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Your HBX CORe questions, answered.

About HBX CORe

What is CORe?

Credential of Readiness (CORe) is a primer on the fundamentals of business. It is designed to introduce you to the language of business. It assumes no prior familiarity with business concepts, though it does presume a strong motivation to engage and learn. CORe is comprised of three courses - Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting – which must be taken together. CORe is designed for college undergraduates, recent college graduates, and graduate students in non-business fields who want to prepare themselves for a business career or for a graduate business school.

How will I benefit from CORe?

By completing HBX CORe, you will feel more confident using the language of business and applying these ideas productively. By earning the Credential of Readiness and an official HBX transcript, you will be able to credibly signal to others (including employers) your mastery of the fundamentals of business.

What differentiates CORe from other programs?

CORe is a unique digital learning ecosystem inspired by the HBS signature case-based learning model. It is focused on understanding and solving real world problems. It requires students to play an active role, individually and with each other, emphasizing engagement, discussion, and peer-to-peer learning.

Will employers know what the Credential of Readiness is?

Yes, we are actively communicating the value of CORe to employers. Your Credential tells employers that you have demonstrated competence in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting as certified by HBX. It will also give them a sense of how actively engaged you were in learning this material.

By taking CORe, will I be enrolled at HBS?

As an HBX participant, you join the HBX community; however, you will not be considered an HBS student. To become an HBS student, you must be enrolled in our MBA, executive education, or doctoral programs.

Will I have any HBS alumni privileges?

When you earn your Credential, you will not be considered an HBS alum. However, we aim to offer ongoing learning opportunities and additional benefits for individuals who have successfully completed CORe.

Will my performance in CORe factor in to my admission to HBS?

Successful completion of CORe will help you prepare for an MBA program. While applicants to the MBA Program at HBS will have an opportunity to inform the Admissions Board of non-degree preparatory coursework (including CORe), this is one of many application elements and will be considered in the larger context of a holistic selection process.

Will the Credential of Readiness transfer toward credit at my college or university?

Every college and university sets its own rules and guidelines for transfer credit. You should speak with your specific program to determine if transfer credit will be considered.

How should I list CORe on my resume?

Once you've earned your Credential of Readiness, list it on your resume along with the date of completion, as well as any honors you received, like this:

Summer 2014   HBX | Harvard Business School
                         CORe: Credential of Readiness, Pass

On LinkedIn, list CORe under "education" as follows:
School: HBX | Harvard Business School
Dates Attended: the year you participated in CORe
Degree: Other; "Core: Credential of Readiness"
Field of Study: leave blank
Grade: "Pass," "Pass with Honors" or "Pass with High Honors" as applicable
Activities and Societies: leave blank
Description: HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) is a 100-hour, 10-week online certificate program on the fundamentals of business from Harvard Business School. CORe is comprised of three courses - Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting – developed by leading Harvard Business School faculty and delivered in an active learning environment based on the HBS signature case-based learning model.

It will appear on your LinkedIn profile as:
Example image showing how the sample appears on LinkedIn

Is CORe available in languages other than English?

We expect to offer CORe in additional languages in the future.

How much does CORe cost?

The fee for the February 25, 2015 and April 15, 2015 cohorts is $1,500. Fees for the June 3, 2015 and subsequent cohorts will be $1,800.

Is there financial aid? How do I qualify?

US Citizens who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program may qualify for financial aid based on demonstrated financial need. To receive financial aid, you will be asked to provide supporting documentation.

Is there a payment plan? Can I pay with a debit card or check?

HBX does not offer any payment plans at this time and requires payment in full before CORe begins. Individuals may pay by debit or credit card and organizations by credit card, check, or wire.

If I enroll in CORe and then change my mind, can I get a refund?

If you notify us at least 48 hours before the program begins that you no longer wish to participate, we will refund your tuition minus any processing fees. However, once the program begins, you won't be eligible for a refund.

I'm not sure CORe is right for me. Are there other online courses?

CORe is for people who are committed to being serious learners—who are ready to fully engage in and complete all three CORe courses. If you are looking to browse a course or two, we are probably not right for you. There are a number of individual online courses on many business topics offered by a wide variety of providers that you may wish to consider instead.

When will CORe be offered again?

Future CORe cohort dates and application deadlines are listed on the "Applying to HBX CORe" page of the website.

What kind of time commitment is required for CORe?

Participants in CORe can expect to spend about 12-15 hours per week on CORe over a 10-week period, followed by a 3-hour in-person computer-based exam delivered at a Pearson VUE testing center.

Do I need to come to campus to earn the Credential of Readiness?

No, CORe is an online program available to participants no matter where they live. You will, however, have to appear in person to take a final exam at a Pearson VUE testing center (in 1 of more than 4,800 locations worldwide) in order to complete CORe.

Are courses accessible to participants with disabilities?

We are working to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A standard for accessibility. As we work toward implementing and improving on these accessibility standards, HBX support will coordinate with participants to provide accommodations as necessary.

What are the technology requirements to participate in CORe?

CORe is designed to work on an internet-connected desktop or notebook computer running either the Chrome or Firefox browser. Tablet computers and smartphones are not supported for CORe at this time. A broadband internet connection is highly recommended to access the rich media in the program.

What kind of access do I have to faculty?

CORe has been developed by some of the most experienced and popular HBS faculty. Although professors will not have direct real-time interactions with students, they have thoughtfully developed short video lectures, cases, exercises, and other interactive learning elements to create a highly engaging educational experience. Moreover, as much as we expect you to learn from the faculty, we expect you to learn as much (if not more) from your own thoughtful participation and from your peers in this active learning ecosystem.

At what level are the classes taught?

In CORe, we don't expect you to know anything about business going in. We only ask that you have a deep curiosity or interest in it. You may be a rising junior or senior in a four-year degree granting college or university, a recent college grad, or a grad student in a non-business program. Your background may be in history, literature computer science or government. None of that stuff matters. What does matter is that you are ready to dig in, do the work, and put in the time to develop a fresh understanding of the world around you. The courses have been structured to appeal to individuals at all levels of academic achievement.

Can I work ahead of the course pace?

New modules for each of the courses will be released on a regular schedule. You'll be able to set your own daily or weekly schedule and adjust as necessary, but you will need to complete modules within a pre-set timeframe as there are critical elements that require the cohort to progress at a similar rate.

What happens if I don't finish the course on time?

You are encouraged to plan and expect to spend about ten hours per week for each of the nine weeks to complete the modules - and the program - on time. Module quizzes must be completed within two weeks of when they are released. If you do not complete the module quiz by the required “close” date, you can still access the module materials, and work through them; however, your quiz score will be zero for that module. Your lowest module quiz score for each course in CORe will not be counted towards your grade, so if for some reason you are unable to complete one module quiz by the deadline, it may not impact your course grade. However, all modules in CORe will still need to be completed before you can take the final exam.

How are grades assigned in CORe?

Grading information for CORe is provided at both the individual course level (i.e. Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting) and the program level. Students who pass all three courses will receive a passing grade for CORe and earn the Credential of Readiness.

Program grades are assigned on the following scale:

Pass with High Honors
To pass with High Honors in CORe, you must demonstrate a superior level of mastery of course content and make exemplary contributions to the program through your engagement and participation. Strong “enhanced” participation (engaging with others on peer help, completing enhanced participation questions) is also required in order to earn High Honors.

Pass with Honors
To pass with Honors in CORe, you must demonstrate a strong level of mastery of course content and satisfactorily complete all required participation elements.

To pass CORe, you must demonstrate mastery of all course content and satisfactorily complete required participation elements.

Participants who, in one or more courses, do not demonstrate mastery of content (on module quizzes and/or the final exam) or do not satisfactorily complete all required participation elements will not pass the course and will therefore not pass the CORe program.

There are no pre-determined percentages of students who will fit into the Honors or High Honors categories. However, we expect that roughly 5-10% of students in CORe will receive High Honors, and another 10-15% will receive Honors. Actual percentages may vary somewhat based on the mastery of concepts demonstrated by students in the cohort.

How is course participation evaluated?

Course participation is a critical element of the CORe program. Students are expected not only to learn, but to contribute to their peers' learning. Participation takes one of two forms: "required course participation" and "enhanced course participation."

What is "enhanced participation" in CORe?

Enhanced participation involves going "above and beyond" required participation, by completing elements that further contribute to classmates' learning - for example, asking insightful questions, answering others' questions, grading or responding to others' comments, and so on.

At HBX, we believe that learning is enhanced not only when you learn from your peers but also when you help your peers understand and apply course concepts. As a result, when you proceed through each CORe course, you will have the opportunity to not only ask questions, but also to answer your peers' questions and respond to their comments. Enhanced participation involves providing constructive feedback and taking the time to thoughtfully answer your peers' questions to help them perform to their potential in the course.

Does my performance on "knowledge checks" count towards my course grade?

"Knowledge check" questions and interactive exercises are present throughout each of the courses. They were created to serve as opportunities for you to practice, test, and refine your understanding of the course material and, as such, do not "count" towards your course grade. Of course, we expect you to approach this element of participation with the same degree of care as you do other parts of the course participation. In addition, it is in your own interest to complete these questions thoroughly since some of them are good indicators of the types of questions to expect on module quizzes or the final exam.

Other elements of "required participation" (e.g., reflections, cold calls, shared reflections, etc.) do impact your final course grades and should be completed with care.

How long do I have to take the exam after I finish CORe?

You will have approximately six weeks following the conclusion of the CORe program to take your exam at a Pearson VUE center.

How is the final exam administered?

The HBX CORe final examination is offered to participants after successful completion of the course. This three hour, multiple choice, closed-book, computer-based assessment has been created by HBS faculty and is administered by Pearson VUE. Participants will be able sit for the examination at one of 4,800 Pearson VUE test centers worldwide. A passing exam score on all three courses (Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting) is required in order to earn the CORe credential.

More information on scheduling an appointment, accommodations, ID requirements, and test center policies for the HBX CORe final examination is available at www.pearsonvue.com/hbx. Please note that you will need your HBX ID to create an account with Pearson; you can find your HBX ID on your Profile page on the course platform.

Can I audit CORe?

Because HBX expects all students to participate fully to help create an active ecosystem of engaged learners, you cannot audit CORe.

Will I have access to the materials in a module after I complete it?

Yes, you will have access to the materials in every prior module as you progress through the rest of the course and prepare for the final exam.

Registering for HBX CORe

I have been admitted to CORe. How do I register?

Once you have received your acceptance into CORe, log in to My Dashboard to register for the course. You will be asked to submit a photo, agree to our policies, and pay for the course.