Business MOOCs Gain Ground Internationally

Unlike U.S. massive open online course (MOOC) providers, who have focused their platforms primarily around science, technology, mathematics, and engineering classes, the Academic Financial Trading Platform (AFTP) is designed to teach students the skills necessary to run a business. The platform, which was developed by two Carnegie Mellon University professors, immerses students in traditional business classes like macroeconomics or corporate finance.

And like a traditional business school class, whether online or on-campus, once the students have successfully completed the course they receive a credential. What separates AFTP from other business education, and has made it so attractive to MBA students in developing countries, is that after students complete the theoretical portion of their coursework they are able to practice applying the concepts to real world decision making.

When AFTP launched in November, the platform’s backtest component, which allows students to practice the techniques they’ve learned on historical stock market data and compare their performance to those of global investment firms, grabbed the attention of business students throughout the world. In particular, AFTP’s first course, Investment Analysis, drew a large population of MBA students from Indian universities.

International students have also been attracted to the open nature of the course, which gives students unfettered access to some of the latest stock market prediction algorithms. The upcoming macroeconomics course, which launches in January and is taught by a London School of Economics professor, is already approaching AFTP’s enrollment cap.


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The enrollment cap is something that separates AFTP from other MOOC providers, including the business MOOCs being offered by the Bureau Veritas Business School in Spain. Bureau Veritas’, which recently launched its first two MOOCs, has opted not to limit enrollment and has looked towards the likes of Coursera’s and edX’s infinitely scalable classes.

Bureau Veritas has decided to capitalize on its strength as a Europe-based business school by offering students an introduction to one of the fundamental concepts of international business, International Commercial Terms, as one of its first MOOCs. International Commercial Terms, or InCoTerms as they’re known, are a series of three-letter trade terms used to regulate the transportation of international goods.

Additionally, Bureau Veritas is planning on capitalizing on the international push for a more environmentally friendly society by offering students a course on the certification of energy efficient buildings as one of its inaugural MOOCs. While Bureau Veritas and AFTP have targeted their courses at more advanced business students, another company has developed a MOOC to teach students the fundamentals of business.

Madras Management Association and myBskool.com have launched a 100 day, 100 hour mini-MBA massive open online course. The class has been designed for working professionals, small business owners, and students without formal managerial qualifications.

The program will provide students a foundation in business theory and practice by exposing them to the fundamentals of accounting, marketing, and managing human resources. Course participants will also be given an overview on the essentials of business communication and strategy.

Like ATFP, Madras Management and myBskool are tailoring their course towards India, a country they see as one of the most vital emerging markets.

Follow Alex Wukman on Twitter @alexwukman

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