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HBX Business Blog


Recent Posts

Behind the Scenes of HBX DRIVEN

Posted by HBX on January 10, 2017 at 10:31 AM


We sat down with HBX Creative Director Chris Linnane to discuss our new video series, DRIVEN.

What were you hoping to achieve with DRIVEN?

We based the series around the question of, "If you were to randomly share a cab for a few minutes with a high-powered businessperson, what would you ask them?" We then decided to ask these business leaders about an "aha" moment in their careers. Ultimately, we wanted to capture something that was both candid and reflective, something that would give viewers food for thought as they contemplate their own careers.

Beyond that, in terms of creativity, we wanted to make something that was cool, unique, flexible, and cost-effective.

What was your most memorable moment in making the series?

We did a big exit with Gordon Ramsay at the end of filming. He had a great delivery on camera, but when he went to open the car door, he couldn't get out. I had left the child safety lock on! He swore at me, and I see that as a badge of honor. It had nothing to do with filming - I had done my job well - but I still got yelled at by Gordon Ramsay! That was a good day.

What's next from HBX?

We will be releasing DRIVEN videos with leaders from a wide range of industries each week through the middle of March. We are also working on a new series with a similar vibe, something fun and spontaneous, that features students and faculty. We're also playing around with cool new animations. Stay tuned to see what's next!

Staff Spotlight: Cody Signore

Posted by HBX on January 6, 2017 at 11:22 AM


We sat down with Cody Signore, one of our Senior Multimedia Producers, to talk about his experience filming and producing our newest HBX course, Negotiation Mastery: Unlocking Value in the Real World.

Who were the most interesting people you met while filming Negotiation Mastery?

All of them were fantastic. Betsy Broun, the Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, was great to talk to and her perspective on dealing with business and art was really interesting – how do you put a price on someone’s creativity? Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator and CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd., told some fantastic stories. Many people we filmed talked about the importance of compromises, and then you have Chris who says that you can’t compromise. After all, you can’t say, "give me two hostages, and you keep the rest." Everyone we spoke to had interesting perspectives and we really experienced the differences in cultures and opinions from around the world.

How is it trying to negotiate with Professor Wheeler?

Ha, it was good! You know you're going to lose any negotiation with him, but he's a fantastic person, so I didn't have to worry. We learned a lot from him and those lessons informed how we presented information. He teaches the importance of empathy and knowing what the other side wants. We learned from that, anticipated what questions he would ask, and prepared answers to them ahead of time. It really raised the bar for us in terms of both production and creativity.


What was your favorite location you traveled to for Negotiation Mastery?

London and Dorset in the United Kingdom. Dorset is a small town with incredibly friendly people, and it's so peaceful. After the first three days we were there, we realized we hadn’t even seen a police officer! We did see a lot of sheep though.

Tell us about what it's like filming course content.

We try to get symbolic city shots from everywhere we go in order to give students the feeling that they are traveling the world with us. When we went to DC, we only had one day, so everything was really compressed. In a four-hour span we saw everything on the National Mall, circled the White House, and then went back to the airport. That’s pretty much how it went in every city we were in! There is so much that goes in to planning for these trips, as well as carrying and keeping track of seven bags of gear as you're moving around different cities.

How long it takes to edit a 30 second clip of content?

About an hour, give or take.

What do you like most about seeing these courses come together?

From the multimedia perspective, it’s an interesting task and difficult in some ways. Our videos are like a five hour documentary - one that you’re trying to launch, monitor, and plan for in a quick amount of time. It’s only been nine months since I was brought onto this project as a producer, and the course is launching next month! It has been satisfying to see all the pieces come together, from planning with different teams, to seeing concepts come together in animations, to seeing the videos, music, and all other aspects of the course work together to give the student an incredible learning experience.


What's the best advice someone has ever given you?

A teacher of mine when we were in film school told us, “The only reality is through the view finder.” No one else sees everything that is outside of the frame of your shot. They only see what you’re showing them. I thought this was fantastic because a single frame can say so much, and I think about that a lot as we pursue creative things here.

The other one is to always carry a Sharpie and a pen!

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Collaborating with everybody and trying to take that small idea and make it into something big, interesting, and accessible.


Finish this sentence: When I’m not at work, you can find me...

With my family and/or doing something creative.

What was your first job?

I worked at Party City as a seasonal employee for Halloween. I was there with some of my friends from high school, so it was quite an experience!

If you could travel anywhere in the world (that you haven’t yet been) where would you go?

I would love to go to Iceland.

Best book you’ve ever read?

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Favorite subject in school?


Topics: HBX Staff Spotlight, Negotiation

Disrupting the Status Quo: Student Spotlight on Disruptive Strategy Participant Daniella Patrick

Posted by HBX on December 13, 2016 at 9:55 AM

2016-12-12 13_46_28-HBX Disruptive Strategy Student Profile _ Daniella - YouTube.png
Daniella Patrick, Accenture Innovation Lab Product Manager, STEM mentor, and HBX Disruptive Strategy Participant

Daniella Patrick breaks down barriers, opens doors, creates opportunity, empowers women, and redefines the way people view themselves and the worlds in which they live. By day, Daniella is an Innovation Lab Product Manager at Accenture—an international consulting firm working at the intersection of business and technology. As the Innovation Lab Product Manager, Daniella works with a team building digital solutions to disrupt the world of human resources. When she's not in the lab, Daniella is teaching and mentoring young women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and challenging the conventional thinking of "what an engineer looks like". 

While waitressing tables in high school, Daniella's grandmother questioned her as to what she wanted to do—how was she going to spend her life. Daniella knew she enjoyed improving processes, finding problems and employing new ways to solve them. Her grandmother suggested engineering and Daniella embraced it wholeheartedly. She made it her mission to learn mathematics and didn't stop until she earned a masters in Mathematics from New York University, adding to her BS in Mechanical Engineering. 

Daniella grew up knowing that no idea was too big and no dream was unattainable. Her mom, a single mother, was determined to succeed as a parent and still lead a successful career. Daniella points to her mom's creativity and resolve as inspiration, "When you have a life full of barriers and struggles, it's easy to succumb to it. It's easy to say this is all I can do. But for someone like my mom, she always pushed those limitations and never accepted no for an answer."

Daniella embraces and continues to build on her mother's approach to life. As a first generation college graduate, Daniella recognizes the importance of providing opportunities to people who thought they could never achieve their goals. She deems this "disrupting the status quo" and encourages us to think about the world as not just for a certain type of people—doing so, she says, will "change the way people envision the future." 

Want to learn more about disruption and other theories from Professor Christensen? Disruptive Strategy will equip you with the tools, frameworks, and intuition to make a difference.

Learn more about HBX Disruptive Strategy with Clay Christensen

Topics: HBX Student Spotlight, HBX Disruptive Strategy

What We're Reading - HBX Staff Book Picks

Posted by HBX on October 27, 2016 at 2:32 PM


In honor of two of our HBX Professors, Bharat Anand and Clay Christensen, releasing books this month, we asked HBX staff members what they are reading. The answers are as diverse as our staff itself, ranging from science fiction to baseball facts, to a portrait of a modern family.

Unbroken book cover

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Recommended by Kate Pilbeam, Marketing Coordinator

"I love non-fiction and history and have developed a bad habit of running marathons. This book checks all the boxes for me!"

How Markets Fail book cover

How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities

by John Cassidy

Recommended by Myer Nore, Senior Software Engineer and past CORe participant

"I'm casually interested in economics. Not an arm chair economist, however."

A Symphony of Echoes book cover

A Symphony of Echoes: The Chronicles of St. Mary's

by Jodi Taylor

Recommended by Bill Torcaso, Principal Software Engineer

"This book is a great piece of historical/science fiction involving time travel. The historical details are interesting and the characters are funny."

Ghana Must Go book cover

Ghana Must Go: A Novel

by Taiye Selasi

Recommended by Kofi Bosque-Hamilton, Senior Software Engineer

"How families rekindle from across the diaspora. Living in that diaspora it is about how you are disconnected from the things from home. Which is more important, family or career?"

What is Your One Sentence book cover

What is Your One Sentence? How to Be Heard in the Age of Short Attention Spans

by Mimi Goss

Recommended by Amneet Tatla, Scrum Master/Project Manager

"This is a good read for how to catch people's attention and present yourself well in an age where we suffer from short attention spans."

The Baseball Codes book cover

The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime

by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca

Recommended by Dave Schroeder, Director of Software Development

"This book is great for people who are really into baseball, like me. It is about the unwritten rules."


What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

by Malcolm Gladwell

Recommended by Jessica Clark, Recruiting Coordinator

"This book analyzes and compares things that wouldn't normally be compared or analyzed in that way."

Supply and Demand or Price Gouging? An Ongoing Debate

Posted by HBX on October 13, 2016 at 1:54 PM


The simplest model of a market involves two things, supply and demand, and the price and quantity of the goods sold in the market are a function of both. When a natural disaster hits, the immediate effect can be two-fold. In such situations, it is not unusual that the demand for certain products may increase. For example, if everyone is trying to leave the area, demand for gas may rise. The other effect is that supply for certain products may decrease. For example, it may be more costly to transport gas in areas affected by a natural disaster, thus decreasing the supply of gas and in turn, increasing the price.

When supply decreases, the price of the good increases. And when demand increases, again the price of the good increases. So we would predict that the market price of gas, for example, would increase in areas recently affected by a hurricane. And in fact we do see this.

Price-gouging occurs when companies raise prices to unfair levels. There is no rule for what qualifies as price-gouging, but it is not an uncommon occurance. For example, EpiPen costs and Uber price surges are both current examples of price increases that have been labeled unfair. 

Stories of price gouging in Florida after Hurricane Matthew have recently made headlines. Price increases due to natural disasters are the classic example of price gouging, and the government will usually intervene and directly prevent companies from doing so. But there can be unintended consequences to market interventions such as these, which explains the ongoing debate among economists and policy makers about the proper response to natural disasters and price gouging.

Want to read more about the price gouging debate?

Interested in learning Financial Accounting, Business Analytics, and Economics for Managers?

Learn more about HBX CORe

Topics: HBX CORe, HBX Insights

Is Tax Policy Hindering U.S. Competitiveness?

Posted by HBX on September 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM

United States Captiol Building with American Flag

The U.S. Competitiveness Project is a Harvard Business School initiative led by Professors Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin. This year's report was released today and included research from HBX Professor Mihir Desai on U.S. tax reform. Professor Desai teaches the new HBX certificate program Leading with Finance.

Harvard Business School (HBS) launched the U.S. Competitiveness Project in 2011 as a multi-year, fact-based effort to understand the disappointing performance of the American economy, its causes, and the steps needed by business leaders and policymakers to restore economic growth and prosperity shared across all Americans. Read the full report here.

This year's report outlines an eight-point plan for restoring U.S. competitiveness. Professor Desai's research focuses on tax reform, an area where much attention is given. According to Professor Desai's research, "tax reform is the single area with the greatest potential for immediate impact on the economy and is long overdue given changes in the global economy. Corporate tax policy has become a key obstacle to U.S. competitiveness and economic growth, and reforming both corporate and personal taxation is essential to achieving a sustainable federal budget."

The report goes on to say, "the top corporate tax problems, according to the surveyed business leaders, are the high corporate tax rate and the taxation of international income. Business leaders reported overwhelming and bipartisan support (over 95%) for corporate tax reform...The feasibility of corporate tax reform is promising given the broad consensus on the nature of the problem and the required direction for reform."

The report calls on leaders to be frank about the challenges the U.S. faces and to work harder to move the U.S. economy in the right direction. "To achieve the right kinds of tax reform, leaders must begin to speak more realistically about the fiscal realities America faces. In addition, simplistic polarizing and protectionist rhetoric must be avoided. The time for tax reform is long overdue."

Read the full press release on the U.S. Competitiveness Project here.

Professor Desai teaches Leading with Finance, an online program designed to provide business leaders with a thorough understanding of the principles of finance and a toolkit for making smart financial decisions. 

  Learn More

Topics: HBX Insights, HBX Finance

HBX Staff Spotlight: Emily Bottis

Posted by HBX on September 13, 2016 at 11:01 AM


We sat down with Emily Bottis, User Experience Architect, to talk about her role at HBX and to learn what goes into designing and developing platform features.

What do you do at HBX?

I am the user experience architect. I work across the teams at HBX to design and improve the digital learning experience of our students.

What does a normal day look like for you?

Every day I create and review new feature and enhancement requirements and design. I regularly meet with the software development team to discuss how we translate these designs into code. I also typically meet with the course development team to discuss and design new interactive course features.

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I attended Brown University and studied Organizational Behavior.

Any hidden talents?

When I'm not chasing my kids around, I am into photography, writing, and I play ice hockey!

What is your favorite food?

I love anything Indian or Middle Eastern, and I am a vegetarian.


How did HBX start building the platform?

First, we had discussions with the faculty members about how they wanted to build their courses. Through these discussions, we decided that we wanted the courses to be real-world, interactive, and social. Based on those goals, we envisioned the ideal platform, making sure to incorporate the Harvard Business School teaching methodology which meant using the case study method.

What's a Teaching Element?

Teaching elements are small units of learning content that exist in the course on what we call the concept pages. Examples of teaching elements are spreadsheets, videos, and drag categorization.

Tell me about how you built peer interaction into the platform.

When we began building the peer interaction platform we made an effort to keep the discussions close to the content. The goal was to intentionally couple the peer interaction platform with the course content so that peer interaction would be available in the educational context.


What's your favorite feature?

The concept page side bar. This side bar is a navigational element which helps you navigate through the entire course, and we added it in after a bunch of student input and feedback.

How do you decide what features to add/change on the platform?

Altering the platform is primarily based on participant feedback. We constantly run surveys and focus groups to figure out what aspects of the platform are working for our participants and what aspects are not working. We also have a team of people who work on the “release planning process.” This is the process we go through before we add or change something in the platform. My personal job is to represent our users. I am always pushing to make additions to the platform based on direct participant feedback.

What surprised you most about the learning experience once users went through the course?

The enthusiasm and creativity that people have brought to our courses. Also, I am constantly impressed by the commitment our students have, it is awesome!

Any cool features in development?

We are currently experimenting with mobile, designing a new search function, and we are also building new courses!

Topics: HBX Staff Spotlight

Do You Speak the Language of Business?

Posted by HBX on August 19, 2016 at 2:57 PM


For over two years, HBX CORe has taught thousands of students from over 100 countries the language of business. Using Harvard Business School's case-based methodology, CORe provides an immersive and powerful learning experience.

But don't take our word for it - as one of our past participants said,

"CORe really broke down all of the business concepts I had vaguely heard of and introduced new material in the clearest way with unique examples."

See what CORe graduates have to say about us and how the program has impacted them educationally and professionally:

Interested in learning more?

Learn more about HBX CORe

Topics: HBX CORe

Where to Find Answers to Your Most Pressing HBX Questions

Posted by HBX on August 16, 2016 at 1:42 PM

HBX CORe Platform on a laptop screen

Considering enrolling in an HBX program but still have questions? The HBX team has done a little roundup of existing resources to help you find the answers you've been looking for! 

1. Start With our FAQ Pages

Whether you have questions about course structure, the admissions process, grading, fees, or financial aid, check these pages for answers to dozens of the most common questions we get about our programs:

2. Read Through Facebook Reviews and Past Q&As

We are lucky to have such a rich and supportive community of learners from around the world. Some of them have been kind enough to write up thoughtful reviews of their HBX experiences or join us for Facebook Q&A sessions, answering questions for prospective students. You can read through the entire conversations here: 

3. Learn About Other Past Participants Through Their Student Profiles

“Is this program right for me?” This is a question we hear all the time, but it's a difficult one for us to answer objectively. Often times, what people are really asking is if their educational background, professional goals, interests, or existing skill set will position them for success in an HBX course or if they will find the investment of time, energy, and money to be worthwhile. 

Our Student Profiles are a great resource for anyone who wants to hear firsthand from a variety of past participants about why they chose to participate in our programs, what they hoped to gain from the experience, and how they are using what they learned. 

4. Browse the HBX Blog

The HBX Blog is a place where you can dive a little deeper into the subject areas covered in the HBX programs (i.e. What does Cash Conversion Cycle mean, or why should I study accounting), or for those who want to hear more from students who have participated in an HBX program. Here are a few types of posts you may be interested in:

5. Still have questions? Ask them using #AskHBX on Twitter!

If you've read through these resources and still can't find the answers to some of your burning questions, feel free to ask them on Twitter using #AskHBX. We will keep an eye out for questions and answer as many as we can!

Topics: HBX CORe, HBX Courses, HBX Finance, HBX tips, HBX Disruptive Strategy

HBX Staff Spotlight: Bob Keeley

Posted by HBX on June 21, 2016 at 12:31 PM

Bob Keeley - HBX Assistant Director, Credentialing and Academic Operations

We sat down with Bob Keeley, Assistant Director of Credentialing and Academic Operations, to talk about his role at HBX, his (potentially illegal) genie wish strategy, and his love of tiramisu and Chalupas.

Are you originally from Boston? 

I’m from the part of New York State that says “pop” instead of “soda" - Rochester. I live in Cambridge now and really enjoy all the greenery. It has a great small city vibe with tree-lined streets, and there’s a lot of opportunity to discover something new just walking down the street.

What do you do at HBX? 

I work on the Program Services team and oversee academic operations. Some of my jobs involve working with vendors who administer the CORe final exam and also managing the digital credentials we send out to students. 

What does a normal day look like for you?

A typical day at HBX for me involves a lot of interaction with people on various teams throughout the office. I work with everyone in Program Services but I also work closely with the content team regarding academic operations. 

During open exam periods, I work with Pearson VUE to field any questions and support requests from participants who are taking the exam. There are approximately 4,500 Pearson VUE test centers authorized to deliver HBX exams around the world, so it’s pretty cool to help HBX learners across the globe.

Finish this sentence: When I’m not at work, you can find me _______________.

At the dog park with my wife Jess chasing after our Icelandic sheepdog, Chalupa.

What is your favorite food?

Tiramisu is my favorite food. I like all forms and types of it, homemade or not!


Do you have a hidden talent?

I speak German, play the banjo, and like to sail.

If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for?

I would wish for unlimited genies so that I could have unlimited wishes. Who doesn’t want more wishes?!

What’s your favorite thing about working at HBX?

I like hearing from participants about how HBX has helped them meet their own personal, professional, and learning goals. 

What can you tell us about the HBX CORe final exam?

The HBX CORe final exam is offered to participants after successful completion of the course. The three hour, multiple choice, closed book, computer-based assessment was created by HBS faculty and is administered by Pearson VUE in testing centers throughout the world.

The final exam encompasses all three courses in HBX CORe: Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting. Divided into three sections of 60 minutes each, the 3-hour exam will test your knowledge of each individual course in one sitting. The exam is predominately multiple-choice format and delivered entirely on a computer at the Pearson VUE testing center.

Read More about the exam including when to take it and how it is administered in our FAQs: http://hbx.hbs.edu/hbx-core/core-faqs.html

Topics: HBX Staff Spotlight