My Experience Taking HBS CORe

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

When the lockdowns began last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself having a significant amount of free time like everyone else. I considered myself fortunate to be working from home, but wanted to direct my energy toward self-improvement during my free time.

I started researching areas of interest online and decided to focus on business analytics. I completed the business analytics certificate offered by Wharton Online on Coursera, however, the lack of interaction with the course materials left me desiring more. I wanted an online learning experience that had the following 3 criteria:

  1. Interactive course materials
  2. Strong alumni network
  3. Improve my resume

I juxtaposed a hands-on guided project on Coursera with the Harvard Business School Online Credential of Readiness (HBS CORe) program. The HBS CORe program better aligned with my goals.

What is HBS CORe?

HBS CORe is a 3-course program offered by Harvard Business School Online. The courses taught are Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. The great part is that the courses are taught by actual HBS professors. The depth and quality were impressive for an online program.

The material is geared toward individuals without business backgrounds, however, a lot of business majors have graduated from CORe and are working in great careers in consulting, finance, tech, and many other industries.

My Thoughts, Experience, and Takeaways

I found some of the material duplicative of what I learned in undergrad, however, the case method HBS is known for is apparent throughout the curriculum. The case method taught me how to think about these concepts through the lens of a manager. I found this to be extremely helpful in my current role and foresee applying some of these concepts throughout my entire career.

The only feedback I have would be for the content to be refreshed as it is a few years old. The material was very interactive with the inclusion of group work, cold calls (questions pertaining to that subject that must be answered in 2 minutes or less), and interacting with peer’s responses.

The final exam was more challenging than expected. My cohort was the first cohort that had the exams fully online. Prior cohorts would have to register at a local Pearson VUE test center to take their exams. The recommended study time is 20–30 hours. If you plan on taking HBS CORe, I highly recommend putting in the time to study because the exam counts for most of the final grade. The quizzes at the end of each week are important too but are weighted significantly less than the exam.

From a networking perspective, you will meet a lot of interesting people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world. Upon acceptance into the program, you will immediately be added to a Facebook group for your cohort and after graduating you will be invited to join the broader alumni group with graduates from previous cohorts. HBS CORe really allows the opportunity to forge great relationships with your peers if you put in the effort.

You will learn how to approach business challenges from a managerial perspective and gain a better understanding of how your day-to-day work fits into the bigger picture of an organization. I will end this article with one final note. HBS CORe will likely not land you a job, but it will certainly help you stand out as a self-starter and lifelong learner.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brandon Roopnarain

Brandon Roopnarain


Finance & Tech | JPM alum | Sharing my experiences & helping others navigate career complexities.