Should I Study Business? (Part 1)

Today, 3 alumni will share about how they decided to study business, popular business courses / majors and how to decide which course is best for you.

To contact the YiMie, Bei Ying or Wan Ping, refer Part 2 (scroll to bottom of post).

studied Business Economics Management at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus. Today, she works as a Business Reporter for Nanyang Siang Pau. Her articles focus on economics, companies, investments and property.

Wan Ping graduated from the University of Western Australia with a major in Financial Accounting & Corporate Finance, and a minor in International Business Economics. She is managing director of an international company that markets Australian properties to Malaysians.

Bei Ying majored in Finance and Accounting and has just started work in the risk management department at a bank. Previously, she worked for the Securities Commission, Malaysia. She did twinning at INTI (1 year) and completed her degree at the University of Queensland, Australia (2 years).


Thanks everyone, for chatting with us. Firstly, can you tell us how you decided to study business?

YiMie: I was a science stream student until F5. I changed to the arts stream in F6 because I knew I didn’t like science subjects and I didn’t think I could do well in science. I developed my love for economics in F6. Therefore, I decided to choose something which is related to Economics—Business Economics and Management. Although it’s classified as a business course, we learnt to evaluate and analyze business and different business models from the economics point of view.

Wan Ping: Ever since I was young, I have been interested in business and finance. I was lucky to have a businessman Dad who helped me understand different industries from a business point of view. After spending 2 weeks in 4Sc1 being lost and uninterested in science subjects, I decided to switch to arts at AMC. It was difficult at first because some teachers didn’t support it, but I’m glad I made the switch early, or I would have suffered.

Bei Ying: I studied pure science in F5 but did a major shift to arts in Pre-U/Foundation. I decided that I wasn’t cut out to study science and my interest is in finance. A lot of people do not understand why I switched to arts. They think it is a waste of skill and talent to pursue a business degree. Fortunately, my parents supported my decision and I went on to graduate with a degree in Commerce with a double major in accounting and finance.

Finance is my passion and I am interested in the banking industry. A number of my relatives work in banks so I had a lot of influence there. I chose to do accounting as another major because I thought it would complement my finance major. I can perform in the accounting subjects but I don’t see myself working in the accounting field e.g. as an accountant or auditor in the future.

Business is such a broad field. What do most people choose when they “study business”.

YiMei: The most popular course at Nottingham Univ was Accounting, Finance and Management. There were other courses that were less conventional e.g. International Business, Business Economics and Finance, Psychology and Management.

Also, if you are keen to learn new languages, NUBS (Nottingham University Business School) offers something new and slightly different from others… you can now study a Management Course + a Foreign Language. For example, B.A. in Management Studies with French  or German / Spanish / Korean / Japanese. This additional language exposure can differentiate you from other business gradates. Also, for students who are more interested in language but are worried about job options, this may be a good compromise.

Wan Ping: A lot of people do accounting and marketing.

  • Accountants play a crucial role in providing information to determine the current and future financial stability of an organisation.
  • Marketing is important to ensure that a business produces the right product, prices and promotes it correctly and develops effective distribution channels to increase sales.
  • Entrepreneurs develop new businesses when they find the right opportunity to do so.

Also, don’t overlook courses just because they are “unpopular”. Human resource management, public relations, risk management, sales, general administration, etc. are all equally significant in contributing towards an organisation’s success. Asking “what’s popular” is not the right way to decide your future. You should ask “what’s right for me?”

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your passion and your strengths. If you are analytical and you love numbers and financial markets, you may want to consider economics and finance. Marketing, on the other hand, requires creativity. If you’re a people’s person, PR or sales may be areas that you will enjoy and excel in.

How should a student decide which business major to choose? How can you find out more?

Wan Ping: Many colleges/universities offer a wide range of subjects during foundation or Year 1. This is to provide exposure to students before they decide on their majors. My advice would be to keep your options open and explore as much as possible. Choose the one that is of your interest. I know many people who chose accounting because they are told that their future would be more promising; however, they end up struggling to complete the course due to lack of interest. Keep in mind that 行行出狀元. Passion + a positive attitude are the things that drive you towards excellence. All areas in business are equally important to an organisation.

BeiYing: I think you need to think about what areas in business that you like i.e. sales, marketing, finance, accounting, management, business information technology, human resource etc. Try to narrow down your field of interest. Remember that you determine your own future, and choose what you are interested in because what most of the people choose might not be of interest to you.

YiMie: I agree with BeiYing. One thing that will help is to read about the modules offered by each course at your university. For example, module descriptions for UTAR, KTAR, Nottingham Malaysia, Monash, Taylor’s Business School are all online.

If you are concerned about finances, you can consider STPM.

Click here for Part 2, where we chat about job opportunities for business grads.


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