As a college student I was not the least bit interested in business as a degree or even a class, yet I have owned three businesses in my career. I had a law degree in mind until I took a gap year and, while backpacking around Europe, I decided I’d had enough school for the time being. The first job I got put me squarely in business and I’ve been there ever since.
Many people think that business classes are only important for people who intend to work in the business world, but I would like to point out that every career is part of the business world – everyone is either buying and selling products, or performing services for fees. Everybody needs to understand how the economy operates, how to invest and borrow intelligently, write compelling arguments (even if it is just to argue with AT&T about your bill), and understand technology. In fact, I think some business curriculum should be required in high school.
A couple of trends have been discussed a lot in the media recently:
- Today’s graduates will change careers many times in their professional life.
- A very high percentage of students think they will start their own business one day, and very few of them feel prepared to do so.
The thing that will consistently benefit each and every career is business skills. Here are some skills that are important to learn.
Accounting and Finance
Every business needs to make a profit to survive and the only way to keep track of expenses and revenue is proper accounting principles. Accounting procedures can help you make decisions about planning, organizing and allocating resources. Learning the principles of sound accounting can keep you out of trouble in terms of your own business, the government and even the law. Understanding basic accounting can make your yearly tax chore easier.
Marketing and Communications
If you own your own business, marketing is essential to your success. You may be the best at what you do, but if you can’t find customers you won’t make a dime. Marketing is a diverse subject. You can find classes on basic marketing, internet marketing, international marketing and even non-profit marketing. Regardless of whether you own your own business or not, communication skills are imperative. People who can make a clear argument have an easier time getting a raise, making a sale and generally getting what they want. Both written and spoken communication is important.
I would argue here that most college students are further ahead in technology than any business would ever need! Kids can do things on their phones we never imagined. However, learning how technology can be used in your career or business is a different thing. If you don’t have basic computer skills, get them. After that you should master software programs like Word and Excel and be able to use analytical tools to help you make good decisions. Once you are in your career of choice you may need to learn a project management program, a digital arts program, or something created specifically for your job.
Taking business classes at any time in your career is a great idea. Have a look at some of these classes.
Business Courses in Seattle: Leadership, negotiations, budgets, problem solving and more.
Accounting Courses in Seattle: Budgets, operational and financial management, Quickbooks, accounting for small business, and more.
Marketing Courses in Seattle: Fundraising, email marketing, social media, SEO, and more.