I went to a community college part-time for 2 years after I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. This is because I needed business/accounting credits required to get into the Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) program. I could have taken some elective business classes for my undergraduate but I didn’t know I was going to become an accountant so I took elective classes like Earth Science instead. Some of those classes were interesting but they were sadly not very applicable to my career path. I am sharing this list of best business classes to take in college for any major because they will be valuable skills to have regardless of your career path.
At the end of the day, would you rather know how to read a basic contract than know the different types of fossils?
Best Business Classes to Take in College for Any Major
You might think I am biased because I am studying to become an Accountant but the truth is, knowing basic accounting terms will be helpful regardless of what you end up specializing in. Every company has a Finance department. On a daily basis, I interact with people from all departments which means you will inevitably interact with someone from Finance at your workplace. While it is not required for you to understand what they are talking about, having the basic knowledge yourself will make the communication easier and guard against misinformed information.
Business Law (or Contract Law)
The introductory business law class I took in college was probably one of the most useful classes I have taken. I learned how to read a contract, what the statute of limitation is and the legal channels available for citizens like ourselves (e.g., small claims court) and more. The skill is applicable to all aspects of your life: when you purchase a home, when you sell a home, when you sign a contract for a service, when you sign your employment contract etc.
When Eric took an introductory human resource course, he shared a lot of useful knowledge both from the employer’s and employee’s points of view. As an employee, it is useful to know what your rights are so you can protect yourself. As an employer, it is useful to know what your legal obligations are.
Personal Income Tax
I have been filing my income tax on my own since I started working at 16. For a simple tax return (when you get a paycheck from one or two jobs), there is a wide range of free software available that are very user-friendly. However, as your income situation gets more complex (e.g., child care expenses, rental income, medical expense etc), it is imperative for you to be aware of the tax credits available to you. The more you know, the more equipped you will be in determining when is the right time to hire a tax professional.
Public speaking skill will be useful regardless of what career path you choose. As a scientist, you could be addressing a grant committee. As a marketing professional, you could be pitching your ad idea to the executives. As an accountant, you could be sharing the financial results with the board. Having the chance to learn the skills and practice in front of your peers will help differentiate you amongst your peers.
It is true when they say you only get out what you put into it. If I had known what I know now back when I was getting my undergraduate degree, I would have chosen my major and electives more carefully. However, it is never too late to learn and with so many free learning resources available, you can most likely take these classes for free.