Free Online Business Courses

There's a disruptive force in modern business education - much business knowledge is available for free, online. We'll go into more details on the MBA later, but for now I want to share some of the amazing self education business resources out there with emphasis on technology commercialization.

Thanks to the internet, business knowledge can now be largely learned for free if you know where to look. Here are the more "formal" online programs out there (for more informal learning, check out this post). A cool thing about online courses is you can take them when you have the time. 

The first thing to address is, what is the point? While we won't be doing clinical research directly, as business people we will likely have to interface with clinicians, nurses, and statisticians. It would therefore be crucial to have a general understanding of how the clinical side functions and develop genuine respect for how complicated clinical research is (confounding variables, etc). Remember, good clinical trials are required by the FDA and most health regulation agencies in the world for novel drugs.

To be honest, the statistics and epidemiology classes thus far have been somewhat dry, but hey, this is serious stuff. The information is definitely comprehensive and succinct. The lecturer obviously has strong understanding of the material, and gives examples of studies when she goes through the slides.

If you want, passing an exam with 70% or higher earns you a certificate showing that you completed the course and learned something. Live lectures take place at the NIH on evenings, but videos are uploaded on the site in 24-48 hours.

Certificate? Yes.
Mobile? No. Even on flash-enabled devices it does not work.

This class is an amazing primer for biotech commercialization. Everything from intellectual property, consulting, technology transfer, and funding is covered.  There are 9 lectures in total and an exam/certificate is also offered at the end. Participants are able to ask questions for 15-20 minutes at the end of each class, if you connect while the webcast is taking place. The live courses are at 3:30pm on Wednesdays, so many of us will not be able to participate, unfortunately. All videos are posted on the site shortly after. 

Being in the DC area, there are many familiar names on the list of lecturers. Each topic is covered by a domain expert and each lecture contains a ton of information. Since each of these topics probably deserves its own course, the information is also somewhat general and does not dive in too deep - which is actually good for entrepreneurs since experts such as attorneys and consultants will be hired anyway. Overall a fantastic resource to learn the basics and is something I recommend to all my scientist friends interested in moving into business.

Certificate? Yes.
Mobile? So-so. Some lectures will work on flash-enabled mobile devices, some won't.

This is a platform from Stanford University to offer free courses taught by Stanford professors. There are roughly 5-6 courses, and even group projects and homework assignments. Courses include finance (I'm enrolled in this), technology entrepreneurship, creativity, etc. These are courses that an MBA program might offer, and my goal was to gain knowledge so I can begin applying them even now (I've found that insight is often gained after knowledge is integrated with experience). Plus, as junior scientists we rarely have an opportunity to be trained in these diverse subjects. This is a great resource for career changers.

Lectures are short (~1 hour per week?) and videos are uploaded on Youtube so it makes watching on mobile devices easy. The homework and group projects are optional for some classes, but would be highly recommended for group-based courses (I've yet to take these). I personally don't see much value in getting the instructor-signed document, but the learning opportunity has been invaluable. 

Certificate? Sort-of. You can get an instructor-signed document showing you completed the course.
Mobile? Absolutely! Uses Youtube.

Shoutout to Su Jun for telling me about this!


"Take the World's Best Courses, Online, For Free." Cool. I haven't used this extensively, but the course offerings are broad. Anything from Astronomy to Poetry is covered, so you can brush up on science courses too, if you'd like. Under business, there are courses such as healthcare entrepreneurship, finance, organizational development. Participating schools include Duke, U Penn, Stanford, U Mich, etc. Founded by Stanford professors. 

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