Harvard Business School finally puts its stamp on online learning (2023)

HBX, the online learning platform of Harvard Business School, is getting a name change. Starting today, the platform will be known asHarvard Business School Online.

For an Ivy League business school once wary of entering the online education space, the rebranding is significant.NitinNohria, dean of Harvard Business School, once famously proclaimed that the school would not enter the online education arenain his lifetime.

That was a decade ago.Nohria, like many faculty members and administrators at elite institutions who were initially skeptical of online learning, has since had a change of heart. The school’s online learning platform is now going strong and has been deemed worthy of the prestigious Harvard Business School name.

PatrickMullane, executive director of HBX, said the name HBX made sense when the platformlaunched five years ago, but it “doesn’t really make clear that it’s part of Harvard Business School.”

At the time HBX was created, “X” was synonymous with online learning, saidMullane. A few years earlier, Harvard University had co-founded with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the massive open online course provideredX.

The HBX name often leads to false assumptions that HBX is connected toedX, saidMullane. In fact, the two are unrelated. HBX has its own proprietary technology. And while nonprofitedXhas focused on free online courses, from the outset HBX has charged a fee for its credentials.

Given thatedXis still struggling to find afinancially sustainable model, HBX’s strategy of charging for contentappears to have been the right approach, saidMullane. A 2017 financial report for Harvard Business School showed that in 2017, HBX generated $12million in revenue from just over 8,000 students. The group's revenue is expected to grow 50percent in 2018, though the report says it will take "several more years for HBX to become a surplus-generating activity."

EdXand online learning providerCourseraare targeting a mass market with low-cost offerings, he said. But HBX sees itself as more high-end. “It’s like PC vs. Mac,” he said.

More than 40,000 students have now completed a course with HBX, saidMullane.

Harvard Business School finally puts its stamp on online learning (1)

According to a recent survey conducted by market research firm City Square Associates, 91percent of nearly 1,000 students surveyed said taking an HBX course had improved their professional life. One in four survey respondents said they had gotten a promotion or title change as a result of taking the HBX course, and more than half said it led to an increased scope of work. Additionally, one-third were able to transition to a new field.

HBX is best known for its pre-M.B.A. program called Credential of Readiness, orCORe. But the platform has added 10 more programs in areas such as business analytics, financial accounting and negotiation mastery. Each course lasts between four and eight weeks and costs between $950 and $4,500.

HBX doesn't offer any degrees, and there are no plans for it to do so as Harvard Business School Online, saidMullane. Harvard's onlineM.B.A. alternative-- a graduate degree in management -- is offered through the Harvard Extension School. But HBX is experimenting with new pathways to degrees. TheCOReprogram, for example, can be taken for credit and counted toward an undergraduate degree in the Extension School. One university, Boise State University, has taken the step ofincorporating HBX programsinto its own degrees -- offering free HBX programs to students for credit with supplementary instruction from Boise State faculty members.

Gordon Jones, inaugural dean of the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State, said the introduction of HBX courses into the Boise State curriculum has gone well. Some institutions might be wary of relying on materials not created by their own faculty, but Jones said more institutions should take advantage of the HBX materials, instead of trying to replicate them. "I hope Harvard Business School Online continues to expand its course offerings and create new participation models," he said.

A SmartRebrand

Jason Simon,chiefoperating officer and partner at higher education marketing firmSimpsonScarborough, said it’s common for organizations to introduce a new product or service through a different name to “minimize risk to their overall brand equity.”

The “X” in HBX was a “nice way to enter the online space in a conservative manner,” said Simon. “It’s very similar to how Apple had iTunes and everything was ‘i’ this or ‘i’ that to signify a digital offering. But now those are legacy names and iTunes is called Apple Music. Newer products are simply named ‘Watch’ versus ‘iWatch.’ It’s almostpasséat this point.”

Harvard Business School may have been conservative in using its name initially, but online education is now so widely accepted by faculty members and prospective students that there is “little risk associated with extending the Harvard Business School name to the online offering,” said Simon. “In fact, the opposite is likely true,” he said. If Harvard Business Schooldidn’t put its name on its online offering, it might be perceived as not active and engaged in the online learning space -- losing prospective students.

Harvard Business School’s brand “carries a significant amount of weight” and will be attractive to prospective students, said Simon. “Too often colleges and universities fracture their brand identities by leading with unit-based names and programs, or creating separate logos for everything when the real equity lies in the institution’s name.”

“The rebranding of HBX to Harvard Business School Online is a signal that online education has well and truly arrived,” said Joshua Kim, director of digital learning initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning and a blogger forInside Higher Ed.

“For those of us in the online education game, Harvard Business School rebranding to embrace online is a great development,” said Kim. “We still fight to have the quality of online education be recognized as on par with residential education.”

But the real story of the rebranding from HBX to Harvard Business School Online “will not be the name, but where Harvard Business School plans to go with online education in the next few years,” he said.

Fornoneliteinstitutions that rely on the income generated by their M.B.A. programs, the growth of Harvard Business School Online could be a problem, said Kim.

“The risk that the Harvard Business Schools of the world will potentiallysiphonoff master’s students is one that should worry everyone who cares about the long-term financial sustainability of colleges and universities beyond the wealthy few.”

“An alternative credential from a top business school, one with a global reputation for excellence, may be perceived as having a higher value than a ‘regular’ degree, such as an M.B.A., from a school with a regional reputation,” said Kim.

Validation for Students

Some students who completed HBX’sCOReprogram are pleased about the name change.

Enrique Garcia-Rivera,principalscientist at biotech companynference, said that HBX required an explanation every time he mentioned it to employers.

“I think the new name will have a dramatic impact on the marketability of the program,” he said.

ShenekaBalogun, former campus president atVatterottEducational Centers (whichrecently closed) said she was “ecstatic” about the news.

“I know that it’s going to validate even more for us the accomplishment of finishing a Harvard Business School program,” she said. “I think it’ll help us be taken a bit more seriously.”Balogunsaid the HBXCOReprogram helped her to move into a senior university administration role, and prepared her for her MBA.

Jenna Pollack, achoreographerand dancer, noted that even though theHBX certificatesays Harvard Business School on it, changing the name to Harvard Business School Online would remove any doubt about the platform's association with the school.

All three former HBX students said that theCOReprogram helped them advance their careers. Pollack said she sometimes struggled to get proper compensation for her work.

“HBX gave me the tools I needed to feel confident in negotiations, to vouch for the things that I think need to change in the dance world,” said Pollack. The program has helped her to apply for competitive grants andcommunicatewith people from other disciplines. “Now I can speak their language,” she said.


Is Harvard Business School Online valid? ›

Is my previous certificate from Harvard Online on the HBS Online website still valid? Your certificate is absolutely still valid. You do not need to change how it's presented on your resume or LinkedIn.

Is Harvard Business School Online connected to Harvard University? ›

Harvard Business School (HBS) is the graduate business school of Harvard University, a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts.

Is Harvard Business School Online Certificate worth it? ›

In terms of value compared to an in-person MBA, the online program may not offer the same level of networking opportunities or access to resources as an in-person program. However, for individuals who are unable to commit to a full-time in-person MBA program, HBS Online provides a valuable alternative.

What rank is Harvard Business School Online? ›

Harvard University 2023-2024 Rankings

Harvard University is ranked No. 5 in Best Business Schools.

Can you put Harvard online courses on your resume? ›

If you've successfully completed an HBS Online course, we encourage you to list this accomplishment on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Your completion status can also be verified by downloading the Course Verification Form.

Is an online business degree respected? ›

How Employers Evaluate Online Degrees. As many as 83% of business leaders see an online degree at a “well-known” institution as having the same value as an on-campus degree.

How selective is Harvard Business School Online? ›

In 2020, Harvard received 9,304 applications for its full-time MBA program and extended admission to 859 candidates (that's a nitpicky 9% acceptance rate).

How difficult is it to get into Harvard Business School Online? ›

Considering the high standards Harvard School of Business has for its applicants, it is very hard to get into Harvard Business School. According to US News, Harvard is the second-best university in the US. The low acceptance rate indicates stiff competition between candidates. Plus, the 3.69 GPA is not an easy feat.

Are Harvard online degrees worth it? ›

Yes, online courses at Harvard are worth it if you are looking to earn a reputable certificate from a world-famous Ivy League university. Harvard University offers tons of courses in the areas of data science, computer science, education, and business, and having an additional certification is helpful for your career.

Is it worth doing MBA from Harvard? ›

Fortune ranks Harvard Business School as having the best full-time MBA program in the U.S.—and for good reason. Its program lands MBA grads good jobs, which ultimately place alumni “into the highest echelons of corporate America,” as we noted in the methodology for our full-time MBA ranking.

How much does it cost to go to Harvard Business School Online? ›

You will complete a total of six core courses, two immersions, and two seminars during your course of study. You should expect the total program fees to be $51,500 based on current program fee rates.

What GPA do you need to get into Harvard Business School Online? ›

There is no minimum GPA to apply, although our students usually have strong undergraduate records. Undergraduate academics are just one factor the Admissions Board uses to evaluate a candidate.

Is Harvard Business School better than Wharton? ›

Wharton is a top school for studying finance, while Harvard is more focused on consulting. The closest thing to finance that Harvard students can relate to is in the department of economics or statistics, but it's not even close to what Warton can offer you in terms of finance.

Which business school is better Harvard or Yale? ›

Being two reputed Ivy League schools, the Yale School of Management and the Harvard Business School rank high on the list of top business schools globally, with Yale at #14 and Harvard at #1 as per the Financial Times MBA Rankings 2020.

Is Harvard Business School better than Stanford? ›

Stanford has an advantage when it comes to ranking. Both schools have a few points of difference on various ranking lists. For example, QS World University ranks Stanford #1 and Harvard #2 for the best business schools in 2022. In US News ranking for best business school (MBA), Stanford has moved to the third rank.

Do Harvard online courses count? ›

Receive college credit.

Harvard Extension courses are credit-bearing, can be applied to related Harvard Extension certificates and degrees, and may be transferable to other universities.

Is Harvard online courses accredited? ›

Harvard's online program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accreditor. Students can take Harvard's online courses individually or enroll in a degree or certificate program.

Do online certifications look good on resume? ›

Not only can taking an online course help you develop some of the basic skills you'll need for the new position, but listing it on your resume is a good way to show that you have the skills required for the job and include the keywords necessary to get past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Are online MBA degrees respectable? ›

The simple answer is yes. Many employers view online MBA programs as being just as credible as traditional on-campus programs. They understand that the quality of an educational program depends on more than just the delivery method.

What is the best online university for business? ›

QS Global MBA Ranking 2021: Business schools offering online degrees
  • The University of Edinburgh.
  • Cranfield School of Management.
  • Durham University Business School.
  • Lancaster University.
  • Aston University.
  • University of Leeds.
  • Nottingham University Business School.
  • University of Strathclyde.

Are online degrees valued less? ›

Contrary to popular belief, online programs are not easier than on-campus programs. Online programs aren't necessarily more affordable, but they can be. Just like degrees earned on campus, online degrees are widely respected by employers.

How much do Harvard MBA graduates make? ›

Harvard Business School Placement Highlights 2022
Median base salary$175,000
Median signing bonus$30,000
Job sectorsBusiness Development, Finance, Consulting, Marketing, General Management, Strategic Planning
3 more rows
Jan 2, 2023

What GPA do you need for Harvard MBA? ›

To have the best shot of getting into Harvard's MBA program, you should aim for a 740+ on the GMAT or a 330+ on the GRE, with a 3.75 GPA or higher. You should have 4 years of work experience preferably in consulting.

Can an average student get into Harvard Business School? ›

Harvard Business School (HBS) is a highly competitive program, and it can be difficult to get into. According to HBS's website, the school received over 9,600 applications for the class of 2023, and the acceptance rate was just 11%. 11 out of every 100 that apply.

What is the average age to go to Harvard Business School? ›

Average age of the class at HBS is 27 years. At Columbia, it's 28. That's usually the range for most U.S. B-schools: 27-28 years.

What is the easiest course to get into at Harvard? ›

The Easiest Courses At Harvard
  • Neurobiology 95hfj: The Sleeping Brain. ...
  • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 59: Plants and Human Affairs. ...
  • Portuguese Ac: Beginning Portuguese for Spanish Speakers. ...
  • Psychology 950: Psychology Live! ...
  • Swedish A: Beginning Swedish Language and Literature.
May 1, 2017

Is Harvardx the same as Harvard? ›

Harvard Edx is a branch of Harvard University dedicated to offering the university's highest quality courses to dedicated learners across the globe. Harvard in conjunction with MIT founded the non-profit platform called edX. The two academic institutions provide courses pertaining to their university programs.

Is Harvard free online course legit? ›

Answer- Yes, the courses offered by Harvard University are free of charge. However, if you wish to get a verified certificate from the university, there is a small sum of money that must be paid for. The amount is mentioned in the course details for every course.

Is MBA worth it after 30? ›

The only answer to these questions is learning while doing an MBA at 30 or 40! You need to become a master at solving these real-life problems. And giving a break to your life to learn something new, to understand the shades of leadership, an MBA after 30 is the best option, and you can never be too late for an MBA.

How much does a Harvard MBA make after 20 years? ›

Harvard Business School graduates earn an average of US$3.6m over a 20 year, post-graduation time period, according to a new MBA salary survey.

How much do you make after 10 years of Harvard MBA? ›

Payscale provided data to CNBC Make It on how much alums of highly ranked business schools in the U.S. earn with 10 or more years of experience. Graduates of Harvard Business School take home the largest checks, earning a median annual salary of $204,800.

How many years is an MBA at Harvard? ›

Two Years.

Harvard Business School offers a two-year, full-time MBA program with a general management curriculum focused on real-world practice.

How do people pay for Harvard Business School? ›

Our students meet the annual cost of our MBA program through scholarships, savings, and student loans. The HBS Cost of Attendance includes both direct and indirect expenses. Direct expenses, tuition and fees, are charged directly to your student bill. Indirect expenses, such as living expenses, are more flexible.

How long is Harvard Business School Online? ›

CORe allows you to learn the fundamentals of business on a highly engaging and interactive platform designed by Harvard Business School (HBS) faculty. CORe consists of three critical business topics—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting—in a 10- to 12-week online course.

Can I get into Harvard with 3.2 GPA? ›

Generally speaking, the average GPA of students welcomed by Harvard into its campus is 3.9 unweighted and 4.15 unweighted. With most colleges and universities in the US accepting an unweighted 3.0 GPA, it's quite evident that Harvard wants above-average students. But, as always, there are exceptions to the rule.

How much SAT score is required for Harvard Business School? ›

Average SAT: 1520

The average SAT score composite at Harvard is a 1520.

Who gets accepted to Harvard Business School? ›

What GPA and GMAT/GRE score do I need to get into Harvard Business School? The average accepted GPA for successful applicants is 3.7. The median accepted score for the GMAT is 730. 6.

Why is Harvard Business School so famous? ›

Why is Harvard Business School so famous? HBS is one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. The school offers a number of opportunities. The large student body means you get to interact with a diverse group of classmates from around the world.

Is Harvard still the best MBA? ›

According to U.S. News' 2023-2024 MBA ranking, Stanford Graduate School of Business now ranks sixth in a tie with Dartmouth Tuck; Harvard Business School continues to languish in fifth place for the third consecutive year, while Wharton slips to the third position from first behind both No.

Is Wharton more prestigious than Harvard? ›

Wharton is slightly more prestigious than Harvard for finance in today's world due to its superior reputation for the technical (quants/programming skills) elements of finance. But in the arena of consulting Harvard is high above Wharton, and the combined effect gives the edge to Harvard.

What GPA is required for Harvard? ›

The GPA requirements for Harvard University are between 3.9 to 4.1. You will need an incredibly high GPA and will likely be graduating at the top of their class in order to get into Harvard University.

Are students happier at Yale or Harvard? ›

Yale students mention happiness more than their Harvard peers, but they all agree that these Ivy League universities shaped their lives, and gave them the best possible start in their careers – as well as an amazing network of friends and colleagues to take with them into the future.

Which is better MIT or Harvard? ›

In terms of standardized test scores, MIT students have slightly higher averages, with an SAT score of 1520 and an ACT score of 35, compared with Harvard's averages of 1480 and 35. Overall, these slight differences are nominal, meaning that both schools are extremely hard to get into.

What is the most prestigious business school in the world? ›

RankBusiness SchoolCountry
1The Wharton SchoolUS
2London Business SchoolUK
3MIT Sloan School of ManagementUS
4Harvard Business SchoolUS
156 more rows
Jan 4, 2023

What school is harder to get into Harvard or Stanford? ›

if you're worried about admissions, they're both difficult to get into, but Stanford is actually more selective than Harvard is (by a small margin).

Is Oxford more prestigious than Harvard? ›

The 'Times Higher Education' website has ranked Oxford University as the most prestigious university in the world, according to its rankings. As second place went to Stanford, Harvard was ranked 3rd.

Is Harvard online accredited? ›

Harvard's online program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accreditor. Students can take Harvard's online courses individually or enroll in a degree or certificate program.

How credible are Harvard online courses? ›

Yes, online courses at Harvard are worth it if you are looking to earn a reputable certificate from a world-famous Ivy League university. Harvard University offers tons of courses in the areas of data science, computer science, education, and business, and having an additional certification is helpful for your career.

Is Harvard Business School Online hard to get in? ›

Considering the high standards Harvard School of Business has for its applicants, it is very hard to get into Harvard Business School. According to US News, Harvard is the second-best university in the US. The low acceptance rate indicates stiff competition between candidates. Plus, the 3.69 GPA is not an easy feat.

Is a degree from Harvard Extension School the same as Harvard? ›

We are a fully accredited Harvard school. Our degrees and certificates are adorned with the Harvard University insignia. They carry the weight of that lineage. Our graduates walk at University Commencement and become members of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Are Harvard online courses transferable? ›

Harvard Extension School courses are accepted toward degrees at most colleges and universities. Because transfer policies and degree requirements vary among schools, students should confirm their home or prospective schools' policy about transfer credit before enrolling in courses.

Can you put free Harvard courses on resume? ›

Taking a course for free online is “enrolling in a class from Harvard.” Claiming that it is anything more is serious misrepresentation. If I take this course from Harvard, can I write on my resume that I attended Harvard? NO, you can just say you have completed this course offered by Harvard.

Will I get a certificate from Harvard online free course? ›

Yes, as long as you take the course through Harvard OpenCourseWare, you'll get a free certificate that you can share.

What are the benefits of Harvard online courses? ›

Benefits of Online Learning
  • We focus on human-centered learning. ...
  • Iterative course design keeps courses fresh and relevant for students and instructors.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to earn credit in rigorous, Harvard-quality courses.

How prestigious is Harvard Business School? ›

Harvard Business School Rankings
Ranking byRank
US and World Report#5
Times Higher Education (THE)#5
QS World Ranking#1
Sep 13, 2022


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