best online course for business

Choosing the right online course can be overwhelming. There are a lot of things to consider and it is hard to know what will work best for you. I tested a lot of products myself. This led me to create my own list of recommended online courses for business.

Our editors independently research and recommend the best products and services. You can learn more about our independent review process and partners in our advertiser disclosure. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

While you can spend years and six-figures earning a business degree like an MBA, it’s possible to get much of that knowledge from the comfort of home at a fraction of the price. While online business courses don’t carry the same prestige as an advanced degree from an accredited college or university, they still help round-out your business knowledge when looking to improve how to manage a business.

If you are going to invest the time and money required to complete an online business course, it’s a good idea to spend some time picking the right course that aligns with your education goals and budget constraints. To help you get started, we reviewed hundreds of business courses to find the best options for a wide range of people looking to level-up their business IQ. Read on to find the best online business courses for your unique needs.

Best Online Business Courses for 2022

Best Online Business Courses

BEST OVERALLBusiness Strategy from Wharton – Competitive Advantage


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Get an all-around education on business strategy from one of the best business schools in the world at no cost.Pros

  • Get a crash course in business strategy over six weeks
  • Learn about topics like value proposition, strategic positioning, and testing new strategies
  • Course taught by a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Take the course for free (optional $199 fee for a course completion certificate)

Cons

  • Intermediate-level course requires some business acumen
  • No ongoing enrollment–specific course dates

According to U.S. News and World Report, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is tied for the number one ranking as the best business school in the United States. But while it costs close to $76,000 per year to attend the school full-time, you can take a business strategy course from the school for free online on the EDX platform.

As the name suggests, Business Strategy from Wharton is all about business strategy. Topics include essential business concepts around presenting your product or service’s value and how to position against competitors. You may already know why your business is a good choice for customers; however, when you’re done with this course, you’ll have concrete steps to turn that knowledge into an action plan that gives your firm a competitive advantage.

This course stands out as a good choice because it teaches essential business strategy topics from one of the best business schools in the world, for free. And there’s only a commitment of up to four hours per week for six weeks. New business owners and veterans with decades of experience alike could all come away with a wealth of knowledge without spending a dime. And it comes from one of the most trusted names in business education in the world.

BEST FOR STARTING A NEW BUSINESSSBA – Business Legal Requirements


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This is our top choice because it offers a quick introduction to business registration, taxes, and licensing in a concise and easy-to-understand way from one of the top small business authorities in the United States.Pros

  • 20-minute course covers essential legal topics for business owners
  • No registration required
  • The course is completely free

Cons

  • Only a high-level introduction to complex topics
  • Additional reading is likely required to understand applicable topics better

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers free courses for business owners. The Business Legal Requirements course is a 16-part video course with videos up to about three minutes long on business registration, taxes, licensing, and employment.

Each video is simple and easy to understand, even if you don’t have a strong business background. The course covers topics that may not relate to some businesses, such as securities registration and environmental regulations. But the low time commitment makes it worthwhile to learn about how these rules may affect your business.

While these lessons are not extremely in-depth, the price is right, and it comes from a very trustworthy source. There is no better place to learn about government regulations than from the United States Small Business Administration. This free video series concisely explains the steps you need to follow to start a business without taking too much time, so you can quickly get to work building your new company.

BEST FOR ACCOUNTINGMIT – Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting


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This class is our top choice because it covers core accounting topics that most business owners and executives should understand from one of the most respected universities in the world.Pros

  • Take a real college class from MIT’s business school
  • No cost for this course
  • Learn about the backbone of a business’s financial operations

Cons

  • The full course is a major time commitment
  • Some 2004 material may be dated

Because your business’s goal is to make money, you’ll want to take the time to understand how your business finances and accounting should work to your business’s best advantage. You can take Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting for free from the archives at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Sloan ranks as the fifth-best business school, according to U.S. News and World Report. This is a real college course recorded in Spring 2004 with MIT undergrads. The course includes lecture notes, exams and solutions, and course assignments.

This course is taught for users of financial and managerial accounting reports, so it’s for general business owners, not accountants. When you’re done with the course, you’ll be in a better position to use the bookkeeping and accounting reports you or your team create every month and year for your business. It is our top choice because of the topics covered, cost, and the reputation of the institution.

BEST FOR FINANCEHarvard – Leading with Finance


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This is our top choice because it helps business owners and leaders from any industry understand the financial decision-making process to maximize your effectiveness in any role from one of the world’s leading business schools.Pros

  • Learn online from a professor from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School
  • Course material designed for business professionals outside of finance roles
  • Use case studies to see financial concepts in action

Cons

  • $1,600 course registration fee
  • Course offered on limited dates
  • Application required

If you want to learn more about business finance to better navigate your current career or to jump into a new career in a finance role, the six-week Leading with Finance course is a solid investment. The $1,600 course works through six modules with instruction, exercises, quizzes, and a final capstone project at the end.

The six modules covered in the course are financial analysis, finance versus accounting, capital markets, creating value, valuation, and capital allocation. Upon successful completion, you’ll earn a certificate from Harvard Business School Online that looks great on your LinkedIn profile in addition to the knowledge you’ll gain.

This course stands out as a great choice because it covers financial topics that empower key decision-makers, and it’s delivered by one of the top business schools in the world.

BEST FOR MARKETINGUniversity of Maryland – Fundamentals of Digital Marketing


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This course covers one of the most important areas of marketing for modern businesses with actionable insights that you can use to increase your online presence and results.Pros

  • Learn marketing concepts from University of Maryland staff
  • Take the course for free
  • Leave with an understanding of what it takes to promote and build a business reputation online

Cons

  • Fee required for a certificate

If you’re interested in building your business’s reputation online, you’ll want to learn about digital marketing strategies that are effective today. A team from the University of Maryland teaches this course covering digital marketing strategy, lead generation, marketing through mobile devices, omnichannel marketing, and more. This course is run on the EDX platform.

This online marketing course is four-weeks long and takes three to five hours per week to complete. You can enroll for free or pay $499 for a certificate. It’s an introductory level course, so you don’t need a strong marketing background for a good experience.

We like this course because it is entry-level and covers a wide range of valuable information in a relatively short time from credentialed experts at a trusted institution. This course can help you get your feet wet in online marketing and leave you with enough info to execute your first online marketing plan.

BEST FOR BUSINESS LAWHarvard – From Trust to Promise to Contract


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Taught by a respected professor at one of the nation’s top law schools, this is the best law course for business because it covers a topic nearly all businesses encounter on a regular basis with enough depth for you to make informed contract-related decisions.Pros

  • Learn from a Harvard Law professor
  • The course is free, or pay $199 for an optional certificate
  • Learn about what makes contracts valid and enforceable, among other topics

Cons

  • The intermediate level course requires some basic background in business or law

Signing a contract can be a big deal, especially for business owners who deal with employees, vendors, and government entities. This course addresses that and is taught by a highly credentialed Harvard Law professor who’s been teaching at the institution since 1961.

From Trust to Promise to Contract from HarvardX (the edX courses offered through Harvard) takes eight weeks to complete with a time commitment of three to six hours per week. It’s intermediate level, which means it is designed for those with a little background in the topic. But that shouldn’t scare you off if you’re a quick study.

We like how this course covers multiple important topics related to contract law that business owners and managers likely need to know about, brought to you by one of the most recognized universities in the world.

Bottom Line

By taking courses that fill in your business knowledge gaps, you can get many of the perks of going to business school without setting foot in a classroom or spending any money. Some courses are worth spending on, but there may be good alternatives available for free as well.

Elite colleges and universities sometimes open up their classrooms to the virtual world for free or at a low price, which can give you a more college-like experience without the time or financial commitment.

Courses are a fun and low-commitment way to build your business knowledge. These best business courses can give you a jump start in core topics that could affect your business’s bottom line. From our top choice, a strategy course from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, to more topic-specific courses from other respected universities and sources, any of these could increase your business acumen without breaking the bank.

Compare Providers

Category Course Title AffiliationPrice
Best OverallBusiness Strategy from Wharton: Competitive AdvantageWharton School – University of PennsylvaniaFree / $199 for certificate
Best for Starting a New BusinessBusiness Legal RequirementsSmall Business AdministrationFree
Best for AccountingIntroduction to Financial and Managerial AccountingMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Free
Best for FinanceLeading with FinanceHarvard$1,600
Best for MarketingFundamentals of Digital MarketingUniversity of MarylandFree / $499 for certificate
Best for Business LawContract Law: From Trust to Promise to ContractHarvardFree / $199 for certificate

FAQs

What Are Online Business Courses?

Online business courses are digital classes that cover a specific topic. Some online business courses follow a set schedule led by a live instructor, while others are self-led at any time and at your own pace.

Due to the nature of online business courses, some colleges, universities, and other content creators offer free digital courses. Others require a fee to join, which may be worth it for specific topics or credentials.

When you take a course online, you can generally expect video, audio, written content, or a combination that guides you through the learning experience.

Are Online Business Courses Worth It?

Online business courses can absolutely be worth it. As with many free digital products, you sometimes get what you pay for. However, many high-quality courses exist, both free and paid.

To decide if the financial and time commitment is worth it for you, read the course description, syllabus, topics covered, and reviews from any prior students. Sticking with reputable platforms and institutions can also help you ensure you choose a quality course that’s worth your energy.

What Are the Most Useful Business Course Topics?

The most useful business course topic is the one you know the least about. If you are brand new to business, consider starting with courses on marketing, finance, accounting, and business strategy.

Depending on your business or goals, you may want to take niche courses as well. Courses relevant to your industry or role are likely available in addition to the general topics covered here.

What Do Online Business Courses Cost?

Online business courses can vary widely in cost. Many courses are available for free. Others may offer a free version or require payment for certification at the end of the course. But on the high end, you may find courses that cost many thousands of dollars.

Paying for online courses can be worthwhile, but take care to not overpay for a course that won’t deliver the value you’re seeking.

How We Chose the Best Online Business Courses

To choose the best online business courses, the Investopedia team reviewed dozens of courses across a range of online platforms. Winners covered important topics with a depth-level appropriate for a wide range of small business owners as well as managers and executives at businesses of any size. In addition to course topics, the source of the instruction was very important to the selection process with a focus on highly-reputable, accredited institutions.

10 Best Online Business Courses For Elevating Your Business Skills

Online business class, alternative to MBA
PHOTO BY TIMA MIROSHNICHENKO FROM PEXELS

10 Best Online Business Courses

  1. Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting
  2. Business Intensive (Strategy & Business Management)
  3. Introduction to Negotiation
  4. Work Smarter, Not Harder
  5. Become a Digital Marketer
  6. Sales Training
  7. Essential Public Speaking
  8. Brand Identity and Strategy
  9. PMP Certification Training (Project Management)
  10. Graphic Design Bootcamp

So, should you take one of these online business courses or enroll in an MBA program? Great question — I’ve thought about this one a lot.

In 2020, the only result a brand name, full-time MBA program can guarantee is a six-figure debit in your bank account.

Full-time tuition at top schools is north of $200k. And that number doesn’t include the opportunity cost of leaving the workforce for two years, nor does it factor in the interest on any loans you take out.

Pre-COVID, the core benefits of MBA programs were the on-campus career fairs and on-site employer visits. But with the current state of the world, these events aren’t happening anymore. Traditional recruiters of business school grads are nowhere to be found. MBA jobs are declining at an alarming rate.

While I don’t think an MBA is worth it anymore, investing in building your business skills has never been more important. And with a computer, Internet connection, and the right online business course, you can replicate (and even exceed) the knowledge and network an MBA program promises — at a fraction of the cost. 

So, let’s get you started! We put together a summary of the 10 best online business courses:

10 Best Online Business Courses

1. Finance – Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting for Non-Financial ManagersForbes LeadershipEmbrace These 5 Inclusive Marketing Principles To Win More CustomersREAD MORE

Basic finance skills are important for everyone. It’s crucial to understand how the bottom line works and how you and your team play into it. You don’t need to be an accounting pro, but knowing the fundamentals is key.

In this course, dive into: uncovering profitability drains, justifying purchases, interpreting financial reports, and adequately demonstrating your value and ROI to your boss — something every single employee should be able to do.

2. Strategy & Business Management — 2-Month Business Intensive 

Do you want to build a comprehensive business skill set? Is networking and career support really important to you? Good news: The brunchwork Business Intensive teaches eight core business skills while also building your network.

In this two-month course, you’ll complete hands-on projects, including: refining and testing a business concept, creating a McKinsey-caliber presentation, analyzing financial reports, developing a business strategy, crafting a marketing and sales plan, conducting user interviews, building a no code website, and more. 

There are also weekly guest speakers such as former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, PayPal Founding COO David Sacks, Ellevest Cofounder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck, and Peloton Cofounder Graham Stanton.

100% active learning, the Business Intensive is a great way to transition from a passive consumer of business knowledge to an active business leader with a well-rounded skill set and network. The Business Intensive serves as a robust business management course.

3. Negotiation – Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator

 From term sheets, to your salary, to getting the best possible discount on your new car — good negotiating skills will help you get exactly what you want (and deserve), both professionally and personally.

Learn how to craft strategic arguments that yield optimal results. Plus, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice and receive invaluable feedback. 

 4. Productivity — Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

Don’t let all of your business skills go to waste due to a lack of time management and productivity prowess. Get better at setting goals, prioritizing tasks, managing your schedule, and delegating strategically.

Everyone has their own time management barriers, and this course will help you overcome each one by introducing you to several productivity tricks and tools.

5. Marketing – Become a Digital Marketer

Digital marketing skills are in high demand. And though many of us are quite technologically savvy, digital marketing is not nearly as easy as it seems. Rather, it’s quite complex and involves several different strategies and moving parts.

Get up to speed on omni-channel marketing, marketing analytics, social media strategy, customer retention, and more. By the end, you’ll be able to overcome the “digital skills gap” many traditional marketers face today.

6. Sales and Business Development — Sales Training: Building Your Sales Career

Do you think you know what it takes to be successful in a sales career? You might be surprised at what the real answer is.

No matter where you’re at in your sales career, this course will teach you more about: active and passive buyers, getting buyers’ attention and building relationships, and the critical importance of being able to understand the buyer’s context and perspective.

Start closing more deals today.

7. Public Speaking — Essential Public Speaking

Good public speaking skills are essential for everyone. They’ll help you gain the confidence to present a deck to a client, share company transitions with your team, and speak up in any meeting. Decrease your speech anxiety and improve your communication skills once and for all.

And the best part about this course? There’s a huge virtual reality component in which you can practice speaking in a variety of virtual scenarios, like in an auditorium and a board room. 

8. Branding – Brand Identity and Strategy

A strong brand identity is key to a company’s success. Just look at timeless brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Disney, and newer companies like Allbirds, Warby Parker, and Glossier.

A solid brand tells a company’s story in a way that connects with customers, draws them in, and keeps them coming back for a long time. Learn all the branding tips and tricks you need.

9. Project Management — PMP Certification Training Course

This is the perfect way to prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, the gold standard in the field. But it’s still incredibly valuable even if a certification isn’t in your future.

Learn the ins and outs of the core competencies project managers need, including successfully managing people across teams, so you can seamlessly take projects from zero to completion.

10. Design  Graphic Design Bootcamp: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

 Whether you want to create a logo, event announcements, or beautiful backgrounds for your website, basic graphic design skills are incredibly useful to have.

In this bootcamp, learn how to work with three of the best design tools — Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign — plus how to leverage them for both print and digital projects. Take your branding and marketing assets to the next level all on your own. 

Paulina Karpis is the co-founder and CEO of brunchworka co-learning company that delivers modern business education. brunchwork teaches thousands of millennial professionals annually via a online business management class, membership, and a popular newsletter.

10 Free Great Online Courses for Business

10 Free Great Online Courses for Business 1

You don’t need to spend a small fortune on an MBA to learn about business. In the world of online learning, there are hundreds of educational opportunities just waiting to be seized. Today’s digital learning platforms have plenty of free courses in business for all skill levels, from beginners to those who are well-established in the field.

The best free online business courses offer an easy-to-use interface and expert instruction from industry leaders. We’ve scoured the web looking for the top-rated courses and applied an exclusive methodology to them to present only the most suitable and practical options. They are listed below in descending order with our top picks first.

Featured Programs

Disclaimer: Some courses may include an affiliate link. Courses were chosen first based on the methodology with affiliate links only added after the ranking was complete.

Whether you are just starting out as a small business owner or freelancer, or you’ve got a well-established operation with hundreds of employees, you will likely find something on this curated list to pique your interest. Following the review, we will cover some frequently asked questions about how online courses work.

Ranking 10 Free Online Courses for Business

 1. The Future of Work: Preparing for Disruption

Offered by World Bank Group via edX

This online business course offered through the World Bank Group was a winner in Class Central’s 2019 awards for being one of the best free online courses. Students can opt for the paid version for only $5, which gives them an instructor-signed shareable certificate with the WBG logo, but this is not a requirement. It can also be taken in its entirety free.

The course explores how artificial intelligence, advanced technologies, and automation are disrupting traditional industries and changing the face of business all over the world. Students will learn through short talks, podcasts, readings, quizzes, and exercises about the new skill sets required in the 21st century.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a $5 fee

Time to Complete: Five weeks

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by 12 prominent leaders at the World Bank Group

•Fascinating content

•Optional certification is only $5

Cons:

•None

 2. Inbound Marketing Free Certification Course

Offered by Hubspot Academy

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Course is a four-hour industry-recognized program ideal for business owners who want to learn more about how to focus their inbound marketing efforts. It features 10 lessons, 34 videos, and nine quizzes. It is designed for those with little experience, making it a great online business course for those who are looking to implement a digital strategy. During the free online business course, students will learn about:

•The fundamentals of inbound marketing

•How to plan a long-term content strategy

•Social media promotion

•Conversational growth strategies

•How to create a conversion optimization strategy

•Nurturing leads

Upon successful completion, students will be awarded official certification from HubSpot, which can be displayed on a resume, CV, LinkedIn page, or website. 

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes

Time to Complete: Four hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by four industry experts

•Superior user experience

• Industry recognized certification

Cons:

•Too short

 3. Free Diploma in E-Business

Offered by Alison

Developed by Mike Feerick in 2007, Alison was the first massive online open course (MOOC) platform on the web and one of the best places to find great online free business courses. The Diploma in E-Business course is sponsored by Google and provides students with an excellent overview of analytics, search optimization, AdWords, analysis, metrics, digital measurement, and much more.

Upon completion, you will receive a Learner Achievement Verification Report, or you can opt to purchase a certificate from the site’s online shop for around $20.

For business owners looking to develop a substantial web presence, there has never been a better time. As consumers take their purchasing power online, companies need to adapt to the changing landscape of how marketing is done, and this free online business course is just what beginners need to get the ball rolling.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Six to ten hours

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Sponsored by Google

•Easy-to-use platform

•Over 86,000 students have enrolled in the course

Cons:

•Students wishing to obtain a verified certificate will need to purchase it in the online store

 4. Foundations of Business Strategy

Offered by University of Virginia via Coursera

This 14-hour course can be completed in about four weeks of study but can also be taken at your own pace. Each week’s lessons feature videos, readings, and quizzes taught by two faculty members at the Darden School of Business at UV and provides an excellent overview of business strategy. Topics covered in this free online business course include:

• Theory and frameworks of successful business strategy

• How to use SWOT, environmental analysis and competitor tools

• Understanding how to assess structure and profitability

• Analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of generic competitor positions

• How to use a capabilities analysis to guide decision making

• Strategy maps

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: 14 hours

Curriculum: Introductory to intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Reset deadlines according to your schedule

•Subtitled in English, Vietnamese, and Portuguese

•No previous experience required

Cons:

•Certification requires a fee

 5. Creating a Business Plan

Offered by LinkedIn Learning

Taught by nationally recognized speaker and blogger Mike Figliuolo, this free online course in business takes just a little over an hour, but it packs a lot of information into that time slot. If you want to build a business or expand the one you already own, it’s well worth your time. Mike guides you through the process of defining your business, researching the market, and determining your product. He then touches upon sales strategy, forecasting, staffing, and day-to-day operations.

You can take the course for free if you already have a LinkedIn premium membership (most business owners do) or sign up for a trial and access the classes at no charge for a month.

Cost: Free with LinkedIn Premium Try a free trial for Linkedin Learning.

Certificate: Yes

Time to Complete: One hour

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by an industry expert

•Receive a completion badge for your profile or CV

•Excellent user interface

Cons:

•Must cancel LinkedIn premium before the trial is up to avoid fees

 6. Entrepreneurial Operations: Launching a Startup

Offered by Babson College via edx

This engaging four-week course is being provided by Babson College, a top-ranked school for entrepreneurship education. Taught by Assistant Professor Jennifer Bailey, it is easily one of our favorite free online courses in business, as it is quite thorough. The course examines real-world operational challenges in starting any new business venture and considers frameworks, setups, and tools for a variety of industries.

Each module features a different concept and includes case studies, readings, and lectures that keep users engaged and interested. Certificates for the online business course can be obtained at the paid level of edX; however, the lessons of each module can be audited for free. Auditing the course allows you to read and view all of the content.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Four weeks

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Comprehensive and informative

•Excellent user experience

•Go at your own pace

Cons:

•Certification only available at the paid level

 7. Business Fundamentals: Effective Communication

Offered by Future Learn

FutureLearn offers this business communications course as part of their Business Fundamentals program, a four-course program in necessary business skills. It is also one of the only offerings on our list that students can earn credit for. The paid level of the program offers perks like certification; however, all students can take it in audit mode at no charge. During the free online business course, you will improve both your written and verbal communication skills by:

• Learning how to write useful emails and make productive phone calls

• Deliver online communication professionally

• Give engaging presentations

• Write professional proposals and reports

• Conduct productive meetings

• Learning about trends in communication

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: Four weeks

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Taught by industry leader and speaker Hillary Collins

•Part of a certification program in business fundamentals

•Perfect for beginners

Cons:

• The course has set start times, so you need to plan accordingly

 8. How to Launch a Successful Startup Company

Offered by MIT

MIT’s Open Source Learning platform offers this comprehensive course on how to launch a successful startup company. It is a graduate-level course led by William Aulet, Howard Anderson, and Professor Matt Marx.

The free business course online shows students how to identify and quantify market opportunities, covering conceptualizing, planning, and starting a technology-based enterprise. Students will learn how to develop detailed business plans for a startup. The course can be taken by anyone who wants to start their own business, grow an existing business, or move into management roles in a startup. It is also helpful for students who wish to understand the entrepreneurial process better.

MIT’s MOOC courses have no set schedule and can be started at any time with no sign-up or hassles. The classes are not graded or certified, but they do cover the same material as the original course taught at the Institute.

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: Varies

Curriculum: Intermediate

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•No sign-up necessary

•Go at your own pace

•Excellent reputation

Cons:

•You cannot receive credit for the course

 9. E-Commerce Essentials: How to Start A Successful Online Business

Offered by Skillshare

Taught by Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce Tracey Wallace, this short course contains nine quick lessons that can be accessed for free on the Skillshare platform. The free online business course takes just over an hour. Students will learn about the current state of E-commerce and how to identify a niche, evaluate its viability, and conduct market analysis. Tracey also covers how to set up your store and how to do so for maximum profitability. There are over 475 similar short online courses available on the Skillshare platform, as well as many longer sessions that can be accessed via a monthly membership.

Cost: Free

Certificate: No

Time to Complete: One hour

Curriculum: Introductory

User Experience: Good

Quality of Instruction: Good

Pros:

• Short and easy-to-digest lessons

• Taught by an industry leader

• Video tutorials

Cons:

• Too short

10. Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand, and Behavior

Offered by London Business School via Coursera

Taught by Professor Nader Tavassoli of London Business School, this engaging free online course in business is designed to change the perception of brands as being the identity of an organization and instead teach students to see them as a whole customer experience. It is approximately 25 hours long and provides a comprehensive overview of branding and the psychology behind it, including:

• How to build brands from a broad perspective

• How brands can change the culture of a company’s human resource practices

• How to build brands cross-culturally and globally

• Measuring brand health in non-traditional ways

• How to evaluate the ROI of brands across an organization and how to use employee-based equity to improve results

The course concludes with a peer-reviewed assignment that asks students to reflect on what they have learned throughout the lessons.

Cost: Free

Certificate: Yes, with a fee

Time to Complete: 25 hours

Curriculum: Introductory to Intermediate

User Experience: Excellent

Quality of Instruction: Excellent

Pros:

•Led by a top-instructor on Coursera

•Well-reviewed

•Plenty of excellent material

Cons:

•Certification is only offered at the paid level

Bonus: MasterClass Courses

Help your business thrive with courses from MasterClass. While these courses are not free, you may want to check out these courses taught by the best-of-the-best.

Frequently Asked Questions About Free Business Courses

The abundance of free online business courses is truly staggering, and a result of the tech-based world we live in. Many aspects of business, marketing, and technology intersect and overlap. There are a variety of online learning platforms and MOOCs one can access to learn about nearly every aspect of business they choose. If you are thinking about taking some online business courses, you might have some questions. In this section, we will attempt to provide you with answers.

Who Should Take Free Business Courses?

In most instances, free online business courses are available to anyone who wants to participate. Whether you are still in high school or the head of a Fortune 500 company, you can find something applicable to you in the world of online learning.

Some choose to take classes because they want to start a business. Other people want to grow their existing businesses. For many people, taking courses in business can improve their chances of being hired or enhance their productivity and prospects of a promotion at work.

There are as many reasons to choose online business courses as there are personalities and interests, and even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, you can still benefit from some of the skills and principles taught in many of these courses.  

What Are the Requirements and Prerequisites?

Typically speaking, enrollment in a free business course online does not require previous training. But to give yourself the best foundation for success, you should at least know your way around a computer and have some basic search and typing skills.

Will I Earn College Credits by Taking a MOOC?

While most free online courses in business do not offer college credits, there are exceptions. One of the courses on our list, Business Fundamentals, Effective Communication, is eligible for credit. In some cases, a University will offer life-skills credit for coursework that has been taken as an elective. When in doubt, you should check with your school to see if any of the skills you learned are transferable.

 How Long Do Free Online Courses Take?

Free Great Online Courses for Business

Most free business courses take a few weeks to complete, but others can take as little as an hour or two or as long as a year, depending upon the offering. One of the best parts about them is the flexibility these courses provide to students with busy schedules. Since there are no enforced completion times, students can work at their own pace around what they are already doing.

Are Free Online Courses Graded?

While you will often find auto-graded quizzes as part of the lessons, most MOOCs are typically not graded, and you won’t interact with an instructor. The classes are for personal enrichment only. Graded components of a course can sometimes be found behind a paywall, and these often include capstone projects, final exams, or certificates of completion. 

 The Course I Want to Take Says It’s Free. Why Does It Look Like There Is a Fee Involved?

Graded components or completion certificates for free online business courses are typically found behind a paywall. This means you might be offered a trial or a membership fee that gives you unlimited access to a learning platform’s course catalog.

You may also opt to pay a small fee to acquire a shareable badge or certification.

All of the courses on our list have been chosen because they cost students nothing to take in audit mode. If you want to upgrade to the paid components of a class, you are free to do so, but it is not a requirement.

If you need a digital certificate but can’t afford it, some platforms offer financial assistance. You can contact individual providers for more information.

 Are Free Online Business Courses Worth It?

There is nothing to be lost from taking one or more free online business courses, except for time, and we believe you will find it time well-spent. Today’s economy requires business people, leaders, and workers to stay up to speed with best practices and new technologies, and these short courses level the playing field, giving everyone the same advantage by providing access to high-quality education for free.

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