Best Business Management Courses Online

10 Best business management courses online in 2024.

a virtual learning room  with students taking some of the Best Business Management Courses Online

It isn’t surprising that the list of online business management courses currently on offer is rather voluminous. The field is evolving rapidly to keep up with the changes in a highly volatile world economy.

This is fuelling a need for management programs that are relevant and up to date. Below we cover some of the best business management courses online and clarify important considerations when choosing this type of online program.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure at the end of this post.

Business Management Courses Online – Overview

What is Management? Management tends to encompass a fairly broad set of functions. That is why the various online courses usually tend to offer a set of wildly different components. Of course, that is also why the concept itself is so difficult to define.

In simple terms, management is the control and coordination of business activities, either across an entire organization or within a smaller unit of a larger concern. Effective management is a hands-on discipline whereby the responsible party makes use of the resources of a business to achieve a particular commercial outcome.

Effective management can include planning, strategy, the implementation of workflow models, the directing of human resources, the apportionment and spending of money, and the oversight of all productive endeavors within the manager’s ambit of responsibility.

We’ll try to give you a relatively specific account of each business management course in our list and offer our perspective on most aspects. So with the above in mind, here’s our roundup of online classes for beginners, professionals, and executives.

Best Business Management Courses Online 2024 – Top Picks

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Note: This post lists some of the best business management courses online but cannot cover all available classes. It aims to provide a relevant starting point.

1. Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization – Illinois University

course info page providing details of the Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization - Coursera

Strategic Leadership and Management (visit website) is an eight-month specialization offered by Illinois University on the Coursera platform. The course package forms part of the iMBA you can undertake through the Gies College of Business at the University. Hence, it benefits from its association with this qualification and with the College itself.

The first two modules focus on leadership. While leadership can’t necessarily be ‘taught’, there’s nothing wrong with trying to instill sound leadership principles in those studying management. It seems that they acknowledge the difference between leadership and management, as well as the fact that leadership has to develop with experience.

Module three focuses on the design of an organization, while the fourth module is concerned with implementing management systems. Modules five and six deal with strategy, and the final module brings it together with a practical exercise incorporating the various disciplines learned in previous modules.

It’s a general management course for beginners and offers a broad overview of the subject matter. As such, it’ll be helpful for those looking for a more comprehensive array of topics. It also covers management and leadership in a natural and relevant way. It doesn’t conflate the concepts, and the modules look well-designed.

This is among the best business management courses online to gain foundational skills. The breadth of the subject matter being taught is perhaps a little wide when considering the length of the course. Each module is relatively short and only forms a small part of what is clearly a more comprehensive qualification (the iMBA).

Provider: University of Illinois, Coursera | Format: Specialization
Level: Beginners | Time: 8 months | Review: 4.8 ★★★★☆
Info: View course. Browse: Search all the best management courses on Coursera.

2. Strategic Business Management Course – University of Cape Town

course info page providing details of the Strategic Business Management Course - The University of Cape Town (UCT)

Strategic Business Management (visit website) by the University of Cape Town is a ten-week course that looks primarily at the South African business market. Although it focuses on the South African economic situation, it’s just as comprehensive and well-structured as some of the other business management courses curated by high-end institutions.

And, it isn’t necessarily parochial. This is unsurprising given that UCT has a strong and well-regarded business faculty. It’s a ten-module course that teaches the theory and evolution of strategic business management, environmental analysis, internal and SWOT analyses, sustainable competitive advantage, building forward-thinking strategy, strategy implementation, evaluation, control, and strategic alignment, as well as sustainability.

This could be one of the best business management courses online for beginners. Covering SWOT analysis is great for beginners, and there’s a reasonably narrow focus on strategy, which suggests that the content isn’t likely too broad and superficial. The challenges faced in the South African business environment are so significant that learning how to deal with them can only stand participants in good stead, even internationally.

Provider: Cape Town University, GetSmarter | Time: 6 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Beginners | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $956
Info: Visit course website. Get free prospectus. Browse all online management courses.

3. General Management Program – SDA Bocconi School of Management

course info page providing details of the General Management Program - SDA Bocconi School of Management

The General Management Program (visit website) is an eight-week course offered by the Management School at Bocconi University in Milan. The Short Course forms a preliminary segment of their Global Executive MBA qualification.

It’s an eight-module management course that covers three core concepts, namely: leadership, finance, and strategy. These are broken down into self-leadership and leading people; financial accounting, financial statement analysis and management accounting. Internal and external strategic analysis and competitive strategy are also part of the class.

Who is the course aimed at? While aimed at all levels, it does not seem to suit complete novices. From the module outline, it looks most appropriate for mid-level managers who have gaps in their financial knowledge. However, it’s one of the few business management courses to include a self-leadership component, which is quite relevant.

This is one of the best business management courses online if you seek a broad entrance into the topic. You may even continue at Bocconi University as completing the class offers a discount for their MBA program. Note that the course is also weighted to accounting, a topic usually not covered by many business management courses. Can be a pro or con.

Provider: Bocconi University, GetSmarter | Duration: 8 weeks
Certificate: Yes. | Level: All levels | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $2,257
Info: Visit course website. Get free prospectus. Browse all online management courses.

4. Accelerated Management Program – Yale University

course info page providing details of the Accelerated Management Program - Yale University

Accelerated Management Program (visit website) is an eight-week course offered by Yale. It is a slightly more intensive program than the other online business management courses mentioned here. This is appropriate, given the fact that the ambit of the course is far broader and clearly encompasses far more material than the others.

Yale’s program covers a vast array of topics, ranging from basic decision-making, all the way to company valuations. There are eight modules, including making decisions under uncertainty, crafting a competitive strategy, leveraging networks, understanding the time value of money, making decisions under constraints, interpreting financial statements: cash versus wealth, valuing companies, and analyzing a complex business decision.

The program gears toward established professionals with a background in business and management. That said, it has a reasonably broad appeal for this target group and can be useful for junior managers and seasoned veterans.

It’s almost certainly true that business management courses with narrow scopes are preferable for programs undertaken in such truncated timeframes. This class appears to justify its breadth by a well-curated set of modules that all seem to create value, not only as part of a greater set but also in isolation.

The structure is intriguing and compels attention. There’s also an interesting focus on decision-making, which is a core function that’s often overlooked in online business management courses.

Provider: Yale University, GetSmarter | Time: 8 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Business Professionals | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $3,500
Info: Visit course website. Get free prospectus. Browse all online management courses.

5. Business Sustainability Management – Cambridge University

course info page providing details of the Business Sustainability Management - Cambridge University

Business Sustainability Management (visit website) is an eight-week management course on the GetSmarter platform authorized by Cambridge University. As the title implies, the class offers a distinct and narrow focus on sustainability. It’s broken down into eight modules, all focused on different aspects of sustainability and modern business practices.

Some of the main topics include design and innovation, collaborations, partnerships, the regulatory environment surrounding sustainable business practices and sustainability as a feature of commercial endeavor. There are lectures on international policy on sustainability, production and consumption, communication and marketing around sustainability as well.

Who is the course aimed at? Established professionals looking to incorporate sustainability into their commercial endeavors. Because this business management course is so carefully focused, you get the sense that it delves deeply into the subject matter and provides significant value. In fact, this course is incredibly well-tailored to its target market.

Provider: Cambridge University, GetSmarter | Time: 8 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Business Professionals | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $2,670
Info: Visit course website. Free prospectus. Browse all business management courses.

Tip: Explore our lists of the best business courses, or entrepreneurship courses or project management courses, or leadership courses, or accounting courses, or real estate courses to further expand your knowledge in the field of business.

6. Strategic Management and Innovation Specialization – Copenhagen Business School

course info page providing details of the Strategic Management and Innovation Specialization - Coursera

Strategic Management and Innovation (visit website) is a six-month business management course offered by the Copenhagen Business School on Coursera. The four courses focus entirely on strategy around key concepts such as strategic management, strategy formulation, strategy implementation. The class ends with a practical capstone project.

Who is the course aimed at? It will certainly suit beginners. However, given the weighting towards strategy, senior managers will likely benefit from it too. Its focus on innovation and modern business practices around design, user experience and competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving market is on point and looks highly engaging.

Also, In the world of short courses, less is definitely more, and this course ticks that box nicely. This is among the best business management courses online if you want to develop your strategic management skills with an emphasis on innovation.

Provider: Copenhagen Business School, Coursera | Level: Beginners
Pricing: Free trial. $59/month Coursera Plus. | Review: 4.7 ★★★★★
Info: View course. Browse: Search all business management courses on Coursera.

7. Strategic Management – Wharton Online University of Pennsylvania

course info page providing details of the Strategic Management Course - Wharton Online University of Pennsylvania, edX

Strategic Management (visit website) is a five-month business management course and professional certification authorized by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The program is available on the EdX platform.

Broken down into four modules, the first one concentrates on the concept of strategy in a general sense, and how it plays out internally within an organization.

Next is a focus on external strategy as it relates to the creation of value and is based on industry analysis and strategic positioning. Module 3 deals with the evolution of strategy, its drivers, and the notion of adapting to disruptive change. Finally, participants learn about the creation of new strategic possibilities and the development of empirical tests.

Who is the course aimed at? Experienced managers and executives looking to refine their approach to strategy. The narrow focus on strategy is a good thing, and it seems that the individual sections are interesting and relevant.

University: Wharton University of Pennsylvania, edX | Path: Professional Certificate
Level: Introductory | Duration: 5 Months | Efforts: 2-4 hours/week
Info: View course page. Search: Browse all edX certifications in Business Management.

8. Oxford Strategic Management Executive Programme – Oxford University

course info page providing details of the Oxford Strategic Management Executive Programme - Oxford

The Strategic Management Executive Programme (visit website) is an intensive six-month course offered by Oxford University. In fact, it is a stacked learning path consisting of three courses – Leadership, Finance, and Strategy.

The program claims to teach its participants to lead authentically. This actually means instilling the sort of leadership principles that may then give way to such a result over time. The modules are all well-curated and high in detail, though.

Who is the course aimed at? The program is aimed at executives. It covers a wide range of management concepts at a very high level, which makes it rather unique and exclusive. This could be one of the best business management courses if you look for a comprehensive and combined education program in this field. This class offers a discount.

Provider: Oxford University, GetSmarter | Time: 6 months | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Senior Executives | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $7,221
Info: Visit course website. Get free prospectus. Browse all online management courses.

9. Risk and Crisis Management – LSE London School of Economics

course info page providing details of the Risk and Crisis Management Course - London School of Economics (LSE)

Risk and Crisis Management (visit website) is an eight-week business management course offered by the London School of Economics (LSE). The course is divided up into eight modules, each with a specific focus either on risk or crisis management.

The risk portion obviously concentrates on the notion of pre-emptive mitigation and prevention. In contrast, the crisis and disaster portion focuses on the process of managing disasters and crises as and when they happen.

There are modules on risk management tools and processes, as well as trends in both risk and crisis management, retrospective learning from previous disasters, as well as transboundary crisis management modules.

Who is the class for? Professionals looking to improve their risk and crisis management skills. It’s beautifully narrow in scope, which gives it the benefit of being able to dig really deep into the subject matter. The subject matter is also compelling and relevant.

This is among the best business management courses online for those wanting to focus exclusively on risk and crisis management and looking for a high-end education provider. It isn’t feasible for those looking for a more general business management course.

Provider: London School of Economics, GetSmarter | Duration: 8 weeks
Certificate: Yes. | For: Professionals | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $2,670
Info: Visit course website. Free prospectus. Browse all business management courses.

10. Business Process Design for Strategic Management – MIT Sloan School of Management

course info page providing details of the Business Process Design for Strategic Management - MIT Sloan School of Management

Business Process Design for Strategic Management (visit website) is a high-end course from the illustrious Sloan School of Management at MIT. It’s a six-week course and covers a relatively detailed and well-structured dive into interesting and highly relevant material.

The program concentrates on the design of work, most specifically Dynamic Work Design. It focuses on rapidly evolving frameworks and systems in dynamic working environments.

It’s a six-module course that starts with an introduction to mentioned Dynamic Work Design, traverses the founding principles of this discipline, and then engages in the process of structured problem solving and what they call visual management

Business leaders, thought leaders, analysts, risk managers, and change consultants would benefit, which makes it a unique offering in our list of the best business management courses online. Furthermore, the focus on structured problem solving and the implementation of dynamic, thought-based models is intriguing and relevant.

Having said that, it’s quite a niche program in many respects and will likely have less appeal to those looking for a broader business management course online.

Provider: MIT Sloan School, GetSmarter | Time: 6 weeks | Certificate: Yes.
Level: Business Professionals | Pace: Instructor-lead | Price: $2,800
Info: Visit course website. Free prospectus. Browse all business management courses.

Choosing The Best Business Management Courses Online

a virtual meeting setup with educators discussing tips to Choose The Best Management Courses Online

None of the above online business management courses are similar enough to map directly onto one another in such a way that allows for any sort of meaningful comparison. The key to determining which program is the most suitable for a given purpose lies in an assessment not only of proposed content but value.

Since value is seldom determinable by attempting to apply an objective standard, it makes sense to assess the condition on a situational basis.

It stands to reason that beginners will likely derive the most value from broader content delivered over a longer timeframe. Both the Coursera business management course offered by Illinois University, and the UCT management course fit into this category. Even though it’s significantly longer, the Coursera one seems less comprehensive than it should be. The UCT management course is perhaps the optimal choice here.

While the Yale Accelerated Management Program is also fairly broad, it seems to target more those with some prior knowledge and experience and doesn’t specifically go into basics. This looks like a great course for mid-level managers and even executives looking for a broad overview of some relevant content from a seriously strong faculty.

The Oxford and Bocconi courses look reasonably good on paper. Remember that these programs are either stacked learning paths or versions of more comprehensive business management courses.

The Coursera course offered through Copenhagen University and the Strategic Management Course offered on the EdX platform by the University of Pennsylvania are both narrowly focused on strategy, so fit neatly into their own category here. Coursera’s program looks more interesting though and seems to cover considerably more content.

The Cambridge, LSE and MIT business management courses are incredibly interesting and relevant. There’s no doubt that they’re all aimed at participants who are already at a reasonably high level, perhaps mainly executives. They offer really exciting content and seem to provide significant value for this target group.

Best Management Courses Online 2024 – Summary 

a man writing business strategies on a transparent monitor screen to Review Online Management Courses - Conclusion

Wrapping up our list of the best business management courses online. Perhaps the most important thing to consider when it comes to short online management courses is the breadth and scope of the teaching and material in relation to the timeframe. The narrower the focus, the better – because it allows for deeper immersion in the subject. 

There is obviously a temptation to choose a course that gives a wide-ranging overview of business management as a discipline. However, it’s better to undertake a longer course if you want an all-encompassing education in business management. Short courses that cover very broad material may only do so superficially, which waters down their efficacy.

In conclusion, each of the listed options has various benefits and strengths. With online courses, it’s often difficult to assess whether or not an institution is simply placing its sticker on the box to benefit from a reputation earned the old-fashioned way while cobbling together something that only promises a superficial benefit. 

This does happen, even with some significantly illustrious institutions, but none of the business management courses on this list appear to fall into this category. There’s obviously a bit of name trading at play, but still reasonable.

 Best Business Management Courses Online 2024

  1. Strategic Management Specialization – Illinois University
  2. Strategic Business Management Course – University of Cape Town
  3. General Management Program – Bocconi School of Management
  4. Accelerated Management Program – Yale University
  5. Business Sustainability Management – Cambridge University
  6. Strategic Management and Innovation – Copenhagen Business School
  7. Strategic Management Course – Wharton Online, edX
  8. Oxford Strategic Management Executive Program – Oxford University
  9. Risk and Crisis Management Course – London School of Economics
  10. Business Process Design for Strategic Management – MIT

What is the difference between Management and Leadership?

It’s important to acknowledge that there’s a distinct difference between management and leadership. Leadership is the art of guiding others and fostering the sort of trust necessary to enable them to realize their full potential. In contrast, management is the art of directing that potential toward a meaningful and productive outcome.

Sound leadership is vital in business, and we hear a lot about the need for good leaders in our ever-evolving commercial world. However, one cannot learn leadership at university or college. It comes from developing empathy and emotional intelligence over time and through experience working alongside others.

It’s necessary to understand this because many business management courses claim to teach ‘leadership’ and one should consider this with a healthy dose of skepticism. To be clear, teaching sound leadership principles can’t ever be a bad thing. But selling the idea that you can ‘teach’ someone to be a good leader in a classroom is a little absurd.

While it’s true that managers can become good leaders, management is an entirely different skill. It is indispensable in business for the obvious reason that skill and talent need direction to be helpful in economic terms.

Business Management Schools – Business Management Courses Online

  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
  • London Business School
  • Columbia Business School
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • Harvard Business School Business Degrees
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Carlson School of Management
  • IESE Business School Barcelona
  • IIMB Indian Institute of Management
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Ross School of Business – Michigan University
  • USC Marshall Business School
  • Ross School of Business
  • Babson College
  • University of Washington
  • Business School Durham University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Rutgers Business School
  • University of Cambridge
  • University at Buffalo School of Management
  • Stanford University
  • University of Illinois
  • MBA Harvard Business School HBS

What are the best business management courses online 2024? Have you taken any business management degrees online? What are some of the pros and cons? Let us know in the comments below.

Sources: Business Management vs. Business Administration –1 | What is strategy? – 3

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