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Taking a Business Degree? Here Are the Different Types of Specialisations You Can Consider To Prepare Yourself for the Business World

Taking a business degree today doesn’t mean you have to be a jack-of-all-trades generalist.


This article was written in collaboration with Kaplan. All views expressed in the article is the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg

Today, Singapore is a leading higher education destination for Singaporeans and international students. In addition to its six public universities, you can earn degrees from international universities based locally or external degree programmes offered through private education institutions.

With a variety of degrees offered by several education providers, there is a lot for students to consider. Here are some key questions students need to ask when making a decision.

What you want to do in the future? In a way, your degree is a passport for your career. While it does not entirely determine which industry you go into, it does set the foundation for your career and may determine if you would even be considered for some of these jobs.

What are your interests? Choosing a degree that interests you encourages you to excel in your studies. These interests would also typically align with what you hope to pursue in your future career.

What do your grades qualify you for? Not all degrees are equal. Schools have a limited number of slots available, and depending on demand and entry requirements, not everyone who applies will be accepted.

Why Take a Business Degree?

A business degree opens doors to many various different industries and job scopes.

On LinkedIn, the leading social network for professionals, you can find many graduates with business degrees who work and excel in different industries such as banking, consulting, technology, marketing, media, the civil service and more.

Being relatively broad, a business degree opens doors to many different career pathways with more opportunities for your chosen specialisation. This can help you stand out to future employers.

Typically, business students enter university and study a handful of compulsory modules, regardless of the specialisation they intend to take. These modules provide a well-rounded insight into various specialisations, allowing greater clarity on which one would suit you best.

Read Also: 8 Essential Skills You Need To Survive In Today’s Job Market (That You Weren’t Taught In School)

Different Types of Business Specialisations

Your specialisation is where you start to differentiate yourself from your peers. It is also the first step to defining the career path that you will choose to take.

Not all specialisations are offered by all universities, and some business schools offer more specific majors such as entrepreneurship, strategy or management.

In University College Dublin (UCD) for example, students have the opportunity to pursue unique specialisations such as Business with Law, which prepares students to handle the complexity of legal aspects in the corporate world.

Here are some common specialisations generally offered by most business schools (in no particular order).

#1 Banking and Finance

Specialising in banking and finance will allow you to acquire expertise in areas such as corporate finance, investment banking, wealth management, portfolio management, performance evaluation, foreign exchange markets, risk management and more.

#2 Marketing

There are many different aspects of marketing today that a student can learn about. This includes digital marketing, consumer behaviour, product management, international marketing, social media marketing, advertising and more.

#3 Logistics and Supply Chain Management

A specialisation in logistics and supply chain management involves gaining an in-depth understanding of the entire supply chain, risk management, transportation, distribution planning, operation analytics, sustainable operations and more.

#4 Human Resources

Human resources involves the management of human capital. A specialisation in human resources will involve acquiring knowledge on career management, employee development, retention, attraction, selection, succession planning, employment equality and more.

#5 Business Analytics

Data is at the core of businesses today. Specialising in business analytics involves learning about how to use data to derive insights to make key business decisions.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With the (Right) Single Step

It might sound dramatic, but choosing your first specialisation could potentially pave the path for your future career and further studies.

We spoke to two business graduates to learn about how their specialisations have shaped their careers so far.

Renee Pak (Senior Relationship Manager, currently working in a leading peer-to-peer lending platform, based in Southeast Asia): I only graduated about 2 years back in 2017 and started work at my current organisation in 2018. I was previously working as a Business Development Manager at another funding company while completing my part-time studies with UCD.

DollarsAndSense (DNS): What was your specialisation and why did you choose it? 



RP: I am already working in an organisation related to the world of finance so naturally, I picked a programme that provides both business acumen and financial knowledge.

DNS: How did your business Degree and specialisation help your career/get you to where you are now? 



RP: When I relived memories of my UCD summer school trip, I really felt that I had benefitted from the best of both worlds. Nothing truly beats the experience of studying locally while also experiencing campus life halfway around the world. This programme also gave me plenty of insights on how the world of money works.



I was previously working as a Business Development Manager at another funding company while completing my part-time studies with UCD, which have made a significant impact on my career.



After graduating, I was offered a role as a Senior Relationship Manager at my current organisation. Today, I play an instrumental role in the world of corporate finance by helping many small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners achieve their dreams to start a business or grow their capital with funding support from individual and institutional investors. I was even promoted to Team Lead.

DNS: What advice would you give to someone that is considering taking up a business degree and how should they choose their specialisation? 

RP: My advice is that they have to know which interest or career pathway they wish to go for as it’s important to choose the right specialisation to learn skills useful to their work, and employers usually select candidates that major in the right field.

 

Nichol Lim (Business Development Manager, United Overseas Bank): I started taking a part-time Degree in 2015 and graduated in 2017. While going through the course of studies, I was also working full-time in UOB since 2014.

DNS: What was your specialisation and why did you choose it?

NL: I chose a Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) in Management after looking at the required modules and deciding that what it offered would be most useful to me in my career.

DNS: How did your business Degree and specialisation help your career/get you to where you are now?

NL: Upon completion of my business Degree, I was able to make use of what I learnt in class and apply them in real-world situations. This opened me up to additional positions at work where I can take on new challenges.

DNS: What advice would you give to someone that is considering taking up a business degree and how should they choose their specialisation?

NL: Know where you want to be 5 years down the road. With that goal in mind, make your decisions based on what possible knowledge you can gain from each specialisation.

 

Read Also: 4 Career Decisions Young Singaporeans Have To Consider Today That Our Parents Didn’t

Choosing the Business School for You

There are hundreds of business schools for prospective students to choose from. How do you choose the right one for you?

Besides looking at a school’s global rankings, the credentials of its professors and the modules offered are also important factors to consider.

If you would like to take a business degree, planning ahead and considering the specialisations available could help you make a better decision in selecting your university.

One interesting specialisation offered by UCD is Digital Business, where students will cover not only business analytics but also digital business and social media strategy. In a time where technology and social media is the core of many businesses, this specialisation could be particularly relevant and useful.

For those who wish to pursue business degree programmes without leaving home, you can do so through a private education institution. Kaplan has partnered with UCD for the past 25 years to provide quality education through the Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) programme.

UCD is Ireland’s largest and most international university that is ranked among the top 1% of institutions worldwide. Providing globally recognised Bachelor’s Degree programmes, UCD is ranked amongst the Top 23 in Europe Business School rankings.

Lecturers are flown in directly from the University in Ireland to ensure the same quality of education is enjoyed by students as on their main campus. Besides being a reputable university, UCD offers unique specialisations for its students to ensure they remain globally employable. Specialisations include:

– Banking and Wealth Management
– Business with Law
– Digital business
– Finance
– Human Resource Management
– Logistics and Supply Chain Management
– Management
– Marketing
– Project Management

UCD accepts a wide range of qualifications for their Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) Degree programmes, including local Polytechnic Diplomas, Kaplan Diplomas, and other private diplomas and qualifications, which are assessed on a case-by-case basis. You can find out more about UCD’s Business Degree here.

Read Also: Education vs Experience: Which Is More Important For Your Career?

For those that are considering to take up a business degree, Kaplan is hosting a talk titled: Gaining a Competitive Advantage in the Global Marketplace with the UCD Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) Degree.

During this talk, Assistant Professor Matt Glowatz will share his insights on essential business data trends, adopting a data-driven approach to marketing and touch on the skills needed to be relevant to today’s business world and how to acquire them. The talk is happening on 6 November 2019, from 7pm to 830pm, more details here.