Understanding concepts of economics—willingness to pay and price, fixed versus variable costs, economies of scale—is critical to business success. This course starts with the fundamentals of supply and demand—where they come from and why they're central to an understanding of business. You will learn how businesses think about pricing and production and powerful ideas like complements and network effects that firms rely on to generate demand. This course also dives into the functioning of markets, the force of competition, and strategies for differentiation. 

In the process of exploring these ideas, you will learn how to develop the beginnings of a competitive strategy that will lead to a business thriving over time.

Participating in Economics for Managers will allow you to:

  • Analyze the impact of market changes by constructing supply and demand curves
  • Determine a revenue-maximizing pricing strategy using the concept of elasticity
  • Evaluate techniques to learn about or increase demand
  • Perform a relative cost analysis
  • Examine the competitive landscape and market outcomes and forces
  • Assess monopolies, price discrimination, and differentiation

Course Structure

Economics of Managers consists of approximately 60 hours of material delivered over an eight-week period with a flexible program structure. There is no set time to log in. You complete the coursework on your own time while meeting regular deadlines. All course material is delivered through the innovative HBX online platform.

The HBX Learning Model centers around the Harvard Business School case method, featuring interviews with business leaders and executives from companies around the world who candidly discuss challenges they've faced or obstacles they've overcome. We ask you to step into their shoes and engage with your peers to work through these real-world business scenarios.

Topics covered include:

  • Demand & Supply
  • Suppliers & Cost
  • Markets
  • Competition & Differentiation


Participants in Economics for Managers are eligible for a Certificate of Completion from HBX and Harvard Business School. To earn the certificate, you must successfully complete all coursework by the stated deadlines, including satisfactory performance on quizzes, and actively contribute to the vibrant HBX learning community.

For those interested in learning business fundamentals more broadly, the 3-course HBX CORe program—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting taken in tandem—is available for $1,950. Learn more about the different pathways to earn the CORe credential

Who would benefit from taking Economics for Managers?

This course is for anyone looking to gain confidence in their understanding of economics to contribute to business discussions and decision making. There are no prerequisites for the program. Economics for Managers is intended for individuals at all stages of their careers—college students and recent graduates, those considering an MBA or other graduate program who would like to prepare for the classroom, or professionals looking to contribute more to business discussions and decision-making.

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What are HBX certificate programs?

HBX certificate programs are focused on one essential business topic. They combine the flexibility of online programming with the rigor and quality of a Harvard Business School education to give participants a unique edge in their careers.


Meet The Author

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.

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