|When making life decisions, economic principles can be applied to help one arrive at the best possible choice. Two such principles are “Trade offs” and “Opportunity Cost”. These principles apply to the decision that I am currently faced with. I am going into my senior year of college, and I must choose between three electives: Marketing 334, Public Speaking, and Corporate Selling Principles. All three classes will provide valuable experience that will help me in my job the following year. Each class has different helpful attributes that will benefit me as a marketing major.
In order to choose the best class for my major, I decided to make a list comparing each of the electives by evaluating the economic principles of trade off and opportunity cost. I decided to first evaluate Marketing 334. This class is not your average elective class; it has more benefits and real world experience than most. It teaches many skills such as formal dining etiquette, resume building skills, interview skills, and the like. Considering the fact that I will be graduating in a semester, these skills would greatly benefit my personal marketability, along with making me feel more prepared for the jump to the business world. Then I began to question my skills and confidence when it comes to addressing large groups of people.
This led me to consider taking a Public Speaking elective. This class would prepare me to more confidently present my thoughts and ideas to large audiences in a professional setting. In the business world I may be asked to address crowds and effectively communicate my point. Because I feel I am somewhat lacking in this area, the class would certainly be worth taking. This class consists of four speeches that are assigned by the instructor, forcing the student to be creative with regard to variety of topics. I feel this is relevant because there will many times that I will give a presentation on concepts that are difficult to explain. With background experience, this would not only be easier, but my confidence in it would be greater, resulting in a more effective presentation. Though public speaking would adequately prepare me for my career in many ways, I might still lack knowledge of some of the nuances of selling.
This led me to consider Corporate Selling Principles as an elective. This class would directly tie in to what I want to do in my professional life. It will teach me various ways to pitch a product to a wide range of different groups for many different purposes. It will teach me to maintain a professional demeanor in a selling environment and allow me to more effectively communicate. The main project of this class is to produce a pitch based off of a group and product both picked by the instructor. This will be useful because it will force me to adapt to many situations. In the professional world, I will often be asked to work with individuals that I am not familiar with, on a project that deals with something I have not previously been exposed to. This class will adequately prepare me for such situations both by nature of the group work, and by principles of selling relayed to me by the professor. I could very clearly see the value in this class, but my decision would not be an easy one.
The first economic principle I used to help me make this decision was the principle of trade offs. All three options could be beneficial to my future, which meant that I would face a trade off no matter what my choice. According to this economic principle, all decisions involve trade offs. In this case, I decided to take Corporate Selling principles. By choosing this elective, I will be gaining skills in selling, communication, marketing, and confidence in presenting to groups. The trade off was worthwhile, because I will gain a more diverse group of skills by taking this class. By not taking public speaking, I may be slightly less prepared for addressing groups in the largest settings. Despite this, I will learn to communicate effectively, which made the trade off worthwhile. By not taking Marketing 334, I will lose the exposure to principles of etiquette, but I will still be exposed to principles of proper behavior in a business environment in the class I chose. Although the negative part of the trade off certainly exists, it was not enough to outweigh the positive.
The second economic principle I used was the principle of opportunity cost. Though this principle is similar to trade offs, it is different in the sense that it directly measures the skills I will not obtain as a result of my choice. It measures the “cost” of my decision. By choosing Corporate selling principles, I will have to give up the resume building advice that Marketing 334 would have provided along with table etiquette and interview skills. I will also have to give up the in depth exposure to speaking to large crowds that the Public Speaking elective would have provided. The gains that I will receive from taking Corporate Selling outweighed the losses incurred by not taking one of the other two options. Therefore, the opportunity cost is present, but not so overwhelming as to make my choice a poor one.
In conclusion, using these two economic principles to help me make my choice was a very effective method. It not only helped me compare the benefits, costs, and trade offs, but it helped me to come to the most logical conclusion and to relate economic principles to life decisions. Most people think economics only involves graphs, charts, and comparison of data, but in reality, day to day decisions can be made based on the basic economic principles of trade offs and opportunity cost.