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Ask an MBA: What Undergrad Courses Were Invaluable to You?

Benjamin Franklin may have been onto something when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Students arrive at MBA programs with undergraduate degrees ranging from Art to Accounting to Astronomy – as well as a variety of life and professional backgrounds – and all experience is valuable. But some courses may prepare MBA students better for the rigors of business school.

Current Forté Fellows sound off on the courses that benefited them most in this month’s “Ask an MBA” series:

Get a basic vocabulary before you begin

I was a Communications major, so I did not have much of a quantitative background going into business school. Taking free, online intro to finance and accounting classes gave me the basic vocabulary I needed to keep up in class.

Casey Brown, University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business), MBA Class of 2019

Make accounting your foundation

Introductory accounting, by far. So many MBA classes build on this basic competency, and it will allow you to dive deeper into the content for the rest of your classes much more quickly!

Margaret Fletcher, University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School), MBA Class of 2019

Learn to write well

The literature and writing courses that I took in undergrad were instrumental in preparing me for my MBA. Having great reading comprehension is a huge asset, and being able to write clearly and concisely is extremely important. These skills will ease the burden of putting together group papers, and will help you complete exams more quickly and write papers more easily.

Elizabeth Owens Skidmore, York University (Schulich School of Business), MBA Class of 2019

Match real-life experiences with learning

Evening program students have the benefit of applying classroom to practice in real time. While I cannot name a specific course, I would advise that students look for tasks at work that match concepts in statistics, accounting, and finance. It will add great value to your learning experience.

Rachael Ruffin, Georgetown University (McDonough School of Business), MBA Class of 2019

Ditch math – learn a foreign language

Don’t worry about remedial math, Excel or that online accounting class that never quite stuck. Spend time learning about, and immersing yourself in, the culture. As an Australian studying in France, the summer spent learning French in Paris was much more valuable than anything MBA math could have thrown at me.

Georgina Young, HEC-Paris, Class of 2019