Many of the MBA applicants are career switchers – from IT to Marketing, from Sales to Strategy and more. If you are one of these applicants, you should consider taking a free class in your desired field.

First of all, the class is going to give you a better sense of that field and what would be the actual work that you’ll be doing. Also, it’s a great way to network and meet people that might already be in the companies you’ll be targeting as MBA students.

Last but not least, this is a sign to the Admissions Committee that you are serious about this game plan and are willing to spend time and energy on it (even if you’re taking a free class).

Here are some tips about free business courses, from Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to Business Majors. Karen also writes about online college courses for OnlineCourses.org.

***

Free online business courses are an inexpensive way to get a high-end education. There are several top colleges, universities, and other institutions that offer free courses in accounting, management, economics, finance, and other business topics. Here is a list of 20 free business courses worth looking into:

Free Accounting Courses

Analyzing & Accounting for Regional Economic Change – This graduate-level course, offered through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), features readings, assignments, and other downloadable materials. A few of the theories this course explores include clustering, global supply chains, and regional growth.

Introduction to the Context of Accounting – This introductory course from the UK’s Open University gives a broad overview of the field of accounting and its origins. The seven-segment course provides practical examples and a series of activities for self-learners.

Creating Value through Financial Management – This course, offered through the Financial Management Training Center at exinfm.com, is an introduction to the concepts of value-based finance.

Influences on Accounting Regulation – The Open University also provides this six-hour accounting course discussing accounting practices and regulations throughout history.

Free Management Courses

Management Accounting and Control – MIT’s online management accounting course teaches a mix of different accounting theories. The course includes lecture notes, assignments, and a final exam.

Introduction to Strategic Management – Capilano University provides a comprehensive business management course that uses lectures and assignments to teach methods of business analysis and strategic management.

Managing Cash Flow – This course is one of the 20 courses offered through the Financial Management Training Center. The course focuses on managing cash flows and includes a full exam.

Opening and Marketing – This free course offered by MyOwnBusiness.org discusses key points to marketing a business and common mistakes that should be avoided.

Free Economics Courses

Managerial Economics – Managerial Economics is a free online course offered by Utah State University. The course features audio, lectures, assignments, and exams to teach the principles and tools of economics.

Macroeconomics for Managers – Utah State University also offers this free online macroeconomics course. The course provides a broad overview of policies and theories.

Economic Analysis – This audio course from UC Berkley features 32 lectures that explore variables, growth, and money analysis.

International Economics – This economics course, also offered at Utah State University, features 13 audio lectures along with assignments to follow every lecture. The course focus is on international trade, policy, and finance.

Free Finance Courses

Capital Markets – The University of California-Irvine offers this free 10-lesson finance course in which students study the many aspects of global markets.

Equity Finance – Equity Finance is a six-hour master-level course from The Open University. The eight-segment course discusses equity markets and instruments.

Financial Markets – This course at Yale University studies the history of financial institutions and their relation to current markets. The course includes several lectures, assignments and two exams.

Miscellaneous Courses

Entrepreneurship and Business Planning – Carnegie Mellon University offers this free business course to teach the basics of building a business–from marketing to financing.

Game Theory – This free course from Yale University provides students with an introduction to strategy and game theory.

Introduction to Financial and Managerial Accounting – This introduction to financial reporting at MIT uses lectures and assignments to teach basic concepts of financial and managerial reports.