The following online business management courses are free to explore, though some require signing up for an account to gain access. Individuals studying these courses can do so at their own pace; however, special software, such as media players and document readers, may be required to access some course materials.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT offers OpenCourseWare (OCW) to anyone with an Internet connection. The courses are open, which means registration is not required, and total approximately 2,400 hours. While students will not receive credit for taking courses, they can learn about a wide variety of topics like energy, society, education and medicine, free of charge. For the following business management courses, students can benefit from access to downloadable lecture notes and assignments.
- Communication for Managers has students examine the skills needed for effective leaders to communicate well. The lectures in this free business management course explore a variety of communication strategies and ways to strengthen writing and presentation abilities in management. The graduate-level course features oral and written assignments but does not include examples. One of several texts to read for this course is Guide to Managerial Communication: Effective Business Writing and Speaking.
- Building and Leading Effective Teams examines notions of leadership and delves into such topics as the individual's capacity to learn and consider visions for the future. The course also takes a look at how to build a learning organization that evolves over time. Students can download two sets of lecture notes as well as some outlines for class sessions. They may need to obtain the textbooks The Ladder of Inference, The Fifth Discipline and Driving Organizational Change in the Midst of Crisis for recommended reading assignments.
- Managing Transformations in Work, Organizations and Society is a graduate-level course that explores the social ramifications for businesses and their employees, as well as the respective role each plays in society. Topics also include ways businesses can manage diversity and the relationship a firm has with its stakeholders. Lecture notes and some readings may be downloaded. Students can also review instructions for writing assignments.
The Open University
The Open University's OpenLearn offers access to articles, videos, games and other learning materials at no cost. Students can take language courses like intermediate French, health courses like imaging in medicine and math courses like geometry. While OpenLearn courses don't offer credits, students can earn a digital badge or statement of participation by signing up for a free account.
- Discovering Management covers topics related to the basic duties of a manager, including budgeting, human resources, employee development, motivation and leadership. Lessons take a close look at the roles and responsibilities of managers and the importance and management of stakeholders. This advanced-level course offers about 15 hours of learning materials. Written lessons and activities and a glossary of business management terms help students explore management theory and the practical aspects of the role.
- Management Perspective and Practices focuses on organizational culture and methods of problem solving. Additional course content includes the examination of differentiation, the Hofstede framework and corporate culture. Activities encourage students to explore various aspects of management. Students enjoy approximately 10 hours worth of study materials in this course.
- Managing Projects Through People helps management students identify individuals who should be involved in a project and learn the best ways to encourage their contributions. Specific topics examined in this course include project teams, political behavior, project manager roles and senior management. The completion of various learning activities helps to enhance the course experience. The total time expected to complete this course is about 8 hours.
University of California – Irvine
Anyone can enjoy access to nearly 50 open courses the University of California – Irvine offers through Coursera. The on-demand courses are available 24/7 and cover subject areas like academic English, trigonometry and conflict management. By auditing the following business management courses after signing up for a free account, students can access course materials like videos and readings. Credits are not available with these courses.
- Strategic Business Management – Microeconomics offers about 27 hours of study materials to ensure you build a quality understanding of microeconomics principles like finance, marketing, statistics and organizational behavior. The beginner's level course teaches students through video lessons along with reading materials and quizzes. Transcripts of the videos are also available.
- Strategic Business Management – Macroeconomics examines major business functions such as operations management, statistics and finance as they relate to macroeconomics principles. Students can enjoy 36 hours of study materials they can access anytime. Learning materials include videos with transcripts and readings.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a wide collection of free online courses, also known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Students can stop by Coursera to learn business analytics, corporate and commercial law and auditing among other subjects. Students must audit the courses to access them free of charge. In order to audit the courses, students can sign up using email or Facebook.
- In this Operations Management: Analysis and Improvement Methods course, students can learn all about the relationship between operations and other business functions like manufacturing. The course also examines how to make strategic operations decisions like determining when to order bigger quantities as opposed to ordering at a higher rate. Students can benefit from about 20 hours of study materials, which include video lessons, readings, practice exercises and quizzes.
Saylor Academy provides access to almost 100 full courses at no cost. Course categories include business administration, chemistry, political science, psychology and history. Signing up for an account is not required to access Saylor Academy courses; however, taking this step offers the ability to track progress, access final exams and earn a certificate of completion.
- BUS305: Small Business Management closely examines the concepts of being an entrepreneur and planning a business. Topics examined in this course include strategies for marketing, financing, how to develop the right team and more. Students learn these concepts by exploring written lessons, videos, downloadable study guides, review exercises and a free PDF of the course's required reading titled Principles of Management. Quizzes are also available for students who sign up for a free account.