Harvard’s business certification program explodes. here’s why

HBS Professor Janice Hammond records a CORe segment for her Business Analytics course

The demand for flexible online education has exploded in recent years. From 2012 to 2019, the number of hybrid and distance learning students at traditional universities increased by 36%. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number increased by one 92% more.

At Harvard Business School, a program, the preparation diploma (CORe) – has become a popular choice for many people looking for quality online business education. Fortune recently explained what the CORe program offers and why it has become one of the most popular in online business education.


The Harvard CORe program is a business fundamentals program designed to give students a deeper understanding of essential business concepts, from analytics to finance. All courses are taken asynchronously online and are designed to be self-paced, meaning students can choose to complete the program in 10 or 17 weeks.

“At the end of the program, students should be able to prepare and evaluate financial forecasts, understand the financial health of a business through financial statements, create pricing strategies, and analyze and interpret data to inform business decisions,” said Rich Griset, of Fortunesaid.

The CORe learning environment is also tightly knit. While cohorts total around 200-300 students, each cohort consists of a “wave” of only around six to seven people – a key distinction that allows students to connect with their peers.

The CORe program is designed for three types of people:

“Those looking to get an MBA, entrepreneurs who may have technical but not business skills, and people already established in their careers, like managers, who want to boost their business acumen,” Griset said.

A large portion of CORe students are professionals who are already established in their respective fields but wish to deepen their understanding of business.

“The asynchronous nature of it makes it much more accessible for people who can’t be tied to a particular schedule,” said Patrick Mullane, the current executive director of Harvard Business School Online. Fortune.


In interviews with former CORe participants conducted by Harvard, 80% of students said CORe was the best e-commerce program they had taken. Additionally, 65% said that because they completed the program, they experienced greater respect for influence in their workplace. 89% said their newly learned skills were immediately applicable in the workplace and 91% said they had become more confident at work.

Malachi Koop, who completed CORe and is now a senior consultant at EY-Parthenon, a Boston-based global strategy consulting firm, says the program helped him gain a stronger background in business concepts and ultimately made him pushed to pursue an MBA.

“If you’re just looking to add something to your resume and quickly skim through it, [CORe is] probably not an ideal fit,” he says. “If you’re looking to get involved with the material and really increase your knowledge and skills, this is a great program to pursue.”

Sources: Fortune, McKinsey

Next page: How business schools are meeting the demands of Gen Z.

Norma A. Roth