Free online courses from US and other top universities in management, strategy, communication

I have always advocated continuous learning. It is not separable from our day to day life and we have to learn if we want to grow. This week, I have handpicked few good courses on public speaking, game theory, strategic management and financial management from top universities like Stanford University and Washington University. These universities offer MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) free of cost. Few courses have deadline whereas few courses are self paced which you can complete on your own comfortable time.



Here we go

Top MOOC course


Project Management for Business Professionals (Canvas.net)
This course provides an introduction to the concepts, techniques, and principles of project management. Primary emphasis will be on learning the project management process outlined in the Project Management Institute's PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide). Agile, extreme, and other variations of project management will be discussed and their key features related to the PMBOK Guide.

Starting from: Jan 26th 2015
Duration: 8 Weeks

Gamification (Coursera)

Gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. This course will teach you the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively.

Course at a Glance

6 weeks of study
4-8 hours of work / week
English
English, Chinese (Simplified), Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian subtitles
From:Coursera, through University of Pennsylvania


New Models of Business in Society


  • Self-paced online course
  • 4 hours of videos and quizzes
  • Statement of Accomplishment: None
  • Subtitles: English

About this Course

In this course we will be discussing the emergence of a new story about business. This new story locates business within a societal framework. Almost every business creates or destroys value for customers, suppliers, employees, communities and society, in addition to shareholders and other financiers. A number of new models of business can be built on this idea such as corporate responsibility, philanthropy, shared value and sustainability. Profits and stakeholder value go together, and this course explains how. The final session explores the idea of how to become a stakeholder entrepreneur and create a business that makes money and makes the world a better place.


Financial Engineering and Risk Management Part II

At a Glance

  • Self-paced online course
  • 13 hours videos and quizzes
  • Statement of Accomplishment: None
  • Subtitles: English

About this Course

Financial Engineering is a multidisciplinary field involving finance and economics, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computational methods. The emphasis of FE & RM Part II will be on the use of simple stochastic models to (i) solve portfolio optimization problems (ii) price derivative securities in various asset classes including equities and credit and (iii) consider some advanced applications of financial engineering including algorithmic trading and the pricing of real options. We will also consider the role that financial engineering played during the financial crisis.
We hope that students who complete the course and the prerequisite course (FE & RM Part I) will have a good understanding of the "rocket science" behind financial engineering. But perhaps more importantly, we hope they will also understand the limitations of this theory in practice and why financial models should always be treated with a healthy degree of skepticism.







Introduction to Public Speaking

  • Self-paced online course
  • 18 hours videos, quizzes, and peer assessments
  • Statement of Accomplishment: None
  • Subtitles: English

About this Course

A report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows that employers want job candidates with strong communication skills. Similarly, educational success also requires the ability to articulate your thoughts clearly. In this class, we will study the principles of public speaking; critically examine our own and others’ speeches through interactive practice.
Unlike many oral communication courses and textbooks, this class spends a fair bit of time working through the unique traits of oral versus written communication in order to help students prepare speeches that are easier to deliver orally and understand aurally. The class's focus on understanding the key parts of an argument and drafting clear and concise arguments translates directly to other academic assignments. In service of this goal, we will study the principles of argumentation and arrangement; critically examine our own speeches and the speeches of others. By becoming a student of public speaking, you join a long history of rhetorical study dating back to ancient Greece.



Financial Engineering and Risk Management Part I


  • Self-paced online course
  • 12 hours videos and quizzes
  • Statement of Accomplishment: None
  • Subtitles: English

About this Course

Financial Engineering is a multidisciplinary field drawing from finance and economics, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computational methods. The emphasis of FE & RM Part I will be on the use of simple stochastic models to price derivative securities in various asset classes including equities, fixed income, credit and mortgage-backed securities. We will also consider the role that some of these asset classes played during the financial crisis. A notable feature of this course will be an interview module with Emanuel Derman, the renowned ``quant'' and best-selling author of "My Life as a Quant".
We hope that students who complete the course will begin to understand the "rocket science" behind financial engineering but perhaps more importantly, we hope they will also understand the limitations of this theory in practice and why financial models should always be treated with a healthy degree of skepticism. The follow-on course FE & RM Part II will continue to develop derivatives pricing models but it will also focus on asset allocation and portfolio optimization as well as other applications of financial engineering such as real options, commodity and energy derivatives and algorithmic trading.




Advanced Competitive Strategy

At a Glance

  • Self-paced online course
  • 7.5 hours videos and quizzes
  • Statement of Accomplishment: None
  • Subtitles: English

About this Course

Advanced Competitive Strategy will introduce new topics and modules with even more real world examples and opportunities for student interaction than in the previous course Competitive Strategy (https://www.coursera.org/learn/competitivestrategy).
In Advanced Competitive Strategy, we will look at how companies can build up and maintain their customer base by increasing switching costs and facilitating strategic customer lock-ins. We will find out how firms can increase their profits by pursuing suitable price discrimination and product differentiation strategies.
We will look at examples of what is acceptable behavior under the premises of EU competition and US antitrust policies and discover exciting ways of how companies can increase their returns by strategically making use of network effects and economies of size. We will further intensify our newly acquired knowledge about network effects and discuss strategies that are explicitly tailored to network markets.
We will analyze the workings of mergers and acquisitions and, moreover, support you in considering alternative strategies that can help companies grow organically.


Game Theory II: Advanced Applications
This advanced course considers how to design interactions between agents in order to achieve good social outcomes. Three main topics are covered: social choice theory (i.e., collective decision making), mechanism design, and auctions.

Course starts from: January 11, 2015

About the Course

Popularized by movies such as "A Beautiful Mind", game theory is the mathematical modeling of strategic interaction among rational (and irrational) agents.  Over four weeks of lectures, this advanced course considers how to design interactions between agents in order to achieve good social outcomes. Three main topics are covered:  social choice theory (i.e., collective decision making), mechanism design, and auctions.
In the first week we consider the problem of aggregating different agents' preferences, discussing voting rules and the challenges faced in collective decision making. We present some of the most important theoretical results in the area: notably, Arrow's Theorem, which proves that there is no "perfect" voting system, and also the Gibbard-Satterthwaite and Muller-Satterthwaite Theorems.  We move on to consider the problem of making collective decisions when agents are self interested and can strategically misreport their preferences. We explain "mechanism design" -- a broad framework for designing interactions between self-interested agents -- and give some key theoretical results. Our third week focuses on the problem of designing mechanisms to maximize aggregate happiness across agents, and presents the powerful family of Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms.  The course wraps up with a fourth week that considers the problem of allocating scarce resources among self-interested agents, and that provides an introduction to auction theory. 

Course Syllabus

There will be four weeks of materials consisting of online videos and problem sets. We recommend that you complete the problem set for each week within that week, although the hard deadline is two weeks from the release date. On the fifth week, we will have a final exam.
Week 1. Social Choice
Week 2. Mechanism Design
Week 3. Efficient Mechanisms
Week 4. Auctions
Week 5-6. Final exam and final problem set.

Recommended Background

You must be comfortable with mathematical thinking and rigorous arguments. Relatively little specific math is required; the course involves lightweight probability theory (for example, you should know what a conditional probability is) and very lightweight calculus (for instance, taking a derivative).

Suggested Readings

The following background readings provide more detailed coverage of the course material:
Multiagent Systems: Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations, by Yoav Shoham and Kevin Leyton-Brown; Cambridge University Press, 2009. This book has the same structure as the course, and covers most of the same material. It is available as a free PDF download from the link above or for sale as a physical book from (e.g.) amazon.com.
A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory, by Matthew O. Jackson. These notes offer a quick introduction to the basics of game theory; they are available as a free PDF download.

Course Format

· Videos.  The lectures are delivered via videos, which are broken into small chunks, usually between five and fifteen minutes each. There will be approximately one and a half hours of video content per week. You may watch the lecture videos at your convenience. Lower-resolution videos are also available for those with slow Internet connections.
· Slides.  We have made available pdf files of all the lecture slides.
· Quizzes.  There will be non-graded short "quiz" questions that will follow some of the videos to help you gauge your understanding.
· Online Lab Exercises.  After some of the videos, we will ask you to go online to play some games. These are entirely optional, and are designed to illustrate some of the concepts from the course.
· Problem Sets.  There will also be graded weekly problem sets that you will also answer online, but may work through offline; those must be completed within two weeks of the time that they are posted in order to be graded for full credit. If you miss a problem set deadline, you may complete it before the end of the course for half credit. You may discuss problems from the problem sets with other students in an online forum, without providing explicit answers.
· Final Exam.  There will be an online final exam that you will have to complete within two weeks of its posting. Once you begin the exam, you will have four hours to complete it.
· Screen-side Chats.  We will hold occasional online chats where we answer  questions and discuss topics relevant to the course.

FAQ

·         Will I get a statement of accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructors.

That’s all for today. Have a happy learning weekend

Govind
Mumbai

December 12, 2014

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