Hello everyone,

On April 3, 2020, we announced the launch of free Business Lessons. Our goal was to help learners from around the world sharpen their skills during a time when so many are looking for ways to stay productive, competitive, and engaged.

We moved quickly, and there was a lot to figure out. In our nearly six-year history, we had yet to offer a free program through our platform. But we knew that, given the events unfolding around the globe, there were many who could benefit from these free Business Lessons. While we knew there would be some interest, we really didn’t know what to expect.

As it turned out, the response was overwhelming—so overwhelming, it overloaded our systems and processes and forced us to close applications within 48 hours. While we’re continuously working to support more learners, the volume generated by the free Business Lessons was exponentially greater than what we see in a typical program.

The uniqueness of our platform and the support processes we built for it, ultimately, led to some of the issues we faced. HBS Online was built for social, interactive, case-based learning. And while that’s helped us create an engaging educational experience, we realize now that it’s also introduced some limitations to our capabilities.

As such, we cannot reopen the free Business Lessons. For that, I apologize. I know how many of you were looking forward to experiencing the HBS Online learning model and developing new skills, but our first priority is ensuring an optimal learning experience for everyone on our platform. In the end, the decision to pursue this effort was mine, as was the choice to end this free offering, so I wanted to be the one to tell you and apologize for the impact this decision has had.

While I know it’s not a complete consolation, we do have other free resources you can explore to enhance your business knowledge and experience our case-based learning, including a:

I apologize again for the inconvenience and hope that we can, one day, expand our platform’s reach even further. I appreciate your patience, understanding, and support of HBS Online.

All the best,

Patrick Mullane
Executive Director, HBS Online

(This post was updated on April 23, 2020. It was originally published on April 3, 2020.)