One of the greatest challenges of running a business is finding the time to do everything that you want to do. Even after you prioritize your tasks, implement the KISS system and promise yourself not to check email every eight minutes, your day will still be limited to 24 hours.
One of the areas that usually suffers first is continuing education. Unless your line of work has mandatory continuing education requirements, many business owners don’t take the time to take classes and learn something new. Well here is your chance to change that.
Free online classes are booming
Prestigious Universities around the world are rapidly adopting OpenCourseWare (“OCW”) which is the online publication of their course materials without restrictions on access and for free. Several hundred universities currently participate in the OCW Consortium and are actively uploading their best lectures and courses. Recent studies indicate that enrollment does not suffer as a result of OCW so the trend is expected to continue.
As a summer project, I set out to find the most interesting and compelling finance and economics-related courses available online. Hundreds of websites later, I have compiled a list of 24 resources which are – in my opinion – the best in their respective areas. This is not an exhaustive list and I welcome reader opinions and other suggestions in the comments section.
Directory of free online finance and economics classes
In order to make this directory of “classes” as user friendly as possible, I only considered those that:
- Are truly free (no “free to try” or “freemium” classes);
- Don’t require any special software other than a recent browser with standard plugins and/or standard applications (PDF reader, MS Office, etc.) to use; and
- Come from reputable institutions and lecturers.
The classes are a mix of interviews, individual lectures and complete courses. The interviews are less than 10 minutes but packed with great take-aways. The individual lectures run from 1 to 2 hours and present specific topics relevant to business owners in a financial and economic context. The courses consist of multiple lectures, notes, homework assignments and projects. They will take many hours to complete but are the most rewarding given their depth.
Bookmark this page and use it as a resource to learn something new when you have some down time.
- Finance – what managers need to know presented by Harvard Business Publishing
- How to cut costs strategically presented by Harvard Business Publishing
- Value Investing: Buy Cheap, Obscure and Out of Fashion presented by Columbia Business School via FORA.tv
- Business sustainability presented by “Big Think”
- Statistical techniques for fraud detection from Imperial College London
- Current state of the economy from Princeton University
- Great leaders inspire action from TED
- Post crisis consumer from TED
- Crash course on the future of finance by John Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo via FORA TV
- The Future of Financial services by Nouriel Roubini via FORA.tv
- Funding the Big Idea: Lessons from an Investor from World Entrepreneurship Day via FORA.tv
- The Future of Manufacturing in the US and Europe from The German Marshall Fund via FORA.tv
- Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business from the University of California, Berkeley. This course is presented by Prof. Fletcher Ibser and consists of 28 lectures presented in an online video format.
- Financial Markets from Yale University. This course is presented by highly distinguished Prof. Robert Shiller. It consists of 26 lectures in online video, mp3 and text formats.
- Game theory and strategic thinking from Yale University. This course is presented by Prof. Ben Polak. It consists of 24 lectures in online video, mp3 and text formats.
- Introduction to Economics from Utah State University. This course is presented by Prof. Tyler Bowles. It consists of 14 lectures available in mp3 format and 1 assignment for download.
- Economic analysis – microeconomics from University of California Berkeley
- Economic analysis – macroeconomics from University of California Berkeley
- International trade from University of California Berkeley
- Equity Finance from The Open University
- Investment risk from The Open University
- Financial markets from The Open University
- History of accounting from The Open University
- Fundamentals of business analysis from University of California - Irvine
- Intro to financial and managerial accounting
- Corporate Finance from New York University
- Financial management from New York University
- Valuation from New York University