How Can I Take Online MBA Classes for Free?

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If you want to complete Online MBA classes for free, there are several ways to achieve this goal. The first option is to take MOOCs. MOOC stands for massive open online course. These courses are delivered online and accessible to all free of charge. Universities create most MOOCs. Some of the most active MOOC creators are MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. There are also MOOCs that are made by companies like Google, Microsoft, or the Linux Foundation. Even though universities create MOOCs, it is rare for them to be distributed through the university itself. The following is a list of three of the top MOOC providers that offer courses relevant to OMBA students.

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Edx is an e-learning community that brings together more than 160 top universities like Harvard and Berkeley to provide free and affordably priced courses and certificates to students from all backgrounds. There are currently over 3,000 courses and more than 300 programs to choose from. Edx was founded by professors from MIT and Harvard and, to date, has served nearly 35 million learners. Some of the benefits of edX courses are the ability to complete an accredited certificate, an opportunity to learn from top business programs and companies, and options to learn at your own pace. This platform is ideal for individuals looking to sharpen professional skills, review MBA-related topics, or learn more about specific areas covered within their Online MBA.

Coursera is an online course website that highlights graduate-level courses from elite academic institutions from around the world. The majority of courses are free of charge, including top-shelf Online MBA classes, but you can also bundle classes to create a certification at an additional cost. These certifications can easily be added to LinkedIn profiles or added to resumes. Some colleges and universities will accept Coursera classes for credit once students are admitted into their MBA program. Some of the courses available that would benefit OMBA students are Math for MBA and GMAT PrepBusiness StrategyCareer Success, and Communication in the 21st Century Workplace. Courses vary in length and skill level, and there are many business-related topics to choose from. Students work through each class by watching lecture videos or presentations, doing reading assignments, taking quizzes, and participating in discussion boards.

Udacity is another one of the leading MOOC providers. The site has served nearly 12 million learners and is constantly adding to its catalog of over 200 courses. Not all of Udacity’s courses are free. However, they do offer micro-credentials which are called Nanodegrees. Parts of Nanodegrees are often released free of charge. A unique aspect of Udacity is that its course offerings are intensely focused on the job training. Nanodegrees highlight in-demand skills that are generally related to the technology industry. Courses are made up of videos, projects, and other assignments. Many of the Nanodegrees are created in partnership with well-known universities and companies like Georgia Tech and Microsoft. A few of the current free courses on Udacity are Intro to Cloud ComputingCraft Your Cover Letter, and several that cover interview preparation for specific IT positions.

Questions About MOOCs


You may be wondering, how does this MOOC thing work? Each course and course provider offers a different learning experience. Some MOOCs allow students to start at any time, while others are only offered every few weeks or during certain times of the year. The format of MOOCs is also unique. Many classes are offered asynchronously, allowing students to complete the class entirely at their own pace.

Conversely, some follow a strict schedule with set deadlines. While this type of MOOC is a more serious commitment, the synchronous options keep participants focused and on track which may be helpful for those who are new to online learning. 

Massive open online courses can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. The amount of time and work needed to accomplish course goals will vary significantly from person to person. Work in a MOOC is not graded in the traditional sense. There may be feedback-based assignments or automatically graded multiple-choice quizzes. But in many cases, the overall goal is to complete the course to the best of your ability vs. getting an “A.” 

MOOCs offer two types of enrollment, free auditing and paid enrollment. Those who enroll in free auditing are granted access to all course materials for free but do not receive graded assignments or a verified certificate at the end of the course. Paid enrollers can participate at varying levels by completing certificates, specializations, Mastertracks, and more. Typically, certificates are the least expensive option. While they do not equate to an entire MBA, they show prospective employees or MBA admission boards a commitment to professional development. 

Why Take Free Classes

There are many reasons why someone would take free Online MBA courses instead of signing up for a full program. First, taking a free course within a MOOC can give students a sneak peek into a high-level course. This experience can give students a general idea of content and rigor before signing up for investing in a full program to see if they are ready for the commitment. Taking a MOOC will also give professionals the ability to add credentials to their resume before or after a program, like an Online MBA. These certifications and courses are a great way to add knowledge and expertise without committing to a two-year program. Students taking MOOCs also have the opportunity to add the experience to their Online MBA application, showing effort and excitement for advanced learning.

Action Plans

MOOCs have many benefits for prospective Online MBA students, as well as those who are nearing the end of their degree. Many MOOCs can transfer into usable credits, so looking into credible sites such as those listed may be a practical first step towards choosing your OMBA program. Before you get started with MOOCs or any OMBA, be sure that you have the technology necessary for success. Our How To Choose an Online MBA article offers excellent insight on this topic as well. If you are planning to earn an OMBA, remember that there are many options that can help reduce your tuition costs. You can learn more about How To Pay For An Online MBA here. Overall, MOOCs provide a high-level educational experience with a low investment. This allows students to test out graduate-level business courses with less pressure. However, full Online MBA degree programs offer support, networking opportunities, interactive learning experiences, and alumni connections that cannot be surpassed.