The HBX Credential of Readiness (CORe) is an online program on business fundamentals developed by Harvard Business School. The program consists of a suite of three courses that participants take in parallel—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting—and culminates with a single final exam. The goal of the program is to equip participants with the foundation for fluency in the language of business.
The HBX CORe courses, like HBS classes on campus, are built around the case method of instruction. Participants learn course concepts in the context of a real-world business situation, discovering insights and deepening understanding inductively as they analyze the situation through the eyes of CEOs and senior executives. A typical case study in CORe begins with a short video in which the leadership of the case study company (the “protagonist”) introduces the context of the company and situation. Cases then proceed with a combination of text, videos of faculty and case protagonists, animations, and interactive learning exercises.
Interactive elements of the CORe learning experience include “cold calls” during which students are selected at random to answer a question about a case, ungraded and graded multiple choice quizzes in each course module, optional weekly written assignments (CORe Connections), polls, interactive graphs, and a spreadsheet emulator.
Social or peer-to-peer learning is central to the CORe learning experience. Students take CORe alongside a cohort of 350-450 peers from around the world. Each page of course content includes a point of access to several peer-to-peer learning tools. Through Peer Help, for example, students can pose questions to the entire cohort pertaining to the specific course content on that page and answer questions that have been asked by others. Conversations are monitored by course content teams at HBX to ensure questions are answered correctly, but the dialogue is driven by peers surfacing insights and applying course content to different contexts.
HBX CORe is delivered entirely online with set start dates since participants take the program alongside a cohort of peers. Course content is gated—broken into modules released on set dates. Participants must complete course content and end-of-module quizzes at regular intervals, meeting deadlines every one to three weeks. Students can log into the course platform, complete assignments, and interact with peers at any time of day (and from any location where they have an internet connection). The program culminates with a single 3-hour final exam.
The program is also available for undergraduate credit through Harvard Extension School.
The HBX CORe Program is offered with multiple durations of study—ranging from 8 to 18 weeks. However, the course content and program requirements are identical regardless of the program length. Our goal in offering different program lengths is to give learners different options to balance the program’s rigors with their particular lifestyle and responsibilities.
The median time required to complete the program is approximately 150 hours, though this learning time varies widely among participants. Some participants spend more time on the platform to enhance their understanding of course concepts and share insights with peers. This time includes all coursework on the HBX platform (including written reflections and quizzes) as well as engagement with peers. (This does not include review work outside the platform or preparing for and taking the three-hour CORe final exam.) In the more accelerated versions of CORe—8-week and 10-week cohorts—participants spend more time per week on the program.
HBX, a digital learning initiative from Harvard Business School, leverages technology and multimedia to deliver engaging online learning experiences to business leaders around the world. With real-world, practical case studies and an interactive, social course platform, HBX is extending business education and the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning into the digital age.