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.

Learning Model

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.

Program Delivery

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.

Time Commitment

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.

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About HBX

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.


Meet The Faculty

Bharat Anand

Bharat Anand

Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration

Bharat is passionate about media disruption, economics, and strategy. He has studied how new technologies affect what we watch, read, and hear - and is currently writing a book on this topic. That's what drew him to the HBX initiative and into creating the Economics for Managers course. He is the faculty chair for the HBX initiative, and also serves on the HarvardX Faculty Committee. Bharat has served as course head for the required first-year MBA Strategy course at HBS, and currently co-chairs the HBS executive education program on media strategies. He is a two-time recipient of the School's “best teacher” award.

Janice Hammond

Janice Hammond

Jesse Philips Professor of Manufacturing

Known on campus for her dedication to helping students learn, Jan is an advocate for pre-MBA education and serves as faculty chair for the HBS MBA Pre-matriculation Analytics Program. She has a long-standing interest in online learning, and has previously developed an online quantitative analysis course and a global supply chain management simulation. Jan is a Professor in the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) Unit, and has previously served as unit head of the TOM unit, course head for the required TOM course, and as a Senior Associate Dean at HBS. She currently teaches Supply Chain Management in the MBA program and is program chair for the HBS Executive Education International Women's Foundation and Women's Leadership Programs.

V.G. Narayanan

V.G. Narayanan

Thomas D. Casserly, Jr. Professor of Business Administration; Chair, MBA Elective Curriculum

V.G. spent many years thinking about what he would do if he had the opportunity to create an online course. Watching how his kids learned on the computer inspired him to rethink the possibilities; his Financial Accounting course is the result. V.G. has been teaching accounting at HBS for last 20 years and is currently the Chair of MBA Elective Curriculum. He has chaired the pre-MBA summer program at HBS and taught introductory accounting to incoming MBA students in the summer Analytics program for the past several years. He has also served as the course head for the first-year required accounting course for MBA students - Financial Reporting and Control. In addition, he chairs several executive education programs and serves on the boards of companies and non-profit organizations.

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