Most of us remember sitting in school wondering why we were learning certain subjects that just didn't seem relevant to the real world. Yet as adults we often regret not making more of an effort.
So here are our top 4 skills that are useful in business and which you might have learned at school had you been paying more attention!
1. Presentations and public speaking
A great many people dread the prospect of having to make a presentation at work or of making a speech in front of a group of people.
Part of this reluctance - ok, fear - may be to do with our presentation experiences at school. Reading out an essay or speaking a foreign language in front of a room full of belligerent peers was never going to warm you to the skill of public speaking, but if it hadn't been an ordeal most of us would undoubtedly have learned from it and would be better at our jobs today!
2. Foreign languages
The English have never been comfortable with speaking other languages, however this puts us at a distinct disadvantage in many business situations. The business world is becoming ever more international and especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners, the ability to communicate with suppliers and clients based in other countries is invaluable.
Do we wish we hadn't given up German to do woodwork? You bet we do!
A business professional's ability to connect with strangers in forced social situations is directly related to their experiences in the playground at school. This is the environment where we first learn to read people's reactions to our advances, including the all-important body language.
Unfortunately the human pack instinct usually prevents us from reaching out to strangers and never was that more true than when we were at school. If only we'd made more effort to enjoy the company of the visiting sports team instead of huddling together and sniggering at their accents or uniforms, we would all be better networkers in our adult lives.
Subjects such as history and geography don't immediately seem to have much relevance in the business world, but really it is through them that we gain our first understanding of the wider world.
History taught us about the politics and cultural influences that shape each country and the way it does business with the world. Learning about wars may have seemed dull and irrelevant in school but as adults we now realise how significant an impact a war can have on the world economy.
Geography is equally important - not the volcanoes and tectonic plates that make up our physical world but rather the human geography that teaches us about the way people interact with the world and with each other. Important and useful lessons about industrialisation, town planning, migration and immigration, urban regeneration and the environment were learned and promptly dismissed, but that knowledge would now serve many of us better in our working lives.
There has been much made in the press of the lack of business knowledge and skills that our schools offer to children. While finding the resources to offer business studies at school to all pupils would be difficult, perhaps the solution is first to begin applying the subjects learned in class directly to real world business situations.
Certainly, if our generation had been more enthused by the entrepreneurial applications and money-making potential of what we were learning then we may have paid a lot more attention at school!