We live in an incredible time where it is possible to gain training and qualifications no matter who you are or where you’re located. Even with a modest budget, there are loads of online business courses for entrepreneurs and digital professionals to bulk up their CVs, gain new skills, and become more employable.
This is the best way to get ahead of the pack in the digital age. Don’t wait for your employer to pay for further training — get proactive and develop yourself. If you want a single type of training for almost any line of work, online business courses will teach you about the very nuts and bolts of business in ways applicable to literally any industry.
Online businesses courses teach you about the very nuts and bolts of business itself.
With the right business certifications, you can demonstrate to organizations that you understand their goals and strategies. If you’re applying for managerial, marketing, or executive positions, that becomes even more important.
A lot of organizations consider an MBA a highly desirable qualification, but many other certifications and online business courses cost less, or are even free, and will give you an edge over the competition.
If you’re a self-employed entrepreneur working in the gig economy, online business courses will help you find clients, charge more, and ensure everyone is satisfied with the work you deliver. If you’ve struggled to start your own business, this might be what you need.
Let’s take a look at some of the best online business courses to suit any budget or goal.
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Smaller online business courses
If you’re not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a degree that may or may not help further your career, there are plenty of alternative options that will similarly help you to better understand the world of business, and appeal to potential clients and employers.
With certification option
If you’re interested in online business courses because you want something to add to your CV or LinkedIn, you will need one that offers some form of recognized or accredited certification. The following courses all do that.
MicroMasters Program in MBA Core Curriculum from University System of Maryland — An ideal choice for those on the fence about starting an MBA. For £1,112 (~$134), you’ll learn the fundamentals of business and gain a MicroMasters qualification. MicroMasters are graduate level courses from top universities that provide a pathway to an advanced degree. This qualification will serve as 25% of the full Robert H. Smith School of Business MBA program.
Also read: How to use LinkedIn and land your dream job
Business Writing from Berkeley University of California — This $267.30 course will teach you to write more effective emails, letters, and reports, as well as the basics of grammar and structure. There are three courses lasting four weeks each and requiring a commitment of 3-5 hours per week.
Business Fundamentals from the University of British Columbia — This is another MicroMasters program that will teach the basics of business from marketing, to the structure of organizations. The course lasts one year, or 108-180 hours, and costs £593 (~$716). You’ll gain six of the necessary 31.5 credits for a Master of Management degree, and be able to complete said degree in six months (versus the usual nine) should you decide to continue your studies.
If your main interest is taking online business courses to apply better strategy to your own entrepreneurial efforts, then any of the following courses will help you do just that.
How to Make Money from Ramit Sethi — Ramit Sethi is the bestselling author of I Will Teach You to be Rich. He will teach you everything from personal finance to investing and validating business ideas over the course of 40 HD video lessons.
The Personal MBA: The Foundation of Effective Business — This course is run by the excellent Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA book. That book is one of the very best resources for those looking to learn the fundamentals of business, and for $39 you can take the course. This would serve as an excellent jumping off point if you plan to take a more in-depth MBA course or the MicroMasters program.
Create Your First Profitable Online Business — This online business course from Udemy will teach you to create an online business. This is a highly relevant strategy in the digital age, and it requires an entirely different set of skills from traditional “offline business.” For £19.99, you can get started.
Start a Profitable Online Business — Another introduction to online business, run by three well-known names in the industry and costing just $119.
Startup & Small Business Law: Business Registration & More — A course that’s ideal for those who want to start a new business but are scared of the legal aspects. This will teach you everything you need to know to register your business and protect yourself legally for just $14.99.
Online business courses you can do for free!
Did you know there are online business courses you can take entirely for free? These include many that have been run by well-established Universities, and that offer certification at the end. This is a great way to beef up your CV and LinkedIn profile, and to stand out among the competition.
Effective Business Writing — This is an introductory course from Berkeley University of California. Enrollment this year will begin on October 8, 2019 and it’s free. You can add a verified certificate for a reasonable fee. This also serves as part of the university’s full Business Writing course.
Machine Learning for Data Science and Analytics — This aspect of business is likely to play an ever-increasing role in the future. This course is open now and requires 7-10 hours per week, over five weeks. It is free, though again you will be able to continue your education or get an additional verified certificate for additional money.
Supply Chain Dynamics — This course is run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Enrollment is open now for the course, which lasts 13 weeks and takes 8-12 hours per week. You can again pay to add a verified certificate.
How to Start Your Own Business — This is one of the best online business courses for those starting out, from Michigan State University. This course is completely free to enroll onto and 100% online with a flexible schedule. It takes approximately 8 months to complete and comes with free certification for every course that you can show to an employer.
Want more? You can find a bunch of excellent online business courses including free, paid, and certified over at EDX.org.
Online MBA courses
At the other end of the spectrum, you have MBA programs.
Studying an MBA online is an expensive option and will require a large amount of work and commitment. That said, an MBA is also one of the most sought-after and respected business qualifications, making these some of the top online business courses around.
There are actually two types of part-time MBA program. These are the Executive MBA and the Part Time MBA. A Part Time MBA is aimed at students aged 24-35 years, already working but not yet in a leadership position. The Executive MBA is aimed at executives and managers aged 32-42. If you are employed, you might be able to convince your employer to foot the bill. Otherwise, you will need to weigh up whether this will be a good investment for your career.
An MBA is also one of the most sought-after and respected business qualifications.
To improve your chances of getting onto one of these top online business courses, it is worth taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which will provide you with a score that can help your application to stand out. 800 is a perfect score, but anything over 730 is generally considered good.
Some of the best online MBA courses can be found at the following universities:
- Boston University
- The University of Florida – Warrington College of Business
- University of Virginia – Darden School of Business
- University of Minnesota – Twin Cities – Carlson School of Management
There’s a more complete and detailed list over at thebestschools.org.
These courses allow you to study remotely and typically involve 50-60 credit hours. They will generally cover a wide range of different business subjects, which can vary from one institution to the next. Make sure to research precisely what you will learn before making a decision.
Here are some examples of common subjects:
- Corporate finance
- Economics of business
- Strategic thinking and action
- Financial accounting
- Global strategy
- International finance
- Professional writing
- Business ethics
- Decision analysis
- Project management
- Operations management
Look for accreditation from organizations such as Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC – fire whoever came up with that name) and The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).
If the course meets these requirements, it’s almost guaranteed to be among the best online business courses you can take.
Taking online business courses is one of the very best ways to advance your career, no matter what field you’re in. With fewer employees staying committed to a single organization, there is increasingly little motivation for big companies to invest in training their staff. Therefore it falls to you to take the initiative if you want to progress quickly to higher salaries, or even escape the rat race and start your own entrepreneurial venture.
Make no mistake: regardless of whether you develop your skills online, you’ll be going up against people who are.
So, what do you think? Will you be taking any of these online business courses? As always, let us know below!