How to Choose Electives and Optional Courses in Line With Building One’s Profile

Strategic Choice of Electives and Optional Courses

Often, students in business schools wonder about the kind of electives and optional courses that they must take. For instance, it is a no-brainer when electives for majoring a particular specialization are concerned. If one wants to specialize in Marketing or Finance, then one must take the electives that are offered in these fields so that their profile is built around certain specializations. Further, many students chose electives that would make them hedge between specializations or for example, if one wants to major in Finance and at the same time have a minor in Strategy, then one must take more electives related to Finance and lesser electives related to Strategy. However, the choice becomes tough when one is confronted with filling up of the other slots left after one chooses the major and the minor accordingly. This is where the strategic selection of electives comes into play and it would be advisable for students to apply the basic principle of core competence when choosing the other electives and the optional courses.

Build Your Profile Accordingly

Continuing the discussion, it becomes apparent that students must choose the electives that are as near to the core competence aspect as possible. For instance, if one wants to major in general management so as to be eligible for consulting jobs, it is preferable to choose electives that correspond to the core need of the student for building a consulting profile. On the other hand, if one is eyeing the investment-banking field as a career, then one’s profile must be built according to finance electives that are both foundational level and advanced level. In both cases of consulting and investment banking profiles, it is advisable to leave one or more electives free for term papers and courses that are more specialized and advanced. Further, given the fact that the entire managerial careers are now heavily dependent on IT or Information Technology. It would be in the fitness of things to choose electives that are related to a combination of the core specialization and IT or even choose pure IT courses as optional electives. The point here is that one must decide on one’s specialization and the kind of profile that must be built and then choose the electives accordingly.

Why Choosing Qualitative Electives might be a Good Idea

In recent years, the number of electives that are being offered in qualitative courses has gone up, as industry wants graduates to be as rounded as possible and as diverse as possible when their profiles are evaluated. Therefore, choosing electives related to say, urbanization and management, environmental management, and CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility would be a good idea when one considers the emphasis on these aspects by the corporate sector. Further, there is nothing wrong in choosing electives that are usually graded better because of various reasons. Though your peers might snicker at you for padding your resumes with easy scoring and higher grading electives, the point remains that you do not lose out in the process and indeed, gain from the process. Of course, do not choose electives with only this objective in mind as the recruiters are usually smart enough to distinguish these aspects, as they are mostly former alumni of the institutes. Moreover, choosing qualitative electives is also a good reason for making your profile contemporary and futuristic as little known courses with potential can make your valuable for niche employers.

Concluding Remarks

Finally, the three important takeaways from this article are that after you decide on the specialization, choose the electives accordingly that would help you build your profile and then remember to stick as close as possible to the core competence that you wish to develop. In conclusion, choosing electives and optional courses is probably one of the most important decisions that you would take in your business school education and therefore, choose wisely and do not repent later.


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