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For current business owners or business alumni, what advice can you give as far as which college classes were most beneficial to you?

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Amit’s Answer

The classes that would be most beneficial for a person actually depends on a lot of things - their goals, their interests, their expected outcomes, their learning style etc.
For me, on the quantitative side the courses in Finance and on the qualitative side the courses in Leadership and Entrepreneurship were the most enjoyable as well as beneficial.
I didn't have a finance background, hence the coursework introduced me to a lot of key concepts in the world of accounting, investments and corporate finance. The knowledge is useful in my day to day life as well as on the job front.
The leadership and entrepreneurship courses are a must, in my humble opinion, for any business graduate. They are enjoyable, practical and directly applicable in any situation.
At the end of the day, the course that proves most beneficial for some one could be the one that they least expected to like. So keeping an open mind and having the right attitude to learn goes a long way.
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Victoria’s Answer

It looks like you want to own a business so I’ll try to tailor my response to that.
My school offered entrepreneurship classes. Those classes covered everything you’d need to know to start and run your first business. Beyond that, you’d have to ask yourself what your end goal is. What type of products or services are you going to offer? What are aspects of that list of services or products that you could take classes on to be better at what you’re planning to do? Some companies offer classes on their products so you know how they’re used and who they benefit.
General business courses are great for business owners but they’re mostly related to larger corporations. If you take them, you can pick and choose what information is more applicable to your situation.
It looks like you might want to own a salon. Being licensed and gaining experience should probably be your first step.
A friend of mine gained experience at someone else’s salon and gained clientele at the same time. She split off when she was ready and started her own business. She’s doing wonderfully. This is always an option.
You could probably get a cosmetology business management degree or just take some community college courses to save time. Some business owners could offer you the chance to learn from them but it’s not as common because it’s a competitive business. Find a mentor somewhere and network a bit.
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Matt’s Answer

Hi Kara,

Some of my most helpful classes involved "entry level accounting", which showed me how bookkeeping works and how financial statements were prepared. This helps you understand the basic nature of what can make a business profitable or not!

"Accounting information systems" classes would also teach you about specific accounting systems (like Quickbooks, etc.) that would give you practical, useful experience with those systems.

"Business management" classes can help you with the basic skills of what goes into business decisions (time management, accountability, etc.). These classes have case studies that will show you real world examples of how other people have handled situations that you may also encounter in your career.

Good luck to you!

Matt recommends the following next steps:

Review a local college course catalog and see what sort of entry level classes would apply to what you want to learn
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John’s Answer

The type of business courses you should take depends on the role you plan to play in your own business and what kind of business you are planning to own or lead. Entrepreneurial courses are always good and teach you a lot about building something new and growing the business in the early stages. They are also useful if you are going to have an "intrapreneurial" role within a large organization.

Finance - You can't run a business without money and this is an area that trips up so many young business owners. Taking accounting and business finance courses will be incredibly valuable to the life and growth of your company.

Marketing - Getting customers or clients is just as important as being able to manage your money. Taking classes like sales management, marketing communications, and consumer behavior would be very beneficial.

Management - Employees are always your most valuable resource. In the beginning, that may just be you, but if you want to grow your business will depend on the value of your employees, and employees are only as good as the managers who lead them. There are some really good management courses on LinkedIn Learning, such as Leading with Empathy. You may not need to take college-level management classes, but becoming a good manager should be a high priority.
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Jena’s Answer

Hi, Kara! I am currently an Outside Sales Manager for a corporate business. For me, my business and finance classes were the most beneficial for my career. These classes gave me the the basics that I needed to understand the way businesses work. From everyday calculations like finding profit margins and gross profits, I knew how to do the basics upon entering the workforce. The small things are what help you understand the big picture!
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