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Free MBA Programs Online
Looking online, you can find a variety of free or low-cost management or business education courses that can help you get started with your own business or supplement an MBA program. However, while they may provide valuable information, these courses rarely offer college credit. In this article, you'll find a variety of tuition-free resources aimed at graduate-level management students, entrepreneurs or small business owners who are getting started on a venture of their own.
Free Management Library's Micro-eMBA Programs
The Free Management Library provides free leadership and management resources that range from basic to complex. These programs are self-paced, self-contained and designed strictly for learning purposes; in other words, you study alone and will not receive a degree after completing the program. However, organizations are welcome to use these programs for training purposes and may issue certificates of completion if they choose. In addition to its courses, the Free Management Library contains a large body of free educational resources in a range of management-related topics.
- Micro-eMBA was created for entrepreneurs, leaders and managers, and focuses on for-profit organizational and management development. Students may begin the program at any time, without needing to enroll or create an account. Simply work through each of the 11 modules on your own time, which cover starting your organization, the role of the CEO, basic skills and business plans, financial management, and more.
- Nonprofit Micro-eMBA is similar to the above program, but aimed at those who wish to run a non-profit organization. It consists of 13 modules that contain the fundamental management subjects found in the Micro-eMBA program, plus important information specific to starting a non-profit organization, such as how to define and classify your status with the IRS, develop a fundraising plan, and design a volunteer program.
MIT's Sloan School of Management Customized MBA Program
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the college's Sloan School of Management publish many of their programs' course materials online. The Sloan School of Management offers materials for more than 150 free graduate level business courses - enough to create your own customized MBA program. Most of the courses come with their own set of lecture notes as well as supplemental materials, including reading lists, assignments, exams, online textbooks, and videos. All free courses are self-paced and can be completed online at any time. No official credit is awarded for completing a course, but users do get the satisfaction of learning something new from a world-renowned business school.
- Marketing Management is an introduction to marketing and its theories, strategies, and goals from a management perspective. Originally a graduate course from the 2010 fall semester, this course can help students learn about effective marketing management strategies, such as how to assess market opportunities and design a successful implementation program. Managers may benefit from learning how marketing strategy may impact their own practice. This course lists all required and recommended readings and case studies, and it includes selected lecture notes in PDF format.
- Management in Engineering is a 2012 course offering for undergrads or graduate students who are considering a career in managing an engineering-related business. It covers the concepts used in developing strategies and risk analyses for business and technology, with lectures on related accounting, financial, and management issues. The course materials include readings, selected lecture notes, case study assignments, and problem sets with solutions.
Kutztown University's Small Business Development Center offers more than 90 free, on-demand online programs in accounting, business management, business planning, finance, marketing, sales and other business-related topics. These free courses come in a simple animated slideshow format and are self-paced. They may be accessed through Kutztown's SmallBizU website after creating a free login account.
- Crafting a Business Plan consists of about two and a half hours of animated slides that cover what it takes to create a comprehensive plan for your business. Learn how to transfer your mission or vision into an effective, strongly-directed business plan with clear goals and objectives. This course also includes access to SmallBizU's library of business planning resources, tools, worksheets, and templates. This course is also available in Spanish: Elaborando un Plan de Negocios.
- Strategic Planning and Execution is a three-and-a-half-hour course that covers the mechanisms of internal and external business strategies, highlighting the differences between the development of a strategy and its presentation to the public. Using real-world examples and case studies as a guide, you'll learn how to define your vision as a workable goal and implement the techniques found in successful, effective strategies.
Small Business Training Network
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a number of free online management courses through their Small Business Training Network. Courses are self-paced and can be usually be completed in 30 minutes or less, usually consisting of a video or slideshow (plus full transcript) and a worksheet. SBA courses cover management fundamentals and may be especially valuable for those who are launching and managing their own business.
- Introduction to Human Resources is an overview of human resource management, particularly geared towards small business owners/managers. This slideshow contains five chapters and emphasizes the ways good HR skills and practices can help keep a business well-staffed and compliant with the law. Subjects include HR terms and definitions, recruitment and the hiring process, employee training, laws and regulations, and termination.
- Customer Service details the many aspects of customer service, for a manager or owner of a small business. Through this 30-minute video slideshow, you'll learn why good customer service is important for your business as well as how to establish best practices for your company, make a good first impression, build community relationships, and more. Also includes advice on how to handle and resolve customer complaints.
The Open University: OpenLearn
The UK's Open University offers dozens of free online management-related and interdisciplinary courses through their OpenLearn project. All of the courses are self-paced and rated by other users so that you know what to expect. Difficulty varies from introductory to advanced-level coursework, also clearly labelled along with average course completion time. Everything you need to complete the course is accessible through the site or available for download onto your computer, mobile device or Kindle. Create an OpenLearn account for full access to the course, which may include assessments and a statement of participation.
- Managing and Managing People serves as an introduction to the world of management. Designed for advanced-level students, this course defines managerial effectiveness and the related skills, roles and activities of an effective manager. Also included in this eight-hour course are lessons on recognizing sources of stress, time management, role transition, and other practical subjects.
- How Teams Work is an advanced course that details the mechanics of working in a virtual project team. This ten-hour course consists of six chapters, covering different types of live and virtual teams, how team roles are allocated, decision-making, trust-building, and more. This course includes a glossary of terms, with convenient hyperlinks included in the lesson text.
- Making Decisions delves into the psychology of decision-making at the advanced level. Students learn how to gain insight into their decisions, decide effectively, and understand the decisions made by other people. This course requires about four hours of study time, covering seven chapters that can help you develop skills in perception and influence.
If you are an early-career business professional with an undergraduate degree, Smartly offers a 100% tuition-paid online MBA program that can be completed in ten months. However, admission to this program is highly selective, with decisions made after submitting a free application, and possibly sitting for an interview. The program itself is totally online and interactive, designed for mobile use by business professors from top MBA programs. It features self-guided and group activities, online lessons, and guided feedback. Courses cover management fundamentals, accounting, statistics, finance, marketing, strategy, and more.
- Microeconomics I: Supply and Demand is the first of three core microeconomics courses on Smartly. In this interactive course, students learn about the rudiments of microeconomics; what is microeconomics and how do markets determine prices? This course covers the supply and demand curves, equilibrium shifts, price elasticity, production costs, and other related topics.
- Business Ethics and Social Responsibility takes a look at internal and external corporate decision-making, and the ethical principles companies must take into account. Beginning with an introduction to business ethics, this course describes the traits of ethical and unethical companies, while explaining ethical theories and decision-making processes. Also includes topics in corporate responsibility, multicultural ethics, and damage control.