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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Sustainable Innovation for Subsistence Marketplaces by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

121 ratings

About the Course

This course focuses on understanding subsistence marketplaces and designing business solutions for the billions of people living in poverty in the global marketplace. To develop understanding of these markets, we use exercises to that enable learners to view the world from the eyes of subsistence consumers and entrepreneurs, facilitate bottom‐up understanding generated by participants, and provide insights from extensive research. More broadly, the course uses the context of extreme resource constraints to learn about the bottom-up approach pioneered through the Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative and apply it in broadly. A parallel project will focus on understanding a specific need in a subsistence marketplace, and designing a solution and an enterprise plan for implementation. You will be able to: • Develop an understanding of subsistence marketplaces • Design solutions for subsistence marketplaces • Develop enterprise plans to implement solutions for subsistence marketplaces • Apply the bottom-up approach for subsistence marketplaces and other contexts This course is part of Gies College of Business’ suite of online programs, including the iMBA and iMSM. Learn more about admission into these programs and explore how your Coursera work can be leveraged if accepted into a degree program at

Top reviews


Jun 17, 2020

Wonderful presentation, this course truly gives the insight to subsistence living around the world that is not the topic of kitchen table conversations but ought to be!


Aug 23, 2020

I will carry this experience with me throughout the rest of my career and life. This was a touching and fulfilling class and I highly recommend it to any professions.

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1 - 24 of 24 Reviews for Sustainable Innovation for Subsistence Marketplaces

By Fotios S

Jun 6, 2020

Possibly the worst course I have been involved in in my life. The professor is providing a wooden delivery reading the chapters of his books, which are a prerequisite. Once you have read through them, then the exact same information with identical wording is delivered in the videos. Furthermore, although the course is addressing a very important issue and it would be important as part of a Third World Economics program, I am struggling to see why it is included as part of an MBA.

By Jose S

Jul 9, 2019

The videos are mainly just the professor reading slides. Poor presentation in terms of lack of creativity and the material does not catch the student's attention. The way the material is presented is flat and boring. The evaluations are unnecessarily long and repetitive.

By Dorathy A

Jul 1, 2021

This course is disappointing.

There are so many issues that I found hard to believe UIUC selected it as part of MBA program course.

1. It addresses important topics related to poverty and sustainability that I agree we and business should care about but the focus is blur. There is no connection with business globalization whatsoever. No content related how business should be conducted at global environment. Course name is misleading. We worked on project for a country and only focus on that country

2. Content in article, video and live session are repetitive, literally from week 1 to week 8.

3. Outdated and inaccurate information.

4. Boring content and presentation. Instructor obviously reads to speak.

5. Live session is disorganized. Instructor failed to clarify questions. He only focused on how to complete projects instead of teaching what we should learn.

6. Poor language choice. Hard to follow content in video and article compared to other courses I've taken. Purposely use sophisticated verbiage for simple concept. Should consider students that do not speak native English. Education is to make complicated theory easy for student to understand and apply to real world problem. Not to complicate simple concepts.

By Letizia P

Aug 22, 2017

I am quite disappointed ... the subject of this course was appealing but the way it is provided here is boring, repetitive and no that interesting ... I guess a bad adaptation of the live course (you can tell also from the indications to be used to rate peers assignment, not applicable for this version).

This is the first one of a specialization I am very interested in learning, so that I will go on hoping the other courses will be better.

By Jason G

Apr 30, 2019

Quizzes were terrible

By Kyle B

Jun 10, 2020

Some of the content in this course is interesting, and the professor has some unique and interesting ways to make things more "immersive." That said, the class is kind of rambly and unstructured - quizzes are convoluted (and have a lot of typos), and though the class tends to be about concepts, a lot of the quiz questions are oddly specific. Interesting, but there is probably better ways to learn this material.

By Elise K S

Apr 10, 2019

Significant amount of reading and work required for this course. Many of the readings and videos were the same or redundant. I would recommend cutting down on much of the busy work - also quizzes are very long as compared to other courses.

By Adrian K

Feb 20, 2021

Be prepared for a long wait for the peer-graded assignments...

By Rashmi R

Jun 18, 2020

Wonderful presentation, this course truly gives the insight to subsistence living around the world that is not the topic of kitchen table conversations but ought to be!

By Bonnie M

Aug 24, 2020

I will carry this experience with me throughout the rest of my career and life. This was a touching and fulfilling class and I highly recommend it to any professions.

By Gustavo P

Apr 15, 2019

Great course with multiple great learning resources. The professor is passionate and goes above and beyond to present the course and experience.

By Audra M

Jan 28, 2022

This is a fascinating subject and I was enthusiastic about learning more. However, the class format is repetitive, awkward, and not engaging. The online course design is of poor quality and the quizzes are not pedagogically sound. I had been planning on pursuing the complete Global Challenges series, but this course, as a representative sample of what GIES has to offer, has turned me away from further pursuing this. I am very disappointed.

By Koh J L

Feb 5, 2023

I am thoroughly impressed! The course structure was well organized, and the materials provided were high quality. I especially appreciated the opportunities for interaction with the instructor and other students through discussion boards and forum.The course was challenging, but I felt well equipped with the skills and knowledge I needed to achieve my goals. I would highly recommend this course.

By kavitha

Jun 27, 2020

It was really very good programmed course which every marketing students should learn , the inputs was really great which makes to know more about subsistence market place and subsistence environment , and i have learn lot of new thinks apart from books , thank you

By Juan D C N

Sep 14, 2020

Fue un curso muy práctico, y con casos reales, obtenidos en campo, que afianzan el conocimiento.

By S.Sowmya

Nov 16, 2023

Very helpful course


May 3, 2022

very insightful


Jun 17, 2020


By Raymond O O

Aug 22, 2023

Thank you

By Manoj K M

Apr 23, 2020


By Roshni S

Aug 24, 2020

The subject is very relevant in view of the SDGs and the instructor is passionate, involved, dedicated and interesting. But it is a bit repetitive and the grades take too long too come.

By pydipalli s

Jul 5, 2020

It is a course which helps in better understanding of the problems , needs from bottom level

By Kyle F

Jun 7, 2020

Very niche subject matter

By Ryan B

Jun 7, 2022