Looking for finance as a future business career? Though finance, management, and accounting courses inculcate valuable job skills, top executives have to think beyond numbers and while selecting the undergraduate classes, aspiring top executives should follow the suit.
According to the consulting firms, non-business courses—especially in fields like English, Psychology, and Foreign Language—offer invaluable business know-how. Analyzing a book, for example, can help hone your critical thinking skills, while studying human behavior can (partially) explain consumer spending. Even a few semesters of a foreign language could better equip students to join today’s global workforce, students need to become citizens of the world, they have to be able to talk about—and understand—more than just basic business.
According to several business school authorities, amongst a variety of non-business courses- business majors should be taken. Following are their top five majors:
- Writing and Literature: Communication skills are necessary for any field, and business is no exception. Whether you’re drafting a marketing pitch or leading a presentation, you should be clear, concise, and memorable. Studying advanced literature—especially the more complex authors, such as James Joyce or William Faulkner can also help you learn to “think and analyze critically.”
- Economics: Beyond illuminating basic financial theory, economics classes impart the historical context you’ll need to make an informed business decision. Once you understand how inflation works and what drives consumer demand (among other concepts), you can understand—and, more importantly, analyze—past U.S. economic trends, including the Great Depression and 1970s-era stagflation. Then, you’ll be able to tackle the tough questions, like ‘How do we get out of this recession?”
- Foreign Language: As business goes global, there’s a growing need for cross-cultural understanding. And even though you might not be working abroad, chances are your company will be. Studying a second language, especially Spanish or, in today’s climate, Chinese, could give you a “critical edge” in the office. And just knowing simple cultural skills, including the proper way to greet someone or give thanks, “can make you feel more at ease around a foreign client”.
- Psychology: If you’re chasing a career that stresses marketing and sales—or any kind of prolonged social interaction—it helps to understand human behavior. Taking a psychology course can ensure you’ll know how the brain works, what triggers an emotional response, and, to some degree, why consumers purchase certain items. You might even learn something about yourself in the process. No matter what you do, you’re trying to do it through people and psychology will help you interact with them.
- Statistics: In the business world, basic math skills are essential—but not sufficient. “Everyone can add and subtract but when you can look at numbers and see a narrative, that’s a marketable skill. In a statistics course, you’ll learn to manipulate jumbled figures into meaningful data. You’ll be able to see old patterns and predict new ones.
If you wind up on Wall Street, you’ll be better prepared to analyze those endless earning reports and income statements—and perhaps, make a million-dollar decision.
Senior Vice President | Leverage Edu
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