Tertiary and Continuing Commerce Major - Help!

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by vonn, Nov 8, 2012.

Put it out there
  1. vonn

    vonn Bigfooty Legend

    Sydney
    Other teams:
    Brownies!
    Joined:
    Sep 08
    Posts:
    15,143
    Location:
    Northern Beaches
    Hi All,

    Just wondering after speaking with a few people what majors are going to be the most beneficial in getting jobs etc. I know they say to study what you enjoy but I'm not really enjoying any components of my commerce degree (except perhaps commercial law but I don't think that alone will get you a good job) so I don't really mind the short-term pain of studying hard for anything.

    I'm doing an economics major through my other degree, so I guess I just need something for my commerce. I'm not the best at stats, I'm OK at maths but at the same time I don't want something super maths intensive. I guess something else I've found interesting is how relevant statistics is to business (for me) but I'm not good enough to just do a major in quantitative business analysis because that's just crazy amounts of maths.

    I've heard conflicting things about finance, some say the maths is easy and others hard, but it sounds by far more interesting than say marketing. Accounting is the bane of my existence, but I could be swayed if it has more job prospects than finance.

    If anyone has any advice, I'd love to hear it.
     

    (Log in to remove this ad.)

  2. daniel_4tw

    daniel_4tw Club Legend

    Adelaide
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Aug 09
    Posts:
    1,551
    Location:
    Adelaide
    I am coming to the end of five and a half years studying a double in Law and Commerce at the University of Adelaide.

    I chose to major in Management, which in hindsight was a really poor decision. The subjects are fairly monotonous and and you learn concepts that IMO aren't really applicable all that much in the real world. Plus no one is going to hire you straight out of university to be the CEO of their company where you can actually apply what you have learnt. Waste of time.

    If I could go back I would have definitely done Marketing. But that's purely out of interest. The jobs seem fairly scarce in that area too with little prospects of internships and the ability to get work experience.

    Finance would be appealing because you would have the opportunities in the banks etc which I don't think the other majors do to the same extent. Pairing with Economics isn't too bad either.

    Commercial Law (as in, Commerce with a legal point of view) would be an absolute waste of time. I can't imagine any employment prospect where it would be beneficial. If they wanted someone with legal knowledge, you'd be behind qualified law graduates who have their own job shortages.

    From what I have seen from friends, career expos, graduate opportunities and the like, the most valuable major you could do is Accounting - but you have to be prepared to do your charted accountancy after uni (or whatever it is called), so more years after uni on low wage. As far as mathematics is involved, I don't think it is all that complicated. Just depends if you are into that sort of thing. Had a few friends go through at a few different universities without any great difficulty. It opens plenty of doors with many now working for the government, private companies, doing internships in Singapore etc. Not sure if it leads to the big $$ if that is what you are after, but certainly starts your career in the right direction.

    One last bit of advice depending how far you are into your degree. When I first started, the line P's get Degrees was spouted by various students. In this day and age with so many people going to uni, grades matter. Big time. Most graduate positions wont even look at your application if you have below a Credit average. Realistically, D's should be the aim for the core subjects. I thought my 50s in subjects I didn't care about wouldn't matter in the long run, but they do. In this respect I feel it would probably be better getting good grades in a "lesser major" than shit marks in something sought by employees. So maybe rather than doing what you enjoy, do what you are good at.

    Hope this information is helpful. Others would probably have different opinions formed from different experiences, but each to their own.
     
    vonn likes this.
  3. Redalert

    Redalert Moderator

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Melbourne Victory, Blackburn Rovers
    Joined:
    Sep 11
    Posts:
    3,884
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I'm doing a commerce degree at Melbourne Uni with majors in accounting+finance, so I'll do my best to let you know what I've picked up on the way.

    In terms of employment prospects I'd say accounting would probably be the way to go, I'm not sure what its like in Sydney but in Melbourne the big 4 accounting firms generally offer a reasonable amount of summer internship programs. You'd have to a decent average (at least 70) to be competitive but generally the structure of firms allows for a large number of junior positions to do basic stuff like auditing/tax etc, with the opportunity to specialize later on.

    If your gonna pursue a career in the industry most people spend a few years at an accounting firm then move across into private industry where the pay's generally better, although that again really depends on what you want, some people prefer a different lifestyle, and theres plenty of job opportunities for suburban accountants.

    What I'm pretty much saying is that accountings a fairly diverse field, for example CA and CPA qualifications can lead to management positions, and a few people I know have made the transition into industries such as investment banking although that is with a background in finance as well.

    The only other real major I can comment on is Finance, and I'd have to warn you that the maths in finance gets a fair bit harder the longer you pursue your degree. Quite often theres a bit of statistics chucked in, which can be a pain for people who don't really like maths all that much, although considering your majoring in Economics (which at Melbourne has stuff like econometrics) that shouldn't be a problem.

    Employment in finance is fairly tough to find domestically, theres not a whole lot of job opportunities and it hasn't be helped by a bit of a downturn in the sector, so its best when its combined with a secondary degree, probably economics or finance. In my experience its VERY competitive cause theres a lot of people applying for positions, and firms such as the banks generally don't take a huge amount of interns. The upside is that the starting salary and wage growth over the next few years can be amazing, so if you get in its well worth it (although the hours are crap).

    Hope it helped, now back to studying for my exams ;)
     
    vonn likes this.
  4. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises
    Do Accounting if you're concerned with future employability and aren't good at maths.

    Try and improve your maths and stats too as I'd imagine eco will become more stats/maths oriented the further you get into your degree.
     
  5. Ikan Bodoh

    Ikan Bodoh Senior List

    Geelong
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Apr 12
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    Varies
    1. Finance
    2. Accounting
    3. The Rest

    Purely based on employability. You can probably do both as a dual major.
     
  6. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises
    Why do you have finance ahead of accounting for employability?
     
    SJ likes this.
  7. Ikan Bodoh

    Ikan Bodoh Senior List

    Geelong
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Apr 12
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    Varies
    Because a generic commerce degree will have all of the pre-req subjects needed to do CA or CPA post-grad so a career in accounting is still possible but a finance degree will open more doors in terms of sexier career options i.e. same base line as an accounting major but more potential upside.
     
  8. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises

    I did vacation work at big4 with a law/comm (finance) degree and would have needed to do a bridging course to be CA eligible. So you I'm fairly sure you have to do an accounting major to be CA eligible straight out of uni, though this may vary from uni to uni.

    Also not sure what sexy career options a finance major opens up that an accounting major doesn't. Investment banking, institutional banking at big 4, management consulting don't specify you need a finance major. These jobs are open to anyone and are super competitive to get so I definitely wouldn't be advising someone who admittedly struggles with maths into a finance major in the hope of becoming a banker or options trader or something.

    There are quite a few jobs (a lot of mid-tier/insolvency firms) where CA eligibility is pretty much a prerequisite to getting the job. Therefore if I was playing it safe I'd definitely choose accounting major over finance for employability.
     
  9. Ikan Bodoh

    Ikan Bodoh Senior List

    Geelong
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Apr 12
    Posts:
    293
    Location:
    Varies
    There are a set list of subjects that you have to do. An accounting major naturally covers this set list, however it is also possible to cover the pre-requisites if you are doing a finance major if you understand the requirements and plan for them in advance

    Most investment banks require a law double as a starting point or a finance major with exceptional marks (as a general rule) to get to interview. In general (with limited exceptions) an accounting degree won't cut it. I think management consulting is pretty much the same. Institutitional banking, depending on the role, usually won't discriminate between a finance and accounting major.

    At the end of the day, you can get CA eligibility still with a finance major and a finance major will open some doors that an accounting degree won't (usually based on perception more than anything else) so that's why I think a finance major is slightly > than an accounting major, although it is at the margin. Depending on how far through you are and how flexible you can be it should be possible to get an accounting and finance dual major although I presume this somewhat differs per Uni.
     
  10. Redalert

    Redalert Moderator

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Melbourne Victory, Blackburn Rovers
    Joined:
    Sep 11
    Posts:
    3,884
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I've been told that investment banking and institutional banking at a big 4 need a finance major, with an accounting/statistics background is preferred. For that reason it may be hard to break into the top tier with a law/commerce double degree unless you have exceptional marks, but then again its complicated by the different models run by the different unis.

    I have to disagree with this though in the context that while its possible, its fairly impractical. Your assuming that a finance degree with a CA specialization is equivalent to the opportunities you'd get with a flat accounting with a CA, which isn't exactly true, generally accounting firms recruit accounting majors because specifically they need people to do crap like auditing/tax, which isn't covered to the same extent in finance.
     
  11. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises
    Doing a CSP double degree, I had two spare subjects in my commerce degree. There was no way I could have graduated CA eligible unless I switched to an accounting major.

    Investment banks just require exceptional marks and exceptional testing scores. Plenty of people with maths, stats, engineering, computer science degrees working at the BBIBs. Obviously there are a lot of comm/law grads, but that's because a lot of smart people do comm/law.
     

    (Log in to remove this ad.)

  12. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises
    Having spent some time doing tax at big4, everyone had a law degree. Many didn't have a commerce degree at all and just did LLMs (or masters of tax) instead of doing CA.
     
  13. slashin_velvet

    slashin_velvet Club Legend

    Carlton
    Other teams:
    Dallas Cowboys
    Joined:
    Sep 11
    Posts:
    2,790
    This is correct...but only for tax.

    Best order from my experience:
    1) Accounting/Finance Double
    2) Accounting
    3) Finance
    4) Economics
    5) Marketing
    6) Management

    This is purely for employability. Obviously your employment prospects might be better in economics if you're the #1 student with best marks, and all round ability. CA is highly sought after...so try and lock down the pre-requisites for that.

    A word of warning....if you hate commerce at uni....what makes you think you will want to be employed in that area? Ive worked in 3 different areas of commerce since graduating, but all draw heavily on the style of work from uni. I would be considering other options if commerce isnt interesting in uni.

    Experience - Couple years in a specialised section of big 4, now in private industry with a different specialisation/focus.
     
  14. TheGreatBarryB

    TheGreatBarryB Norm Smith Medallist

    Essendon
    Other teams:
    Texans, Astros, Leeds
    Joined:
    Mar 07
    Posts:
    8,326
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I would highly recommend Accounting or Marketing. That way you can get a job in a range of industries. If you want to do Economics and finance you have to be strong at Maths and need to do min. Grad Dip/Masters (i.e Financial Planning, Econometrics). But you're competing in limited amount of jobs with lots of competition. Studying management at undergrad level is a waste of time.

    I would go as far to say that if you are not studying Commerce/Business as part of a double degree you are going to be disappointed unless you do Acc or Marketing.
     
  15. vonn

    vonn Bigfooty Legend

    Sydney
    Other teams:
    Brownies!
    Joined:
    Sep 08
    Posts:
    15,143
    Location:
    Northern Beaches
    I have looked at other options seriously and at the end of the day I don't think ill use my degree but I just want it because I don't like quitting or having regrets.
    Thank you to all the people who have commented I appreciate your feedback :)
     
  16. Phenotype

    Phenotype Team Captain

    Richmond
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jun 10
    Posts:
    520
    Location:
    Melbourne
    My friend is doing a Finance/Economics major and he's been offered to do summer vacation programs at PWC, GS and Deloitte (Not sure why Deloitte is offering him something when he isn't even doing accounting). End of the day, it's the people you know that'll get you the job unfortunately.
     
  17. slashin_velvet

    slashin_velvet Club Legend

    Carlton
    Other teams:
    Dallas Cowboys
    Joined:
    Sep 11
    Posts:
    2,790
    Depends on the area - Deloitte has corp finance and consulting groups that arent accounting based.
     
  18. checkraiseulite

    checkraiseulite Premiership Player

    Hawthorn
    Other teams:
    Joined:
    Jul 10
    Posts:
    3,551
    Location:
    wheretheyrespectmyraises
    I don't think you need accounting major for any service line apart from audit, and even then it's not unheard of to see non-accounting majors in audit.

    not true really as a vac/grad if you're looking to work in a place with a structured grad program like the firms you listed, especially Goldman where you will not be able to just fly under the radar.