about how you speak, but about what you’re saying, which I found inspiring.”
With their support and help framing her application and practicing interview techniques, Dan was offered an audit role with Big Four accounting firm, Ernst & Young (EY), which she’ll be starting in September.
Alice Ingabire | World Benchmarking Alliance
BusinessBecause spoke to Alice in late 2019, when she was not far into Bath's one-year MBA program. Alice has always had a very clear career path in mind. From the off, Alice knew she wanted to continue using her education to help drive business innovation in poorer countries.
“My main interest has always been in sustainable business practice,” she says. “I wanted to learn more about how a business can be and connect this with my previous work experience in social enterprise.”
Alice already has a lot of the background knowledge and experience needed for sustainability-focused roles, but she admits she didn’t have a lot of experience in self-promotion. This is where the Careers Team stepped in. They ran two workshops which Alice says she found beneficial when thinking about her approach to job hunting.
“Personal Branding by Luigi Centenaro from BigName trains MBA students to identify opportunities for innovation and communicate effectively,” Alice says. “There was also a LinkedIn workshop run by LinkedIn employee Mark Stonham, which taught me how to best use LinkedIn in support of my personal goals and looking for job roles.”
Through navigating LinkedIn, Alice actually found the job description for the role she now holds. Working closely with the Careers Team on her CV and application, Alice went through a month and a half of online interviews and assessments before securing her perfect job role.
“When I was job hunting, I was constantly told: You don’t have to do these things on your own, we’re here for you. It was really reassuring having their support,” she says.
Now Alice is finishing up her time at b-school, and will begin taking on responsibilities in her new role as spotlight benchmark lead for the World Benchmarking Alliance later in June. The global corporation focuses on generating a more active investment in a sustainable future for all, with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (announced in 2015) informing their efforts.
Alice will be playing a leading role in the further development of the corporation's Access to Seeds Index, a project which is part of its food and agricultural transformation movement.
“I am so grateful to the Careers Team for all their support in putting these workshops together, as well as mentoring my professional development and career growth,” Alice concludes.
What Challenges Do MBA Students Face Applying For Jobs This Summer?
MBA students may face challenges applying for jobs this summer. Coronavirus has temporarily paused campus recruitment, as social distancing and lockdown measures mean companies can’t freely meet candidates in person.
With physical fairs out of the question, students have instead been flocking to virtual career fairs. Earlier this year Highered, a global talent platform, and EFMD, the management development nonprofit, launched the EFMD Virtual Career Fair Series.
Though students got to speak to companies like Bloomberg, Coca Cola, and KPMG, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy has hit companies hard, especially in areas like hospitality, tourism, and sport.
With potentially fewer jobs and a more competitive jobs market, what’s it like looking for MBA jobs in 2020?
BusinessBecause caught up with three students, who recently attended a virtual career fair, to find out more about the challenges they face applying for jobs this summer. They are MBA students, Sang Tran (ST), from Maastricht School of Management (MSM) and Clara Tavares (CT), from MIP Politecnico di Milano, as well as Daniel Brassloff (DB), a bachelors business graduate from Babson College.
How have you found the jobs market this summer?
ST: I have subscribed to some career pages and LinkedIn Jobs—there are job postings every day. Businesses are still looking for talented employees and the opportunity for a job is still there. I joined the Virtual Career Fair organized by Highered/EFMD, and there are many companies with a variety of job vacancies.
CT: Overall, the experience has been positive. I managed to talk to many companies, and I am able to better understand my future goals. The only issue is that the pandemic has made it a lot harder to find a job.
DB (pictured right): The job market has definitely been slow based on my experience. I have applied to roughly 100 roles, since I knew I would be laid off.
Are you worried about the post-coronavirus jobs market?
ST: Honestly, I am not. Eventually, businesses will resume and the need for employees who are flexible, able to adapt to new circumstances, and have innovative solutions to help employers solve the problems caused by the lockdown will increase.
CT: Honestly, yes. I believe that since many companies have lost a lot of sales during the health crisis, they will decrease the number of new hires to try to cut costs and remain profitable. They may even recourse to redundancies to reach their goal. Besides, a period working from home and in many cases with reduced hours, may show companies that they don’t need as many people as they thought.
DB: I am worried about the impact coronavirus has had on the job market, specifically the food & beverage space where my current start-up is, and many jobs I have been seeking are.
What's your interaction been like with recruiters?
ST: The corporate recruiters I have interacted with are helpful and enthusiastic in recruiting new talent. I interacted with FastSpring and they said they are aiming to grow the team in Amsterdam so they may keep hiring for roles, which is good news for job seekers like me.
CT: I interacted with several companies, like Pepsico, Unilever, and P&G. Overall the interactions were positive. The recruiters were very polite and always tried to help. The message they shared is that they believe more positions will open in the second semester.
DB: I had a tremendously positive experience with the recruiters at ButcherBox among other companies. Their interview process for the role I was a contender for was painless, direct, transparent, and informative. I was always kept in the loop where my application was in the process.
So do you think we'll see more virtual career fairs in the future?
ST: I believe the Virtual Career Fairs represent the future of recruiting thanks to the easy access and higher chance of communicating with companies. This is due to it being less crowded and convenient since you can be at home and still participate in the fairs.
Masterclasses by Amber Wigmore Alvarez, chief innovation officer at Highered, with practical tips on CV optimization, cover letters, pitching, interview tips, and so on are available on the site. Before the career fair started, there was a workshop, "How to succeed at a Virtual Career Fair”, revealing some tips to maximize the experience. One advantage compared to a physical career fair is that if I couldn't attend, I would receive the video afterwards so I could watch it later.
Hence, students were all well prepared before they entered the virtual career fairs. The fairs were divided into industries and regions such as Tech/Telecom/E-commerce in EMEA which is good for choosing a target job market to join.
CT (pictured right): I find them very helpful. I managed to talk to more recruiters in a shorter amount of time. I strongly believe the trend for the future is to become more digital. However, I miss the face to face interactions and the chance to discuss further my experiences and future opportunities. It would be great to have the chance to do short video interviews with the recruiters.
DB: Virtual Career Fairs are a great way to connect with talent given current restrictions. I do feel that recruiting will slowly transition to virtual processes, especially for companies with employees across the globe. While I have personally had difficulty finding meaningful opportunities based on my own interests in virtual career fairs lately, I can see the value for individuals that align better with more prominent industries on the platforms. I am thankful for the organizers creating these opportunities and hope to see a more balanced breadth of opportunities by location and area of interest in the future.
Indian School Of Business Dean Steps Down
Indian School of Business (ISB) dean Rajendra Srivastava has announced he will step down from his post when his tenure ends on December 31, 2020.
The news comes as India records its highest single day spike in coronavirus cases. ISB was forced to shut its campuses in Hyderabad and Mohali and suspend classes after India’s COVID-19 outbreak, while graduating students had to celebrate convocation days at home.
While COVID-19’s impact on the global economy may impact hiring plans this year, employers were fighting over MBA students from ISB when BusinessBecause last spoke to Rajendra.
PGP students at ISB received a record number of job offers from corporate recruiters in 2019, and saw a 124% jump in their compensation compared with their pre-degree salary.
ISB is one of India’s premier business schools and its flagship Post Graduate Program in Management (PGP) is akin to an MBA overseas. During Rajendra’s deanship, ISB also increased student job offers by over 50%.
“ISB was established with a vision to create future leaders for India and the world. And companies betting big on India continue to choose ISB as their preferred partner for meeting their talent requirements,” he says.
Rajendra’s other notable accomplishments include:
ISB is now one of the few schools in Asia, and the youngest in the world, with triple crown accreditation by AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. It was awarded AMBA accreditation in May 2020 to complete the trio.
PGP & MBA Rankings across Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek and the Economist.
Launched new programs including the PGPpro for working professionals in 4 cities across the nation. Additionally, ISB pioneered the successful Executive Fellow Program in Management.
Doubled faculty strength bringing stability to ISB’s global program delivery capabilities.
What next for ISB?
Harish Manwani, Chairman of ISB Executive Board, says: “Raj joined ISB after an impressive academic career spanning 35 years across some of the world’s most prestigious universities across the US and Asia.
“In his five years as the Dean of ISB, Rajendra he has built on the strong foundation laid down by his predecessors and has transformed the school in terms of global recognition and financial stability.”
Before ISB, Rajendra was provost and deputy president of academic affairs at Singapore Management University. He also previously held research chairs and senior management positions at the University of Texas at Austin and Emory University in Atlanta.
He has an MBA and PhD (Business Administration) from the University of Pittsburgh, an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and holds a BTech (Mechanical Engineering) degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
Going forward, Rajendra says he will assist the school in finding and onboarding a new dean during the tricky transition period.
From 2021, he will transition to research and teaching as the school’s Novartis Chair in Marketing Strategy and Innovation. He will continue with his work on Business Model Innovation and Organizational Transformation.
ISB has grown at a rapid pace over the past nineteen years since its inception, becoming one of the largest providers of Executive Education in Asia, the most research-productive Indian management institution, and the youngest school to consistently rank among the top providers of MBA programs.
The future looks promising. But with the coronavirus pandemic impacting business schools globally, exactly what that future looks like for ISB remains to be seen.