Suresh. K. ChadhaThe spectrum of stream is very broad now and it encompasses a number of disciplines. But for most of the students from this stream the real confusion lies in questions like "Which college should I join?”, “ which course should I get enrolled in?', “Is CA a better option than MBA?’, 'Should I pursue BCom or BBA or will a degree in Economics suit me better?”
In order to excel in this field, it is important to make an informed, responsible choice and not just follow the crowd aimlessly. So, make a thorough assessment of various options and from there you can decide on a suitable career as per your interests.
It is one of the most popular choices for an undergraduate degree, in commerce. The thrust of the curriculum is on accounting, finance and corporate laws. Certain good universities in India, such as Delhi University offer an Honours programme which allows a student to choose electives such as Financial and Investment Management, Financial Services, Tax Planning and Management besides several other management-related specialisations. Typically a BCom programme prepares a student for a career in corporate finance, banking, financial services, corporate management and entrepreneurship.
This is another popular course for undergraduate study and is also known as BBM or BBS in some universities. Though the course curriculum of a BBA programme is similar to a BCom programme, there are comparatively lesser courses in accounting and finance and greater emphasis is on other functional areas of management such as production management, human resource management, marketing management, strategic management and management of information systems. BBA prepares a student for careers such as business management, entrepreneurship and administration. Most BBA programmes have a comparatively lesser cut off for admission as compared to that for BCom.
BA (Economics) Honours
A much sought- after course this is also known as BSc (Economics) Honours in some universities. A degree in economics prepares a student for a career as a business analyst, economist and researcher. Students may also join financial services after graduation.
Some new and innovative undergraduate programmes which students can explore include
- Bachelor in Business Economics
- Bachelor in Financial and Investment Analysis
- Bachelor in Banking and Finance
- Five-year integrated programmes in Management.
Chartered accountancyChartered accountancy programme is one of the most cost-effective professional courses that a commerce student could pursue. The average start salary could be in the range of Rs 4-14 lakh per annum with bright prospects for future growth as well. A CA could rise to the position of CFO or Director in a business organisation depending on his/her performance.
Managed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, the course is a rigorous and challenging one and requires students to clear examinations at three stages — the Common Proficiency Test, the Integrated Professional Competency Course and the CA Final examination. This course also requires a student to take up three years of articleship and acquire training in IT, general management and communication skills.
This is a comprehensive course and students need not pursue a bachelor's or master's degree with it. Rather post qualification there are a number of certificate courses which members of ICAI may pursue and acquire specialisation in areas such as indirect taxation, management accountancy, insurance and risk management, international taxation, forex and treasury management, international trade laws, forensic accounting and fraud detection.
Cost and Works Accountants
Like the CA and CS programme, ICWA coursehas three stages — the foundation, intermediate and final course. Students may choose to pursue the foundation course after Plus II or they may directly start at the inter stage after graduation.
A Cost and Works Accountant’s job is to formulate profit-planning programmes, make budgets, manage the inventory, evaluate investment proposals, analyse financial reports, conduct cost audits and contribute in project planning and management.
Certain types of industries, especially the manufacturing industries and PSUs, are now mandatorily required to get cost audits and thus there is substantial demand for cost accountants. Though a cost accountant's starting salary may be lesser than that of a CA, there have been instances where they have risen to top management positions such as Financial Controller, Cost Controller, Finance Manager and Vice President-Finance, Chief Internal Auditor etc.
Students with interest in legal matters willing to work hard and long hours are encouraged to get into this profession. The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) manages this course. There are three qualifying stages for becoming a company secretary — the foundation stage, the executive programme and the professional programme. Students may choose to join the foundation course after completing Plus II and then move on to the executive level of the course. Alternatively, one can complete graduation/ post-graduation and then seek admission directly into the executive stage. Apart from courses of study students also have to undertake an industrial training and short-term programmes on development of management and communication skills.
The company secretary generally holds office as a senior manager in a company and may be a board member in a large public company.
— The writer is Professor, University Business School, Panjab University, Chandigarh
What the Industry looks for….
Some reputed colleges offer lucrative placements to students after graduation. For example colleges like SRCC and LSR regularly see consultancies such as Deloitte, KPMG, Grant Thornton and McKinsey recruiting their graduates. Most corporate houses look for professional qualifications, specialisations or higher qualifications such as an MBA after graduation. Apart from qualifications, headhunters look for skills such as, sharp analytical ability, creativity, ability to quickly adapt to market changes, technical competence, decision-making ability, self-confidence, leadership skills and emotional maturity. The three years of graduation enable students to get more clarity about their interests which they can follow up with advanced level education at the master's level by pursuing courses such as MBA, M.Com, MA (Economics), MBE, MFC or sector specific master's courses such as MBA (Retail Management), MBA (Banking and Insurance), MBA (International Business), MBA (Actuarial Science) etc.
Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand
Bikram College ofCommerce, PatialaOne of the oldest colleges in the state, it exclusively imparts education in the commerce stream. The college was established by Raja Harinder Singh of Faridkot in memory of his grandfather Raja Bikram Singh. Earlier, it was affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh. Later, in 1962, the college got affiliated to Punjabi University, Patiala.
GGDSD College, Chandigarh
Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharam College in Chandigarh is well-known in the region for its Commerce courses. The Department of Commerce and Management (DCM) at the college was set up in 1976 to impart quality and value-based education in the field of Commerce and Management and to produce students with key managerial skills. Over the years, this department has carved an enviable niche in the field of commerce and management education in northern India. At present there is student representation from as many as 23 states of the country besides Chandigarh.
Alumni: Over the years, students graduating from the department have performed exceedingly well in the Panjab University, Chandigarh, securing almost all top positions.
BBK DAV College For Women, Amritsar
The college was re-accredited A by NAAC, adjudged a College with Potential for Excellence and a Model College for Vocational Education by UGC. It runs over 35 courses and the BCom course at the college is much sought after. There are 300 seats on offer for students from the region. Spread over an area of 65,000sq. yards, the college campus is modern, attractive and well equipped for comfort, convenience and academic pursuits. This campus offers a large number of special opportunities for students.
Apart from the lecutre rooms, it has fully furnished computer labs and other
Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar
College is ranked among the top three multi-faculty degree colleges of entire India by getting re-accredited as 'A' grade with a high 3.74 CGPA score in 4 point scale by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). It offers widest range of courses - 40 degrees, diploma and certificate and vocational programme in five disciplines - humanities, commerce, computer science and IT, sciences and physiotherapy. The most popular and sought after departments of commerce and computer science have a strength of over 2,500 and 1,500 students, respectively.
Every year a number of students figure in the university merit list making the college proud in the field of academics
MCM DAV College for Women, Chandigarh
Multani Mal Modi College, Patiala
Government College for Girls,
Gita Vidya Mandir Girls
Hindu College, Sonepat
Government Rajindra College, Bathinda
RBDAV College, Bathinda
Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur
Dev Samaj College for Women, Ferozepur
Prem Chand Markanda SD College for Women, Jalandhar
DAV College, Jalandhar
DAV College, Amritsar
SA Jain College, Ambala
Gita Vidya Mandir Girls College, Sonepat
Maharaja Agrasen College, Jagadhri
Geeta Institute of Management and Technology, Kanipla, Kurukshetra
Markanda National College, Shahabad-Markanda, Distt. Kurukshetra
DAV PG College, Karnal
The Vallabh Government
Website: www.vgcmandi.inGovt Degree College for Boys, Baramulla
Sri Pratap College, Srinagar
Amar Singh College, Srinagar
Government Degree College,
Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Srinagar