As a Cornell senior who has taken 5-6 classes a semester, and holds a few mentoring positions, I’ve been asked a few times (by particularly business-minded students) to recommend a course that has taught me a lot, or prepared me for x internship or job.
Let me take a different approach to answering that question, which might be helpful. Why? Because this is Cornell, and it’s fairly safe to assume that any course title that connotes practical applications will be rigorous and at least of some use to you. AEM 2210: Financial Accounting will teach you accounting well, AEM 2100: Statistics will give you a useful overview of statistical methods, and the like.
- Be exactly on time…and not a minute late. In Finance, the professor could lock the lecture hall doors 1 minute into his lecture–and straggling students might be able to enter later on. In the real world, I’m sure having a knack for being timely–which you can bet I was–will pay off in interviews, meetings and the like.
- Know your stuff. This class definitely taught me the value of preparation. Certain days, students in the ~200 person class were randomly called from a list to answer a specific question about the required reading assigned. If you didn’t have the exact answer off the top of your head, or weren’t there, you would be marked down a point off your grade in front of everyone. There was no room for fluff, or time to check your notes. It sounds strict, but hey…if I’m in a client meeting 10 years from now and haven’t done adequate preparation, there’d be a lot more severe consequences.
- Master time management. On exams, if you dropped your pencil 1-60 seconds after the time is called, you lost 2 points off your test grade. 61-120 seconds later, it’d be -4. Working under pressure and time management are super important things to learn, so I’m certain the skills reinforced in this class will come in handy.
- Be determined. With instructor-led review sessions before exams that often ran until 3am, I definitely learned the importance of determination. I also now know what it’s like to give something your all–attend TA office hours, spend days studying in Mann library–and get an outcome that’s not always 100% pleasing.
- Put your cell phone away. If your cell phone was so much as seen at any point during class throughout the semester, it counted against your grade. Again, this is excellent preparation for the real world, where you have to be receptive to how interviewers, clients, or bosses will respond to technology. (For tech addicts like me, this one continues to be the most difficult to master.)