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Stumped for electives? Choose a business course

Mid-September often finds students changing their minds on courses they chose, or putting the finishing touches on course schedules by choosing electives.

The majority of ambitious university students want a class that will interest them, won't compromise their GPA, and will provide some tangible return on their investment of time and energy. Business courses fit the bill.

These classes are designed for first-year students who have no business background, so you won't be overwhelmed with impossible subjects. If you keep up with the weekly readings and complete the practice exercises, you shouldn't have any problem understanding the content.

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They also provide useful and relevant knowledge that can be applied to numerous personal and career-related situations. It's the ultimate in ROI. (And if you aren't sure what ROI stands for, that's one more reason to take a business course!)

The following three business courses are a great place to start when it comes to choosing electives.

Financial Accounting

First year accounting courses cover a variety of topics that can be applied to your personal finances after graduation, from debit and credit to short- and long-term assets, liabilities and equity. A basic understanding of these concepts is vital when calculating your own financial situation later in life, particularly before making a major purchase, like a mortgage.

Accounting courses also cover the basic structure of income statements and balance sheets. Although you may never deal directly with such statements in a non-business related career, it's beneficial to have at least a basic understanding of how they are compiled – so when your future boss mentions that they are looking for ways to increase the company's free cash flow, you can join the conversation.

Introductory Finance

Finance courses provide basic but valuable investment knowledge that you can use when you start investing in stocks, bonds or property.

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You'll learn to define terms such as dividends, rate of return, time value of money, effective annual interest and more. Although one finance course won't be enough to master this extensive subject, you will at the very least learn the language. So, should you choose to consult a financial adviser later in life, you'll be more informed.

Finance courses also teach you about interest rates and the differences between simple and compound interest and annual, semi-annual and quarterly rates. Understanding these differences gives you an advantage when applying for credit, because you will be able to see through sales gimmicks.

You will also gain a better understanding of current financial issues that could potentially affect you. You will know exactly what the newspapers mean when they discuss the dropping American credit rating.

Business Communication

Business students are often required to take at least one communications course, which covers how to prepare business-related documents such as memos, presentations and reports. With this course, you'll master the art of concise, persuasive writing – a skill that most employers require. You'll also polish your presentation skills and learn how to prepare an effective résumé. When you start job hunting post-graduation, you'll have a competitive edge.

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