Thanks to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Duke University, École Centrale Paris and Columbia University teaming up with Udacity.com and Coursera.com, it’s now possible to take free online business courses from some of the world’s brightest university professors. Though completing these courses won’t earn you credit towards a degree, you’ll have the chance to gain new insight you can put to work in your business.

1. An Introduction to Operations Management (Wharton School Of Business, University of Pennsylvania)

Whether you work in manufacturing, the food industry or healthcare, this course will teach you how to analyze and improve processes, productivity, response times, and service quality. The next Introduction to Operations Management course begins March 3rd 2014.

2. Think Again: How to Reason and Argue (Duke University)

The goal of Think Again: How to Reason and Argue isn’t to change your mind, but instead to have you think in a new way more deeply about issues that matter to you most. The course focuses understanding reasoning and how to determine the difference between good reasoning and bad reasoning. The best way to do this is by studying arguments. Future sessions to be scheduled later in the spring.

3. On Strategy: What Managers Can Learn from Great Philosophers (École Centrale Paris)

With the help of great philosophers, professor Luc de Brabandere invites managers to take his course and rediscover the art of thinking. Beyond simply thinking outside of the box, he asserts that we need to be able to construct a new box or boxes to structure our thinking to come up with truly game changing ideas. The next On Strategy: What managers can learn from great philosophers begins March 2014.

4. Financial Engineering and Risk Management (Columbia University)

Financial engineering and risk management provides an introduction to derivative securities, teaching you how to price them in various asset classes including equities, fixed income, credit and mortgage-backed securities using “risk-neutral pricing.” Future sessions to be scheduled later in the spring.

 

5. Introduction to Marketing (Wharton School of Business)

Wharton professors David Bell, Peter Fader and Barbara Kahn have teamed up to teach an introduction to marketing course. This course focuses on customer loyalty while exploring three main topics: branding, customer centricity, and practical, go-to market strategies.

6. How to Build a Startup, Udacity

From the online educators and experts at Udacity, How to build a startup will teach you  the tools you’ll need to know how to build a startup and reduce failure. You’ll learn the key steps to the customer development process: how to identify and engage customers to your product, how to gather, evaluate and use their feedback to improve your product, marketing and business model (classes available anytime).

(Featured photo via thepatternlibrary.com)

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