Unless you dream of becoming, say, a Franciscan monk, a retail clerk, or a freelance writer, vows of poverty probably don’t show up on your career checklist. True enough, money matters — and in a country where a hugely unremarkable shower curtain can be tagged and sold for $6000, your average college student might expect there’s enough capitalist excess to go around, that there’s a wad of cash with his or her name on it, just sitting around for use after graduation.
Might be. Could happen. But to improve the odds of post-college prosperity — or if you’re thinking of getting back into the college game — first take a hard look at the course catalog. Leaving aside the axiom that people who work sitting down get paid more than those who stand up, which classes point toward a job that’ll keep you in the style to which you’d like to grow accustomed?
You might be surprised. What follows is a list of courses — some stand-alone, some with prerequisites as part of a study program — that represent initial steps toward a decent starting salary, career growth, or world domination (sometimes, all three). Backed by deliberate if wholly unscientific evaluation, herewith are 25 classes you can take to the bank.
Business and Law
• “Introduction to Business,” Northeastern University. Wanna rule a retail empire? Learn from someone sitting on one of the biggest, cushiest thrones around: the CEO of the TJX Companies, home to TJ Maxx and Marshalls, among others. After giving students a copy of the annual report and a company overview, TJX execs work with them on developing a “great idea” for TJX to implement. It ain’t The Apprentice — but it’s not bad. www.cba.neu.edu
• “Financial Accounting,” Sloan School of Management, MIT. To make money, it helps if you can get your hands dirty and wangle it yourself — which is why accounting and financial advising regularly top the best-jobs lists. As one of the top-rated New England schools in the U.S. News & World Report round-up of undergraduate accounting programs this year, Sloan looks to make good on your investment.
• “Knowledge Management,” UMass Boston College of Management. In an age of information overload, blessed be the data miners. This brand-new course gives MBA students an introduction to a fledgling field of management that emphasizes collecting and protecting info vital to a business’s success. No salary ranking is out yet for “knowledge managers” — but they sure do sound expensive.
• “Introduction to Initial Public Offerings: The Art and Science of IPOs,” Boston College Law School. You don’t have to play the high-stakes, high-risk game of stock trading to pocket a nice chunk of Wall Street change — just work for some of its players. This class gives a lawyer’s-eye view of the financial free-for-all more commonly known as an IPO. Among the topics are “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and, intriguingly, something called “Comfort Letters.” So get that degree and get busy — and try not to dwell on what you’d have banked from the Google IPO deal back in ’04.