What’s an HBX Again? Nevermind. Harvard Business School Rebrands Its...

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What’s an HBX Again? Nevermind. Harvard Business School Rebrands Its Online Offerings.

By Jeffrey R. Young     Jan 8, 2019

What’s an HBX Again? Nevermind. Harvard Business School Rebrands Its Online Offerings.
Harvard Business School's physical campus in Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard University’s famed business school has an announcement to make: Forget HBX.

From now on the school will instead refer to its online offerings under a more straightforward banner, Harvard Business School Online.

Harvard’s business school launched its first online courses in 2013 in a unit it called HBX. That was at the height of the buzz around MOOCs, and about a year after the start of edX, the online course platform founded by Harvard and MIT. At the time it seemed a bandwagon full of elite colleges were starting courses that ended in “X,” making the whole trend feel a bit like an experimental beta test (and one that might not last).

“Whether or not the case method can work online is a question that we haven’t answered yet,” Brian C. Kenny, a spokesperson for what was then HBX, told The Chronicle of Higher Education back in 2013. He was referring to the business school’s well-known teaching method that uses “case studies,” which the school produces and sells as well.

In renaming the online program, Harvard Business School is signaling that it will continue to offer courses and certificates online while attempting to set itself apart from X-ending MOOC providers. So far, 40,000 people from around the world have completed a course at what was called HBX in subjects that include “Entrepreneurship Essentials” and “Financial Accounting.”

And officials point out that now that online offerings have become mainstream, the name HBX was causing confusion, obscuring the program’s biggest marketing point—being part of Harvard.

Harvard’s business school still has no plans to offer a full business degree online, said Patrick Mullane, executive director of Harvard Business School Online, in an interview. The only way to get that at Harvard is in person.

Harvard University’s famed business school has an announcement to make: Forget HBX.

From now on the school will instead refer to its online offerings under a more straightforward banner, Harvard Business School Online.

Harvard’s business school launched its first online courses in 2013 in a unit it called HBX. That was at the height of the buzz around MOOCs, and about a year after the start of edX, the online course platform founded by Harvard and MIT. At the time it seemed a bandwagon full of elite colleges were starting courses that ended in “X,” making the whole trend feel a bit like an experimental beta test (and one that might not last).

“Whether or not the case method can work online is a question that we haven’t answered yet,” Brian C. Kenny, a spokesperson for what was then HBX, told The Chronicle of Higher Education back in 2013. He was referring to the business school’s well-known teaching method that uses “case studies,” which the school produces and sells as well.

In renaming the online program, Harvard Business School is signaling that it will continue to offer courses and certificates online while attempting to set itself apart from X-ending MOOC providers. So far, 40,000 people from around the world have completed a course at what was called HBX in subjects that include “Entrepreneurship Essentials” and “Financial Accounting.”

And officials point out that now that online offerings have become mainstream, the name HBX was causing confusion, obscuring the program’s biggest marketing point—being part of Harvard.

Harvard’s business school still has no plans to offer a full business degree online, said Patrick Mullane, executive director of Harvard Business School Online, in an interview. The only way to get that at Harvard is in person.

 

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