Dream of Harvard? Here's your chance - World's No 1 B-school rolls out free e-courses and it's only for Indians

Dream of Harvard? Here's your chance - World's No 1 B-school rolls out free e-courses and it's only for IndiansIt's true. Harvard Business Review had been launching programmes and initiatives curated within the US for the world till now. But, for the first time in 90 years, it is introducing e-courses. The icing on the cake is it is only for young Indians - students and early career professionals.

For HBR, this move takes it away from its premier brand image of associating only with senior management execs. It wants to connect with the masses and help India in its challenge of making students job-ready and sees the best way to do it by imparting skills through smartphones.

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A pertinent question to ask is why would Harvard only focus on India. Statistics suggest that the gap between the quality of product that Indian education institutes create and the kind of employee organisations look for at entry level is very wide. There are almost 12 million graduates that enter the workforce every year and nearly 80% of these are unemployable by organisations.

Earlier this year, an Aspiring Minds-Business Insider joint survey found out 68 per cent of Indian companies felt entry level hires and graduates they see are not even job ready. It meant there lies a huge gap in what they have studied and what is expected out of them in the industry. 56 per cent respondents, in their response to the effective measures to reduce skill gap, said they feel higher education efforts in the country need to focus on training for soft skills, closely followed by a demand to build a relevant course curriculum.


It is this lack of soft skills in early career professionals and students in India where HBR sees an opportunity to make a difference.

As the announcement of rolling out e-courses was made recently, Vivek Chachra, the Country manager of Harvard Business Publishing (HBP is a not-for-profit, wholly owned subsidiary of Harvard University, reporting to Harvard Business School) told TOI - "When we talk about early career professionals, it's really important that they start contributing at the workplace right from the word go. While they have sound technical knowledge of their area of expertise, what they are often missing are skills to manage themselves in a workplace, which can hamper their ability to contribute effectively in the early years. Hence, L&D interventions for this audience should focus on the softer skills. This can be extremely relevant for students and young executives and help them find a job and prove their worth to employers."

He further added - "It is for the first time in 90 years of our history that we are actually building and reaching out to impact the lives of individuals on a scale that is several times larger than what we have been doing so far."

Harvard's move is going to give Narendra Modi's 'Skill India' the push that it needs, and also satiate the aspirational hunger of several students who dreamt of Harvard, but thought it was not accessible.