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What courses/classes in High School should I take to help gain skills for my interest in business?

Hi, I'm a 10th grader and my interest is both aviation and business. I want to start gaining skills that would help me out in business. I've always been interested in business, leadership, problem-solving, making ideas come to life, being creative and working with other people as a team to work, create and solve on any issue that may occur together. I'm just not sure what I can do to start gaining some of those skills now. Any suggestions? marketing business-management business management

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Brielle’s Answer

Hi Dereck,
Similar to you, I am someone who loves to create things! I would suggest taking a marketing or advertising class. I was able to learn a lot about the processes that go into selling products and services. I also enjoyed making advertisements and developing new product ideas. By taking my first marketing class my sophomore year of high school, it fueled my passion for business and I ended up majoring in marketing in college! I also would recommend taking an excel class either in school or on your own. I went into college not really having any excel experience and I wish it was taught to me back in high school. Excel is one of the main tools that is used in business so getting familiar with it early on won't hurt! I also took an entrepreneurial class in high school where I was able to learn how to develop my own business and products as well. I think any of these can help you gain skills for business. There are so many things you can do and no matter what business classes you take, you will walk away a more well rounded person and your understanding will grow!
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Debbie’s Answer

Ditto to all the others. Try to get a job or an internship in an office to see what it is like. When at the job, ask questions, learn about everyone's role, and take an interest in others. Accounting and economics will give you a good feel for what you like. Definitely a chance to learn Microsoft Excel and if possible Powerpoint. Those will help you become more valuable when you are looking for internships or summer jobs. Lastly, if you have the chance, read the business section of the paper. You may find that your interests become very clear by which articles you are drawn to.
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Lauren’s Answer

Hi Dereck,
Great question! I think that deciding on which courses to take in high school sort of depends on what's offered. I think that any business course you can take in high school will definitely provide with you some fundamental knowledge before you take a college business course. I would look into a marketing, management, or a general business course that your high school might offer. Your school might also offer duel enrollment courses where you can receive college credits for high school classes that you take, so I would recommend seeing if that might be an option. Aside from courses, consider scheduling a few opportunities to intern or job shadow a professional in the field you would like to work in. These opportunities could range from a day to a week or more, and would provide you with better insights into the everyday aspects of the career itself. Also consider joining LinkedIn as it is a great tool to use for networking, reading about different news stories in business, and is just a great source for advice. Consider volunteering and even the organizations you are involved in during high school as they could provide you with some skills in business, problem solving, etc. like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), debate club, entrepreneur club, Business Professionals of America, investment club, etc. Overall, put in the research and better understand the possible career paths you could have. See if there might be free courses you could take online to expand your skillset and business mindset, plus with any business career it is important to learn excel early on.
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James’s Answer

Dereck,

Awesome question. I agree with Lauren above. Any class will help. A friends son just graduated and is entering West Point. I asked him this very question.

He Shared:

Speech class - learning to give a speech and starting to feel comfortable in front of folks. This is a skill that will come in handy in college and in future.

Typing - Enough said.

Entry level coding- Even if you don't think you plan to code in future, knowing how this works and how to do will help you work with coders.

Business classes , if offered - Accounting, statistics. They are offered at our HS and could allow you to figure out if you like these type of classes/majors or not. (Better now than later).

Internships (paid and unpaid) - this also will give you real life skills and understanding of potential jobs. (As I shared above, better now than later to see if you like/don't like). Companies always looking for folks like this. Another friends son likes finance/stats/and is working as a number cruncher this summer at a financial management firm for summer. He is getting paid.

Get a job in HS - my son quickly figured out that working in restaurant is not something he wants to do. But learning how to navigate schedules, showing up for work, asking for time off and picking up extra shifts, all great skills to learn now.

Join any business clubs at your school, or see if one fits your fancy.

Doing extra curricular activities in addition to clubs like sports/band/church groups are all great.

You want to be a well rounded student when you get to college.

Volunteer/give back to those in need is a great skill in learning about others and your self and doesn't cost anything but time.

Bottom line, if you are asking this question, you are ahead of the game.

Good luck,

James
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Holly’s Answer

Hi Dereck,

Very good question. Many classes in high school will contribute to helping you in business. Not only the classes like English, Math, Personal Finance and Economics, but also, really focusing on class projects especially group projects or multi-part projects. Those skills are what are referred to as cross transferable skills in the business world as they teach you how to break up projects in small chunks to get started and to build off of that as a foundation. In addition, you'll have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and individual contribution. All of these experiences and classes are relevant as you go out and find your first job/s and prepare for a career. You'll need to be able to talk about those experiences in a way that demonstrates that you know how to manage projects, your time, encourage group participation, and take a leadership role in getting progress in group projects.

https://www.marlborough.org/news/~board/stem/post/six-business-courses-for-high-school-students

Wishing you great success!
MicroFocus
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Pedro’s Answer

Hi Dereck- Your question is broad but I'm going to give you some specific advice based on my experience. I have led teams in Business and sometimes manage interns for the summer as well. One thing that always surprises me is that almost everyone coming out of college has minimal if any Microsoft Excel skills. If you want to be in business one main competency is analyzing data (doesn't matter if your an analyst or a director). The main tool to do that today is excel. You'd be shocked at how many people are paralyzed when they enter the workforce because they don't have basic excel (pivot etc) skills. So I know my advice is a very small portion of an overall question but keep this in mind as you take business classes. Be sure to be proficient in excel before you join the business world.


Best of luck to you!
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Shane’s Answer

Hi Dereck,

I am not sure what your high school offers, but being somebody who is not to far out of high school, I can tell you that my best decisions were taking a business ethics class as well as economics, graphic design, and any sort of advertising or media marketing class that was available. If you are interested in business, all of these courses are complementary to one another as it will give you a range of knowledge in several different areas of running business, and it will prepare you for more rigorous and real-life oriented courses through your years at university. The most important things that I wish I knew more about coming into my freshman year of college as a business/marketing student were how businesses attract consumers, how pricing works, how the economy is affected by consumers and most importantly, how to problem solve or seek out a problem to create a solution. Understanding that every product and business is a solution to a problem will help your mind find identify these problems faster, and create ideas for solutions . Essentially, I would recommend a broad understanding of business from both the economic/financial side as well as the marketing side to allow yourself to continue narrowing your sights on more specific courses in the future.

Best,

Shane Biathrow
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Brandon’s Answer

I would recommend talking to the school advisor if possible about classes that can benefit learning about businesses. Typically they have many resources that can help a student to a career path and goal that they wish to achieve. For business you would typically want to take the core classes like Math, and English. The higher math you are in the better such as learning stats. Public speaking/speech classes are typically a go to option to take because in business you will constantly need to interact with others whether they are your clients or team members.
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brandon’s Answer

I would definitely take your basic business classes just to get your feet wet but once something catches your attention, look more indepth in that field. learn what you can talk to people in that field so that way you know what it would be like if it is something you would actually want to. Then you can decide what courses would be best to help you pursue that direction in life.
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David’s Answer

I would recommend microeconomics and/or macroeconomics if the courses are offered. From a theoretical standpoint, it will give you a good foundation. Plus exposure to concepts that might spark interest.

Any public speaking/debate class or club would be worthwhile as well. No matter your college/career trajectory, being able to communicate clearly, and persuade/influence people, will be beneficial.
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