Often Heard, but SO NOT TRUE!!!

Want to switch to the arts stream but facing a lot of skepticism and negativity? Interested in marketing but being forced to do accounting? Afraid of making the wrong choice and being stuck with it for the rest of your life?

Leong Wei Ming, alumnus 2001 (5A1) shares her thoughts below on “common myths” that students get told.

Wei Ming graduated from Syracuse University (Finance major) on a  full athletic scholarship (playing tennis). Upon graduation, she declined (with no regrets!) a job offer with an Investment Bank on Wall Street, NYC and came back to Malaysia to work in management consultancy. Today she is with a US multinational corporation in a special projects / strategy capacity.

(1) Traditional debate on Science vs. Arts

>> Common Myth: Science being superior over Arts (whether in School, University, job offers, etc.)

>> Truth: There is no such thing as one being superior over the other. Both offer excellent career paths that you can excel in.

>> My 2 cents: Choose what your interests are. Peer pressure, fear of losing friends, parental pressure, teachers’ advice are all “easy excuses” to follow the conventional path. Even in Arts, there is no such thing that choosing to study Business studies will guarantee a solid rice bowl and bright future. I have the privilege to know and continue to meet many people who are doing exceptionally well in their chosen field that didn’t graduate with the “traditional” degrees (i.e. engineering, medicine, business, etc.)

(2) What are the majors /concentrations to choose in Business

>> Common Myth: Definitely go for more technical majors like Finance and Accounting; All other majors (i.e. Marketing, HR, International Business, etc.) are deemed as “fluffy”

>> Truth: Business studies are all interlinked. Whether you are majoring in one over another, you will have to go through all disciplines / foundations. In all major organizations, all business discipline is well represented and needed for a corporation to function. A joke to highlight my point – can you imagine me going to my Sales & Marketing Vice President and tell him that his job is “fluffy”?

>> My 2 cents: Choose your major according to your interest, spend extra efforts in learning your non-major subjects and understanding them well. You will find that handy as all business disciplines are inter-related and when you start working, you can always pursue a different path from what your major was. It’s not the end of the world if you studied something but end up in an entirely different job! (see next point)

(3) Landing a job in only the major you graduated with.

>> Common myth: You must or most likely have to work in a job that is related to your major

>> Truth: You can graduate with one major and end up working in something that has nothing to do with your major – and IT’S OKAY!

>> My 2 cents: Choose what you think your interests are at the point of decision making. Why am I saying this? You will never hit the bulls eye of choosing your definite passion during university. Once you enter the job market, you will realize that there are plenty of job options out there in many different disciplines. Bottom line – it is okay to switch to different career paths when an opportunity arises at a later stage in life, so fear not in choosing what you think is best at the moment based on the existing information in hand. Real story to share – a friend’s 38 yr old brother is a Chartered Accountant (Senior Director level in a Big 4 firm); he quit his job last year and is now enrolled in Med School to become a Doctor.



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