A Free Online MBA Course Starts this Week – “Smart Growth for Private Business, Part I)


January 21, 2014

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

courseraLast year, I enrolled in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through Coursera about small business growth. It was excellent and I highly recommend small business lending professionals to check it out.

Taught by University of Virginia’s Edward Hess you will receive MBA level instruction from an outstanding professor. And here’s the best part. It’s FREE! Even the reading assignments are available for free.

The class starts this week.

Here is the course description.

Most entrepreneurship courses focus on how to start a business. Few focus on the next big entrepreneurial inflection point: how do you successfully grow an existing private business? This is the focus of this Course. It is based on the instructor’s research and thirty years of real-world experience advising private growth companies.

This Course will challenge how you think about growth; give you tools to help you plan for growth, assess the preconditions to grow, and manage the risks of growth. You will study stories of how five different private businesses faced their growth challenges.

Growth, if not properly managed, can overwhelm a business, destroying value and in many cases even causing the business to fail. However, the research shows that every growth business faces common challenges. You can learn from others’ experience—you do not have to “reinvent the wheel”.

The Course format is case based. Each case tells a compelling story. You will learn from Julie Allinson, Susan Fellers, Dave Lindsey, Parik Laxinarayan and Eric Barger. In addition, each week, we will discuss a different content theme. In Weeks and 2 and 5, you will engage in Workshops where you will be asked to use and apply the Course tools and concepts to create growth strategies for two different real-life businesses. You will have the opportunity to create a Course Community of fellow-students to learn from each other as the Course progresses.

You will learn about the: “3 Myths of Growth”; the “Truth About Growth”; why growth is like “Mother Nature”; the “Gas Pedal” approach top growth; the all important “4 Ps” of how to grow; and how to scale a business strategically.