Elite universities have started offering some of their most popular courses online to the masses. You can take Yale's wildly successful happiness course for free. (One guy took it, and says it will teach you how to be happy.) You can also take Princeston's popular cryptocurrency class, also for free.

Now, you might have a chance to take one of the most popular electives taken by Stanford MBA students. Geared toward executives and managers, it'll run you at least $5,500 and is offered only in-person. Many people who take it cry in front of their classmates at some point, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Getting touchy feely

The official course title is "Organizational Behavior 374: Interpersonal Dynamics." Stanford students and faculty call it by a different name: Touchy Feely. Stanford has been offering the course for over 50 years to MBA students. It's an elective, but 95 percent of students take it.

It's essentially a course on emotional intelligence. Themes covered include open communication, relationship building, and self-awareness. How students give feedback and take emotional risks all go into calculating their grades.

The university has started offering a condensed workshop-style version to people outside the program. Over a weekend in March, 24 executives took the course at $5,500 a pop. Stanford is developing a week-long version that would be held on-site at its campus for $16,000.

The rise of soft skills

Stanford is tapping into the growing demand for soft skills. It's wise of them to monetize it.

Being a genius coder is great. But one who can articulately communicate his or her ideas and excels at emotional intelligence? Even better.

More companies are seeking candidates and managers who have a combination of soft and hard skills, according to job market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies. They found the true unicorn employees are those who have two strong seemingly unrelated skills -- one left brain (logic, analytic reasoning), one right brain (intuition, creativity).

Published on: May 15, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.