Many jobs today require fundamental business skills to be successful, even in technical and creative industries.
When advancing in their careers, employees in various roles thus need to get up to speed with key management concepts such as how to successfully organize and control a business.
The UBC Sauder School of Business (part of the University of British Columbia) offers a series of online courses (MOOCs) to learners with or without a business background. Web developers and other employees with a technical, scientific or creative background are also encouraged to participate.
The Business Fundamentals MicroMasters is provided via the edX platform and covers the basics of business. Course participants learn how organizations work, how to communicate in a business environment, and how to use marketing and accounting tools to create value.
Elicia Salzberg is a lecturer at UBC Sauder and teaches parts of the online program. We recently interviewed Salzberg about the courses.
"Managers are Professional Problem Solvers"
Edukatico: Elicia, from your experience, what is the most important business skill learners should acquire if they want to have a successful management career?
Elicia Salzberg: I think, at the end of the day, managers are essentially professional problem solvers.
They are able to identify, unpack and address problems with broad analytical skills and knowledge, so the more tools and the more practice a manager can acquire across a wide variety of situations, the more effective and successful they can be.
Edukatico: Is it possible to acquire business skills through online courses? To what extent can students learn online and apply what they have learned in the real business world?
Elicia Salzberg: I think this is a common question for a lot of learners (and beyond!). There are a lot of foundational concepts and frameworks available online that can help students understand the building blocks of business.
While you can never really substitute being in a live business environment in the real business world and learning by doing, through online courses we can equip our students with all of the basic tools they’ll need to survive and also thrive in that environment.
We build each of our modules on a three-step approach:
Intro to the Business Fundamentals courses
A Starter Kit for Business
Edukatico: What are the key topics that are covered by your "Business Fundamentals" online course series?
Elicia Salzberg: Business Fundamentals is meant to be a starter kit for business.
We introduce key concepts that start at the heart of a successful business and work through linkages with customers, the different business functions (like accounting, finance and marketing) and how they fit together.
For example, the Business Foundations course that I teach in this series breaks down across six modules:
1. "Fit": How to build fit between the company and the customer.
2. "Business Model Canvases": The basic pieces of a business plan.
3. "Horizon Scanning": Looking at competitors and industry dynamics.
4. "Disruption and Transient Advantage": The inevitable lifecycle of industries.
5. "Accounting Basics": The foundational concepts of accounting.
6. "Business Functions": How marketing, accounting, finance, human resources, business technology and strategy all fit together within a business.
Edukatico: Who can participate in your online courses? Are there any prerequisites for the courses? Are they suitable for programmers and engineers for example?
Elicia Salzberg: Business Fundamentals is meant to be an accessible course that provides value for every learner.
The concepts are simple enough that they can be a great entry point for those with no business background, while at the same time the concepts are flexible enough that even an experienced business person would find them valuable.
Edukatico: Successful students of your program will receive a MicroMasters credential. Will students be able to use this as a "mini degree" for job applications?
Elicia Salzberg: The MicroMasters credential is absolutely something that learners can use to showcase their achievement, whether it is on their LinkedIn profile, on job applications or otherwise.
Edukatico: Thank you for this overview and all the best for your courses!
The business course series is offered as a MicroMasters program via edX. The series includes 6 individual online courses. In addition to the learning experience and verified course certificate, successful students may even accelerate their Master´s Degree, should they later decide to apply to the UBC Sauder School of Business (more details about the MicroMasters here).
As an alternative to the full MicroMasters program (which costs around $800 USD), learners can choose to participate in any of the 6 online courses individually. The individual courses are free to learn in the audit track, and an optional certificate may be purchased.
Edukatico is Your Search Portal for Online Courses
Our course directory lists 7,000+ video-based online courses from 22 subjects, including more than 1,000 business courses.
With our Course Manager, you can organize your online courses across various providers.