The courses, released earlier this month, aim at providing future Master of Business Administration students with the essential skills they need prior to enroling in an MBA programme. And, of course, the free MOOCS should edge learners toward Imperial’s Full-Time MBA programmes.

The free MOOCs are available on the EDX non-profit online learning platform, founded by Harvard and MIT, that offers free courses from the world’s top universities to over 8 million learners all around the world. Imperial will join more than 100 global institutions to offer subjects to online learners that reflect its expertise in science, technology and business.

The new Essentials for MBA Success courses will provide learners with a solid grounding in the foundation topics needed to embark on an MBA. The four courses will cover maths, finance, data analysis and accounting. The courses started on 17 October.

The MOOC courses are targeted at people who are ready to start an MBA degree and want to identify any gaps in their knowledge before they undertake a full degree. They are designed to appeal to learners who have studied management topics in the past and are considering applying for an MBA. Students will get a flavour of what studying for an MBA at Imperial is like and the preparation needed to succeed in their studies.

David Lefevre, Director of the Edtech Lab at Imperial, said the initiative should speed up the adoption of online and blended learning across the campus. He told the Financial Times that:

Some business schools seem quite disdainful of MOOCs and very protective of their intellectual property, but we see them as a big part of our future. In education technology, MOOCs is where all the activity, energy and smart people are — and we want to be on that train, rather than left at the station.

Imperial also plans to launch free MOOCs in finance, big data and entrepreneurship.

Apart from helping MBA aspirants close knowledge gaps, the MOOCs are designed to entice them to enrol in Imperial’s GBP 47,000 Full-Time, on-campus MBA, or its GBP 34,000 distance-learning Global MBA.

According to Lefevre, the MOOCs will serve “as a window” onto Imperial and its MBA programmes.

Covering maths, finance, data analysis and accounting, each course features academics from the business school, interactive exercises and video. Online tutors support students, who can connect with peers studying the same subjects.

Students can study the courses in the order they choose, fitting them around their work and other life commitments. Each course will feature a mixture of academic theory and the ‘real world’ skills needed for business. The subjects are brought to life through interactive exercises and video content. Students also benefit from an expert online tutor to support them through the learning materials and associated activities. The courses also foster a learning community and encourage students to connect with peers studying the same subjects online.

Sources: Financial Times, Imperial College London