Coursera Business Foundations Specialization Review

Published by: Julia

The Coursera Business Foundations course specialization teaches the day to day skills you need to make a success of your business. The 6 courses in this package cover Marketing, Finances, Operations, People and Process Management.

In the final course, you get the chance to put what you have learned together by carrying out a project. You do everything from defining the problem you are solving, cost out your solution, map out the process, come up with a marketing plan and create a presentation. This project is peer-reviewed.

Ok that is the headline view of what you get when you take this business specialization. Read on to gain a deeper understanding of what is involved.

By the way, I’ve reviewed a few different Coursera options, and you can read my full Coursera review here.

What is the Coursera business foundations course specialization?

Often, Coursera presents its courses to students grouped together in what are called specializations. That is to say in sets of between 3 and 6 courses that complement each other and are designed to take you step-by-step through a subject. What you learn in each individual course builds on the content of the previous one. This structured way of learning is highly effective.

When you hear people talking about the Coursera Business Foundations course, they are in fact referring to one of these specializations. This one consists of 6 courses in the series.

Below, we tell you what they are and give you an overview of what each of them covers. As well as share how good the content is and how useful it is for use in the real world.

Who teaches the Coursera business foundations courses?

All of the courses have been created by members of the faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It is also known as Wharton Business School. Its MBA graduates consistently earn $156,000+ in their first year after graduation.

There is no doubt that these teachers teach business practices that work. Skills that are considered to be valuable by employers.

Which courses are included in the Coursera Business Foundations specialization?

Below is a list of the courses covered by this specialization.

  • Coursera Introduction to Marketing
  • Coursera Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • Coursera Managing Social and Human Capital
  • Coursera Introduction to Corporate Finance
  • Coursera Introduction to Operations Management
  • Coursera Wharton Business Foundations Capstone

Here are some brief details of what can be learnt by taking each of these courses. If you want to find out a bit more about what is covered in each of them, I suggest that you use the links provided to click through and read my more in-depth reviews.

Coursera Introduction to Marketing

Marketing is essential to any business, regardless of size or type. So, it comes as no surprise that a marketing course is included in this Coursera specialization.

I would say it is fairly comprehensive. Although it could do with updating to cover digital and social marketing in more detail. Apart from that, I would say that it is a pretty comprehensive course. Certainly, a lot better than many of the other marketing courses I have seen.

Here is what is covered :

  • Branding
  • How to become and stay customer-centric
  • How to identify and understand your market
  • How to tweak what you have to offer to fit the needs of your customers and continue to do so as things evolve
  • Putting together a comprehensive marketing plan
  • How to take a new product from concept to the point of launch

You can read my full review of this course here.

Who could benefit from the Coursera introduction to marketing course?

This course has a lot to offer. I would say that it is suitable for the following types of students :

  • People who are studying business at college level
  • Owners of established businesses – regardless of size or sector
  • Start-up owners

Coursera introduction to financial accounting

Accounting is a subject that most people dread learning about. They assume that it is a dry and boring subject, so have a tendency to avoid taking an accountancy course at all costs.

A mistake that many business owners live to regret bitterly. Simply leaving it all up to your accountant rarely works out well. Without a basic understanding of business financing, it is impossible to tell the difference between a sound idea and a dud that could crash your company.

Fortunately, the subject of business financing is covered in a very different way by the instructors. One or two students even go as far as describing some of this course as entertaining. A rare compliment for a business accounting course

It is also far more comprehensive than most “introduction to… courses”. The subject is covered in enough depth for someone to apply what they have learned to their business and improve things by doing so.

These are the main subjects that are covered:

  • An overview of business finances
  • Understanding income statements
  • What accrual accounting is
  • How to read and use a balance sheet
  • Understanding and using cash flow statements
  • Ratio analysis

If you would like to learn more about what to expect from this accounting course, you can do so by clicking here. When you do that you will be taken to my full introduction to financial accounting review.

Coursera Managing Social and Human Capital

People are important for any business. Your workers need to be valued and treated as assets. When managed well they become loyal, productive, engaged, and efficient members of staff. So, knowing how to manage people is vital.

But, as you will see when you take this course, there is a bit more to it than that. It is not enough to simply be a good leader. You also need to understand what social capital is and how to manage that too.

The syllabus includes :

  • Motivation and reward
  • Managing workflow
  • Making sound management decisions
  • Managing your organization´s architecture

This course is for anyone who is currently involved in the field of human resources. Or, for that matter, anyone who wants to work in the sector in the future. It is also an excellent choice for business owners or would-be entrepreneurs.

To find out more, just click through and read my full Managing Social and Human Capital Coursera review.

Coursera Introduction to Corporate Finance

I am not quite sure why there are two finance-related courses in the Coursera business foundations specialization, but there are. Although, in fairness, this one does cover many things the Introduction to financial accounting doesn´t.

It barely touches on setting up and managing spreadsheets and keeping track of your income and outgoings, which you learned about in the introduction to financial accounting course. Instead, you dive deep into the nitty-gritty of business finances. The things that you need to understand to be able to make sound money-related decisions for your business.

The syllabus includes:

  • Understanding the time value of money
  • An overview of how the different kinds of interest rates work
  • The impact inflation has on business finances
  • How to carry out discounted cash flow analysis

This course is one every business student or entrepreneur will greatly benefit from. According to the statistics around 80% of the firms that go bust do so mainly because of poor cash management. So, understanding business finances really is an essential skill. You can learn more about why that is here.

Coursera Introduction to Operations Management

Managing the day to day running of a business well is of vital importance. You need to understand what needs to be done and when. Understand how long it takes to do each task. As well as be able to recognize when things are going off track and what you can do to get things heading in the right direction.

  • Process analysis
  • Understanding flow rates
  • Understanding flow times
  • Identifying and dealing with bottlenecks
  • Productivity
  • Managing quality

Despite the fact that operations are so important, there are relatively few decent courses that cover the subject so effectively. Click here to read my review and get a better understanding of how this course will benefit your business.

Coursera Wharton Business Foundations Capstone

Once you have completed the other courses in the specialization you will get access to the Wharton Business Foundations Capstone. This gives you the chance to apply what you have learned to a real-world business problem and producing a full-blown project.

You come up with an idea, carry out the research, check the feasibility, and present it to the other students. They mark the top ideas and provide feedback. It is not great that not every person gets the same level of feedback. However, most students are not fazed by this. They benefit greatly from taking what they have learned and actually applying it. Doing this as part of the capstone keeps you accountable and on track. It is an excellent way for any student to cement what they have just learned.

Read my full review of Coursera´s business capstone by clicking the link.

Who is the Coursera Business Foundations Specialization for?

This is a comprehensive specialization that is suitable for many different kinds of students. It is practical enough for someone who runs their own business or is already employed to be able to apply what they learn to their work. As well as being a great introduction to the subject for students who want to take a business degree.

Can you get a qualification by completing these courses?

If you subscribe and pay you can get a Coursera certificate for each of the courses in the series that you successfully complete. Using those you can demonstrate to prospective employers and educational institutions that you already have a reasonable understanding of the subject.

How much does the Coursera business foundations course cost?

In the past, you could pay a single fee to take individual courses in this series. When that was possible it would cost you around $600 to complete the 5 courses and get the certifications.

Now you sign up for a monthly subscription. For this specialization, the cost is $80 a month. If you just want to take one course, the cheapest way to do it is to ensure you complete it within the month then cancel your subscription.

In fact, some people manage to do two or three of the courses each month. That means they get all 5 courses done and pay just $160. While others stay signed up month after month and get things done more gradually. Clearly, the longer they take the more they pay.

If you want to learn more about the other types of Coursera offer, you can do so here.

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