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HBX Business Blog

Julian's Biggest Surprises So Far in CORe

Posted by Julian Tan on May 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM

I enrolled in CORe having high expectations for a course that Harvard Business School was willing to put its reputation at stake for. Three weeks in and I can honestly say that it has surpassed all my expectations. Below are three things that I have found most impressive about CORe so far:

Inductive Learning 

Prior to CORe, I had mostly been exposed to a passive style of learning, whereby knowledge is transferred through consumption. So it was quite a surprise when I was made to explore intuitions and to think rationally about concepts before even being introduced to them. CORe calls this an inductive style of learning and I absolutely love it. We are made to think and to make mistakes, which although can be a little unsettling at first, definitely makes for a healthier and more effective learning experience.

Cohort Camaraderie

The online nature of CORe collapses geographies and enables the assembly of a truly diverse cohort. The home page of CORe captures this notion perfectly. It is a world map with pulsating dots that indicate who else in your cohort is online with you. It is through features like this that CORe begins to feel like a real classroom, and your cohort, real classmates.

There is plenty of “classroom interaction” whether it is through Peer Help, where you pose questions to your peers and help them with their queries, or Shared Reflections, where you get to examine how every one else answered the same question.

Naturally, collaboration is another important aspect of learning in CORe as concepts are reinforced through your interactions with your peers. There is a real sense of camaraderie between everyone, and as you can probably imagine, camaraderie and diversity make for a very powerful combination.

Quality Content

I had taken Economics courses at school before and as an engineer by training, I am pretty comfortable with numbers and analytics. However, growing up as a science geek, I had limited exposure to accounting. Therefore, of the three modules covered by CORe – Business Analytics, Economics for Managers and Financial Accounting – I was most excited about the third.

What surprised me most was that whilst it is true that everything I have learnt from the Financial Accounting module so far has been entirely new, I am also learning quite a bit from the other two modules as well, despite thinking that they would merely serve as refresher courses. From learning how to use Excel functions to build a confidence interval around sample means, to fully understanding the origins of the demand curve, I feel like I underestimated the value of the Business Analytics and Economics for Manager courses coming into CORe.

I also love the case-based learning method employed by CORe. It really gives you an appreciation for the concepts being taught. For instance, hypothesis testing and A/B testing were taught in the context of Amazon’s efforts to improve the customer experience. Conjoint analysis was introduced through the lens of The New York Times when in 2010 they had to decide how to package their digital offerings with the launch of the iPad.

CORe is to me what I would think the future of education looks like. It is an amazing resource that integrates education and all the benefits of technology effectively. I cannot wait to see the revolution in traditional education that CORe will surely shake up in the wake of its launching.  

Topics: HBX CORe, Student Bloggers