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Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette on opening night of the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. (photo: WireImage)

Looking to get on the fast track with your career? Want to ultimately become the CEO? Well, there are many resources to help you out. Just look at the avalanche of management books that come out each year (check out my top picks here). You can also get your M.B.A. to gain a well-rounded approach to learning the fundamentals of business.

Yet not everyone has the time for B-school. However, there is an alternative: online courses. Coursera is an online platform offering hundreds of courses from top schools to help take your career to the next level.

When a team doesn't gel, it's hard to come out a winner. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) photo credit: Getty Images

One of the keys to management success is team building. When done right, the impact can be significant. Then again, when the team does not gel, then failure is almost certain. The Culture-Driven Team Building Specialization course has five components that will help you boost your skills. You'll get advice on important topics like recognizing team culture, gaining insight from a diverse team, handling conflict and finding ways for continuous learning. What's more, the course has seven instructors from the University of Pennsylvania, who specialize in organizational dynamics.

One of the best ways to rise up the managerial ladder is to unleash growth within a department. But of course, this is far from easy to pull off. Today's business world is intensely competitive.But with the Business Growth Strategy course, you’ll get a strong background on strategies for growth. (The instructors include Michael Lenox and Samuel L. Slover, who are both professors from the Darden School of Business.) The main lessons include developing a new product for new or existing markets, acquiring companies and finding ways to scale operations. The course includes case studies from companies like JetBlue, Starbucks, Intel Corporate Venturing and Tata Motors.

When it comes to business fundamentals, start with the basics then learn how to put them together. (photo: Getty)

Great managers have a broad understanding of business, seeing how all the pieces work together. This provides for a strategic focus that can move the needle. With the Business Foundations Specialization course, you'll get an overview of the main areas to understand: marketing, financial accounting, social and human capital, and corporate finance. Each area is taught by a professor from Wharton who specializes in the category and offers hands-on projects for each topic.

Granted, the process of budgeting and scheduling of projects is kind of tedious and boring. But these activities are absolutely essential for managers. You will be measured not just by the ultimate success of a project but also whether things are on time and on budget.

In Budgeting and Scheduling Projects, Margaret Meloni, an M.B.A. and PMP (Project Management Professional), who is with the University of California, Irvine Extension, will teach you about identifying resources, determining the critical path, selecting the three common cost estimating techniques and effectively assigning responsibilities.

With disruptions across industries from fast-growing startups, traditional companies are scrambling to implement digital transformation. There is really no choice anymore.

While the process of digital transformation is broad, there are still some key takeaways and lessons. And this is what the Digital Transformation course focuses on, with four topic areas: how technology changes business, the mechanics of disruption, digital trends past and future, and the path to digital transformation. The instructors include a professor from the Darden School of Business as well as three experts from the Boston Consulting Group.

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Managing is a balancing act. On the one hand, you need to be disciplined and clear-eyed. But you also must have understanding and empathy. Getting all this right does take much experience. Yet there are some effective approaches that can help speed up the process. And yes, in the Inspired Leadership Specialization you'll get a good background on these. (The instructors include five members of the faculty at Case Western Reserve University.) For example, there is a look at emotional intelligence to improve relationships but also deal with chronic stress. You'll also learn about effective coaching, motivation and appreciative inquiry.

It's common that a person will be promoted to a manager position without any training or guidance. Of course, this is far from ideal—and can easily lead to failure. At a minimum, a manager needs to understand the core fundamentals. That's where this course—The Manager's Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work—comes in. (The instructor is Dr. Chris Dewberry, a lecturer at the University of London International Programmes.) Note that much of it is about HR, such as interviewing techniques, performance management, compensation and conflict resolution. All of which a good manager will have to learn to master in the course of a career.

Tom (@ttaulli) is the author of the upcoming book, Artificial Intelligence Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction.

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