A major dilemma | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 04, 2019

A major dilemma

Choosing major as business students

Graduating from high school, most of us are pretty clueless about who we are and who we want to be in life. Typically, there's a lot of external pressure from families to go after conventionally respectable options such as engineering, medicine or law. But if you're like me and decide to bite the bullet and go down the BBA road, even then choosing a major remains a tough decision that you must make.

Unless you're from a business studies background and are absolutely sure about your major, it is advisable to take a few fundamental courses in subjects that interest you before you make the ultimate choice. If you are still stuck in a dilemma even after having taken several courses, this article is for you. We will discuss some of the most common business majors offered by Bangladeshi universities and help you figure out which one is the right one for you.

At present, finance jobs are the highest paid jobs both in Bangladesh and abroad. That is to say, theoretically, in terms of possibility, you will potentially earn more from a finance background. However, money shouldn't be the most important deciding factor for you. You have to know, finance courses in universities are usually more rigorous and demanding than marketing or human resource (HR) courses. So unless you want to specifically work in financial management and you really enjoy all the number crunching that comes with it, finance may not be for you. Conversely, if you're a hardworking individual who is willing to invest additional hours into building impressive academic credentials, go for finance. Finance is the best option for those who aren't scared of numbers and find great pleasure in the technical workings of all things quantitative. Additionally, if you plan to later pursue Masters abroad, finance will definitely give you a boost in your application.  You need to remember, you should only go for a finance degree if you genuinely enjoy it. At the end of the day, if you choose finance just because it has better prospects, you will either graduate with a low CGPA and ultimately delve into a non-finance line of career, or graduate with a good CGPA and score a good job but end up spending every moment at work hating your job and hating yourself even more for putting yourself through it. Finance is like committing yourself to a serious relationship; you should only go for it if you truly enjoy it. 

If finance isn't your thing, you can look into marketing and HR. After having spoken to a few graduates working in different MNCs, I have come to the conclusion that majors don't determine much, unless of course you want a finance job in which case finance majors are almost always preferred. For marketing/HR jobs, recruiters don't expect you to have come from that specific field of study. This is because, unlike hardcore, discipline-centric jobs such as finance jobs where theoretical knowledge is fundamental to your job performance, marketing/HR fields require you to learn most things on the go. Regardless of your background, you will end up relearning everything in a practical setting. So it again comes down to what you enjoy. Marketing deals with value creation and branding of products or services. Marketing related jobs almost always require you to derive maximum engagement from your target audience that ultimately leads to maximum sales for your products or services. So marketing is probably right for you if find yourself being fascinated by TV commercial concepts and can think of a few alternative ways you would've done it yourself. If you think you are good at creatively expressing yourself, working in groups, and handling criticism, you are likely to enjoy a marketing job. On the other hand, human resource is all about reengineering the workplace. HR professionals are strategic partners who restructure the way the organization manages talent in order to ensure the best possible work ecosystem. An HR career will give you the opportunity to play a central role in countless aspects of the organization through recruitment, training and managing employees at different levels. So if you are really good with people, and see yourself as a capable decision maker in terms of development of the work force, you should go for HR. Both Marketing and HR courses provided in university tend to be quite laid back, which will give you plenty of time to build important skills that will help you advance in your career. If you wish to score a competitive job in these fields, it is important for you to develop effective communication skills throughout your undergrad years. Because at the end of the day, recruiters prioritize soft skills more than your undergrad major.


After a severe case of chronic indecision, Adiba Arif finally decided to major in marketing. Email her at adibaarif.3@gmail.com to change her mind.

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