Negotiation Mastery at HBX review

Negotiation Mastery at HBX: A Student’s Review

Negotiation Mastery at HBX

I recently took a certificate in Negotiation Mastery at HBX, the Harvard Business Extension School. In
this post I am going to talk about my experience at HBX with the negotiation mastery course.

What is Harvard Business Extension School?

Harvard business extension school or HBX for sort it is Harvard Business School’s online
presence. They offer a variety of online courses that subscribe to the HBS model of active,
social and case based. The school offers courses in a variety of business topics.

Is Negotiation Mastery at HBX Different Than Other Online Courses?

Yes, I would say that the HBX platform is different than the majority of other online courses.
Most online courses from major institutions are delivered using learning management systems that are available on the market. System such as Litmos, Moodle or Blackboard. Even when content is tailored to the online audience it tends to be in the form of lectures over slides.

HBX offers something slightly different. In Negotiation Mastery the learners are put through their paces by a platform that offers a social feel. Students are taught a concept and then asked to apply it almost immediately. The narratives are available to the entire class or to a smaller group for comment. This opens up the course material to a level of discussion that is much more natural than most platforms. The video occasionally uses animated overlays, but the standard is Professor Wheeler speaking directly into the camera or rich cinematic sequences that set the stage for case study.

The cinematic sequences at first seemed like overkill. They were fun to watch, but I questioned if the extra expense was really needed. After taking the course, I can say I was wrong. The scenarios come to life in different way having experienced the real setting. The HBX video below is not from the course but is similar to the sort of cinematic sequence used throughout. The videos in the course contain much more information about the pending negotiation.

High quality videos set the stage for an immersive experience. For me I felt the same stresses negotiating during the course that I do when involved in negotiating a collective agreement.

Does the Platform Help With Learning?

The videos in the platform never run much more than 5 minutes (with one notable exception)
and are always followed by activities, reading or peer comments. With lecture snippets that are so short it is difficult to get side tracked. When you do, you very quickly realize that you need to cover the material again. the platform also allows you to play video’s at 2x speed which I found helpful for reviewing concepts quickly.

How was Negotiation Mastery at HBX?

The certificate program I took had about 400 students in the class. It was delivered over four
modules. Each module featured a real negotiation with a partner from the class. The
negotiations leveraged the course platform which have a built-in negotiation function. It allowed for text chat and actual offers to be separated. Offers, once made needed to be accepted or rejected. If they were excepted by the other side, the offerer needed to confirm the offer to bring the negotiation to a close. Both partners were then asked to do a self reflection and to evaluate their partners. Feedback was collected in a personalized digital journal that was made available for download. The journal provided me insight into how I approach negotiations and where my strengths and weaknesses lie.

What Did I Learn from Negotiation Mastery at HBX?

This course built on many of the concepts that I had seen in other courses and in books I had read. It is formatted to be a good experience for someone who has had no negotiation training or someone who is a master negotiator. The course itself was broken down into four modules: Negotiation Analysis, Advanced Negotiation Analysis, Managing the Negotiation Process and Negotiation Mastery.

Would I Recommend Negotiation Mastery at HBX?

From the platform to the content, I found Negotiation Mastery to be a great experience. It taught me new negotiation skills and gave me new tools to add value and compare deals. Whether you are a novice or an experienced negotiator, HBX Negotiation Mastery will add to your negotiation ability. It will add to or changes the way you approach negotiation. I would recommend Negotiation Mastery at HBX, and based on my experience I am interested in other HBX offerings.

How Does Course Interaction Happen

During the course most of the engagement with the material happens on the platform. Participants can post articles for the class, and exercises throughout encourage interaction. Shortly before the course has launched you are invited to join a facebook group for the members of the cohort. The facebook group for our cohort was pretty much dedicated to technical issues and musings. The HBX platform was where most of the good discussion happened. One of the negotiations happens over video chat. It is an interesting exercise that adds significantly to the course.

After the course is complete, you are invited to join the linkedin alumni group.

How Much Time Does Negotiation Mastery Take?

It will take you a few hours a week. Like almost any adult learning opportunity, you will get out of it what you put into it. For me I spent vastly different amounts of time on the platform from week to week. Since the students generate content in their answers and post and there are about 400 other student, you could spend tens of hours each week reading and responding to all the activities, posts and negotiations.

I tended to try and complete the activities earlier, so I could read a few other students responses and reply. I found that if I got too far into the week that having one hundred responses to pick from made me less likely to engage with any of the posts.

What Did I Find Most Interesting About Negotiation Mastery From HBX?

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while or have read my Life Saving Negotiation case study, you know I am a huge Chris Voss (FBI lead hostage negotiator/ author of don’t split the difference) fan. Chris was one of the faculty for this program and to hear him expand on his work in Don’t Split the Difference was really valuable for me.

Interested in Signing Up?

Just in case you stumbled upon this article before hitting the HBX website you can find more information and apply for Negotiation Mastery at HBX here.

More Questions?

Let me know down in the comments if you have any questions about my experience at HBX or if you attended HBX and agree or disagree with my assessment.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement of HBX. Beyond being a student for this course I have no relationship with HBX

Posted in Negotiation.


  1. Dave, thank you for your review of the course. I am starting this January and am excited to do so. If you could answer a question for me I would be extremely appreciative. I am a member of the LAPD SWAT team so my hours tend to bounce all over the place. One of my ancillary duties within the team is that of Crisis Negotiator. I too am huge Chris Voss fan. Currently I am trying to get him to speak to my team while waiving his fee (we shall see how it works out). When doing the video chat and negotiation simulations are there hard set times or can you schedule with others? Thank you again. Be safe Jon

    • Hi Jon
      The times are scheduled between the students participating in the negotiations. As you may have seen from my Conflict in Critical Care or my Life Saving Negotiation posts, I am a mediator who still maintains a full time practice as an Advanced Care Paramedic. I had no trouble scheduling around work. Keep in mind, you can be partnered with anyone from anywhere in the world, so timezones (and daylight savings time) can make the scheduling a bit of a negotiation. Good luck with the certificate and please let me know how you find the experience.

  2. Hi Dave-
    Is my first time attending a HBX course and I’m interested on this one. Is there any other course that is needed as prerequisite before attending this? (Maybe CORe one?) Financial course is not so close to my daily job as it is negotiation -face to face with customer discussing requirements-.
    Many thanks in advance for all the detailed review.


    • Hi Paula,
      There was a questionnaire about professional and academic experience during the application phase. I don’t know if the program is over subscribed.

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