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Why Doesn't Harvard Have an Online MBA Program?

harvard business school online mba harvard business school online programs

Harvard Business School is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Each year there are tens of thousands of prospective students applying to its various courses and programs from the full-time MBA to executive MBA.

With that being said, it may surprise you that HBS still doesn’t offer an online MBA program for students hoping to attend the business school.

So, why doesn’t Harvard offer an MBA? In 2012, HBS felt online education technology wasn’t a good fit for delivering courses which are taught using the case method, which relies heavily on class discussion.

Discussing a case in a smaller group setting, as well as a larger classroom setting gives students a broader perspective on the facts of the case. Harvard officials feel that the online MBA format cannot replicate the same level of case method discussion that can occur in a classroom.

But that’s where Harvard Business School Online comes in.

When did HBS Online launch?

In 2014, Harvard Business School launched HBX, a digital learning initiative aimed at broadening the School’s reach and deepening its impact.

HBX’s flagship program Credential of Readiness (CORe) covered financial accounting, economics and analytics – using Harvard’s famed case study method of teaching, making it the perfect course to prepare you for an MBA (should you be so inclined).

However, the platform has changed somewhat. In 2019, HBX was rebranded as Harvard Business School Online to raise awareness for its online courses, having significantly grown over the years, offering students even more specialized programs online.

Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School said in an interview: “Harvard Business School Online has allowed us to extend the reach of the School to people wherever they are in the world.

“Through this innovation we have brought much of what is special about the HBS experience to life online, helping us to achieve our educational mission in an entirely new medium.”

In 2019, 19,304 students enrolled onto the 12 programs featured at HBS online. Of the students, 44 percent are international, and 37 percent are female. The online platform held 192 live virtual platform sessions with 29 countries represented in a single session.

Top 10 Online MBA Programs 2020

The HBS Online edge

Students who have taken courses through HBS Online have noted a number of benefits from the system.

In June 2019, Harvard Business School Online celebrated five years of existence. It has:

  • Educated 50,000+ learners from 170+ countries
  • Launched 12 online programs
  • Conducted 400+ live sessions with the help of 77 HBS faculty
  • Developed 90+ teaching elements
  • Established 29 Community Chapters and grown to nearly 6,800 members
  • Collaborated with 62 colleges and 365 corporations
  • Engaged 330,000+ social media followers

In a survey conducted by City Square Associates, nearly 1,000 past participants shared the career growth they achieved as a result of completing an HBS Online course. Among the highlights: 89 percent gained new business skills, 50 percent attracted more attention from recruiters, and 90 percent are more confident at work.

Online Resources to Use For Your MBA Application

Online courses available at Harvard

As one of the world’s top business schools, HBS had a wide number of courses available.

Some of the other available online courses at HBS Online (alongside Credential of Readiness (CORe)) include:

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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