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The Three Best Business School Classes

Jun 25 2015

Whether you’re taking a graduate business class or mentoring employees doing the same thing, knowing which MBA classes have the best payoff is the end game. Choosing the best ones isn’t complicated — just focus on innovation, understanding the “gig” economy, and recognizing the increasingly global flow of business capital. Do those things, and you’re in the right classroom, and on the right career path.

There's no doubt that having an MBA, especially from a top-echelon university, can put you on the fast track to a financially rewarding career. According to industry data, “An MBA—even from schools that lack global or national cache – delivers a hefty seven-figure income over a 20-year period.”

For instance, an MBA from Harvard University — the cream of the crop among business schools — can deliver a median income of $3,233,000.00 over a 20 year-period. Stanford University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania are close behind.

MBA Career Income: At a Glance


Estimate of 20-year median cash compensation

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All MBA Degrees


Top 50 MBA Degrees


Top 10 MBA Degrees


Top 3 MBA Degrees


Where can college graduates with business degrees go to add more luster on their resume? There is no shortage of great schools to choose from, but when you go, use the following classes as a blueprint for graduate school — and career — success.

Preparing For the Freelancing Economy

The career path has diverted for white collar workers in the past decade, as more companies opt to hire contractors and freelancers in lieu of salaried workers (and saving big bucks on reduced benefits in the process). Whether you become a freelancer yourself or find yourself managing contractors, taking courses to better understand the “gig economy” should be paramount during your MBA experience.

Ideal Class: The Gig Economy and the New Entrepreneurial ImperativeOlin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.

Take a Global View

According to professional services network Price Waterhouse Coopers, the global economy will rise by 3% annually from 2014 to 2050, tripling in total size by 2050. What’s more, the U.S. may take a back seat in driving that growth, PWC reports. “The global economic power shift away from the established advanced economies in North America, Western Europe and Japan will continue over the next 35 years,” PWC reports. “China has already overtaken the US in 2014 to become the largest economy in purchasing power parity terms.” Thus, a thorough understanding of global economics via a globalization course is highly recommended for MBA students. Most universities offer such classes, and a trip abroad after graduation can augment your classroom education. Make sure to emphasize technology, business management, and legal and compliance themes when you select a course.

Ideal Class: Global Economic Environment, Columbia University School of Business

Raising Venture Capital

Private equity and venture capital assets in the U.S. total $3.4 trillion, and there is no shortage of high-paying jobs that emphasize either giving or getting a chunk of those assets. Understanding how capital flows, where it goes, and the associated risks is a necessary job description, and obtaining a deep understanding of that market is no longer a luxury for MBA grads — it’s a necessity.

Ideal Class: Cougar Capital, 
Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University 

Of course, the above suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg for MBA business school classes (Wharton alone offers 200 MBA courses). When you do begin the path toward your MBA, consult an academic advisor at the schools you’re considering, or simply ask around with professional and collegiate peers and see what MBA program paid off for them.

With some good planning, you’ll likely find a business school program that works for you, too. 

Brian O’Connell is a writer with 15 years experience covering business news and trends. A former Wall Street bond trader, he has written for dozens of top-tier national business publications, including TIME, MSN Money, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The and CBS Marketwatch.

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