The Best Free Business MOOCs This Month (June)

Gautam Kaul

Gautam Kaul

Here is a brief article by Winthrop Lu and featured by Poets&Quants that will be of great interest to those who wish to consider enrollment in one of the massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by professors in major business schools. To learn more, I suggest clicking here.

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You might view summer as a time to kick back and re-charge. But if you’re a superstar professor like University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Gautam Kaul, the summer is the perfect time to draw a big audience and build your brand.

Come June 2nd, Kaul is back with his uber-popular Introduction to Finance course on Coursera. How popular? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, his first go-round attracted over 130,000 students. Be warned: This isn’t MBA Lite. Judging from Kaul’s syllabus, this 15-week course is structured very similar to his on-campus one.

The Michigan professor is just one of some 25 essential Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in business coming up this month. Whether you’re a manager or executive who would like to deepen your knowledge in a key business subject or a young professional who will start an MBA program in the fall, these free MOOC courses are a great way to get a taste of business school.

As always, our monthly guide to the best MOOCs in business has a wide range of courses that could help form part of a core MBA curriculum or a series of interesting electives to allow one to satisfy his or her intellectual curiosity.

Along with Introduction to Finance, the University of Michigan also is starting up its acclaimed Model Thinking course on June 2. The University of Illinois is jumping into the MOOC marketplace, translating their Subsistence Marketplace course (ranked by Inc. magazine as one of the top entrepreneurial courses) into an online juggernaut.

Darden’s Michael Lenox is back for another go-round of his Foundations of Business Strategy MOOC. And Columbia University returns with the first part of its innovative Economics of Money and Banking franchise.

Despite the heavy workload in Kaul’s MOOC course on finance, students don’t seem very bothered by it, based on student reviews on CourseTalk, a forum for MOOC participants. The course, while earning a 3.5 star rating on CourseTalk’s 5.0 scale, proves that, despite high dropout rates, students welcome a more rigorous curriculum. Here’s one review:

“Prof. Gautam Kaul covers all the basics using clear, simple explanations with much personal wit and charm. Lectures and other material are very well produced…This course does require time and effort, but is suitable for those with no prior background. Most of the computations are just arithmetic, but you still have to work through them carefully…Highly recommended!”

Alas, Kaul has his detractors on CourseTalk. Some students claim that he doesn’t “value [our] time,” with lectures that are “unnecessarily long and contain some irrelevant anecdotes, philosophy, [and] overly patronising advice.” Others chime in about inaccurate problem sets that don’t include answers or explanations. But these are the normal challenges in bringing an educational solution to market (Just ask any textbook publisher). With MOOCs, professors like Kaul have the opportunity to apply feedback with each successive course delivery.

To learn more about these courses and to enroll, please click here.

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