Business Analysts in the course of their careers may be required to move from one domain to another depending on the projects they are assigned to. The start of a project in a new domain is typically characterized by an intense pressure to understand the peculiarities of the domain, a steep learning curve and an eagerness to deliver business value. Getting up to speed in a new domain should not be so difficult if one has access to the right training materials and resources.
This post comprises a list of free training courses you can sign up for to learn the key concepts of specific domains and improve your commercial awareness. "Commercial awareness" refers to a person’s general knowledge of the business, their experiences and specifically, their understanding of the industry they work in or intend to join. Though each organization comes with its peculiarities, these courses provide a starting point for anyone looking to understand specific business functions in order to hit the ground running in a new environment.
Business Analysts that understand how the business works clearly have an advantage in setting themselves apart and adding value to the business. For those wishing to transition to consultant roles, attaining a broad understanding of how businesses operate is particularly crucial.
Most of these courses are offered through MOOCs like Coursera, edX and other educational platforms. Where a course is not offered for free, financial aid is available. Here we go...
Supply Chain & Logistics
This business area deals with the demand and supply of materials as well as the operations needed to ensure that products are available to customers when needed. Learn the basics of effective logistics and supply chain management with these free courses:
1. Supply Chain and Logistics Fundamentals: This course is offered by MIT through edX and covers Demand Forecasting, Inventory Planning, Transportation Planning and how these processes are managed and executed.
2. Supply Chain Management: A Learning Perspective: This is offered by the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology. It teaches how to create business value through effective Supply Chain Management.
Operations management, as the name implies, deals with the day to day management of business operations in the most efficient way possible. For knowledge of the fundamentals and best practices of how to improve operations and processes, explore the free courses below:
1. Operations Management: This course is offered by the University of Illinois and teaches the key concepts involved in managing the operations of a business. It covers operations strategy, operations metrics, inventory and supply management.
Here's an excerpt from the course:
You will develop a skill set that is vital for managing operations and supply chains for any manufacturing or services business and for evaluating operations of businesses.
2. An Introduction to Operations Management: This course teaches how to analyse and improve business processes across different industries by reducing response times, providing more options to customers and improving quality. It touches on process analysis, productivity, responsiveness and product variety.
Want to learn finance, the language of the business? Here are a number of courses to explore:
1. Finance for Non-Financial People: This course is offered by the University of California, Irvine and provides a basic understanding of finance and accounting concepts. Specific topics include financial analysis, planning, forecasting and budgeting, cash flow and strategic financing.
This course is offered by Open Education Consortium. Here’s an excerpt that describes the course:
This course provides the terminology and concepts of the functional areas of the business, setting the foundation for interpreting and analysing the legal, social and ethical issues facing businesses today. It also explores the financial system, including the various types of financial statements.
3. Asset Pricing, Part 1 is offered by the University of Chicago. An excerpt from the course is as follows:
Are you curious about quantitative finance? Are you working in an investment bank, money-management firm or hedge fund and you want to understand models better? Would you like to know what buzzwords like beta, risk premium, risk-neutral price, arbitrage, equity premium, and discount factor mean? This class is for you.
4. Managerial Accounting: Cost Behaviors, Systems, and Analysis: This course is offered by the University of Illinois and focuses on teaching the key facets of cost analysis, the accounting issues that organizations typically face and the various accounting systems used in tracking costs and profits.
5. An Introduction to Financial Accounting: This course is offered by the University of Pennsylvania and will help to improve your understanding of financial accounting. Excerpt from the course:
This course will improve your fluency in financial accounting, the language of business. You will learn how to read, understand, and analyse most of the information provided by companies in their financial statements.
6. Managerial Accounting: Planning, Standard Costing, and Performance Measurement: This course teaches the accounting methods that are useful for planning and making financial decisions in the organization. Learn how accounting data influences decisions and enhances the ability of organizations to make informed decisions.
Banking & Insurance
The following courses are available on Banking & Insurance:
1. Free courses on Banking from ALISON
2. A List of Free Online Banking Courses and Tutorials from Education Portal
3. A List of Free Online Insurance Courses from Education Portal
4. Economics of Money and Banking, Part One from Barnard College, Columbia University
Manufacturing & Product Design
Explore courses on manufacturing and product design from ALISON.
Here are some courses that BAs interested in the healthcare domain would benefit from:
1. Interprofessional Healthcare Informatics is offered by the University of Minnesota. Here's an excerpt from the course:
We will explore perspectives of clinicians like dentists, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians in diverse practice settings worldwide. Emerging technologies, telehealth, gaming, simulations, and eScience are just some of the topics we will consider.
2. The Contemporary Health Informatics course is from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Here's an excerpt:
This course is intended to help even non-technically trained students gain basic proficiency in health informatics: the application of computing to healthcare delivery, public health and community-based clinical research.
Other courses from Georgia Institute of Technology include Health Informatics in the Cloud, Big Data Analytics for Healthcare & Mobile Healthcare technologies for patients and providers.
I hope this list provides a useful starting point for you. As you may already know, you have the option of adding some of these courses to your watchlist so that you can be notified of future sessions if none is currently available. You may also go through the archived study materials at your pace. If you are aware of other free courses not included in this list, do leave a comment below.
Browse through free lessons on telecommunications.
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