Long Le ’21

HBS CORe Program, Professional Development Course

I first heard about the Harvard Credential of Readiness (CORe) Program through one of my friends about two years ago. He thought it was very interesting and covered material not taught at Williams even in the economics department. I have wanted to take the course since then but did not have an opportunity until this summer. Now that I have completed the course, I have to agree with my friend. I have learned things that are not taught at all at Williams such as accounting, and I learned new economics and statistic techniques such as cost structure and conjoint analysis. I have always enjoyed the liberal arts education as it allows me to learn many disciplines, but I often find it a bit on the theoretical side and lacks meaningful practical applications. This course has served not only as a refreshing change of pace, but it also shows that a lot of business practices are derived from and can be easily understood once you know the theories behind them.

The program covers three separate courses: Financial Accounting, Business Analytics, and Economics for Managers. Financial Accounting covers things that an accountant as well as an investment banker or financial analyst should know in order to evaluate a company and the industry in which it is in. The course covers accounting journal entry, the three financial statements, various types of financial ratios, and financial forecasting. I initially thought the course was going to be boring since it had the word accounting in it, but it was surprisingly interesting. I especially enjoy learning about various ratios as they can tell us about the financial health of the company, how much risk they are taking on, and how efficient they are at using resources and selling products. The information to calculate these ratios are easily available and allow people to gain deeper insights into how the company is operating.

The second course was Business Analytics. The name makes it sounds interesting, but it is basically Stat 101 and Stat 201. I think out of the three courses, this one has the most room for improvement as it was mostly about basic statistical concepts but lacks depth and real-world application examples. I was excited to learn more about A/B testing and how to conduct them, but the course only briefly mentions A/B testing. My last course was Economics for Managers. I found this course the most interesting because it covered a lot of random things like online advertising pricing, Google’s prediction market, and China’s growth miracle.

I do not think the courses directly influenced my major or career selection, but they made me feel more confident and better equipped for interviews. Now, I no longer feel like a person who knows a bunch of theories but has no idea how to apply them or even how a business operates. I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Thomsen ’79 as well as the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for giving me the opportunity to learn beyond the Williams curriculum.