GUEST BLOG: Eight questions to ask when choosing a business course

Business | Wed 11 May | Author – Business & Finance
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By Patricia McGrath, principal of Hewitt College, Cork

Finding the right business course is almost like a business itself. With literally hundreds of different options available, finding the right option can be difficult.

A degree in business combines practical and theoretical work will teach real-life examples in case-based learning, will offer an international perspective and have great graduate prospects.

Use this guide as your starting point to roadmap your future.

Would you like your future studies to include maths?
If so, look up options such as financial mathematics in University of Limerick (UL), where students develop mathematical, computational and statistical skills and learn to apply them to the world of business.

It’s definitely a degree to consider if interested in the world of banking or finance. Also, students should look at less obvious choices, like science degrees. University College Dublin’s science degree has a great financial mathematics option.

Equally, if you don’t want to continue studying maths, it’s important to look up module details to ensure that it’s definitely the right course choice for you.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Financial mathematics, UL (440 points)
  2. Finance, UCC (505 points)
  3. Accounting and finance, DCU (475 points)
  4. Financial mathematics and economics, NUI Galway (505 points)
  5. Science, UCD (510 points)

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Do you really love maths? I mean really, love maths?
For mathematic lovers, a course in actuarial studies is an option. Would you like to apply the science of chance, probability to complicated problems encountered in insurance and high finance?

Do you excel in maths and problem-solving? Would you like to work in the area of insurance or pensions?

Take a closer look at:

  1. Actuarial and financial studies, UCD (570 points)
  2. Actuarial mathematics, DCU (535 points)
  3. Actuarial, financial and mathematical studies, DCU (500 points)
  4. Mathematical science, UCC (550 points)
  5. Mathematical science, NUI Galway (470 points)

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Would you like to study a broad business course?
A commerce degree offers a wide range of business disciplines, allowing for a solid understanding of the foundations of business.

There are also diverse topics such as management theory, law, human resources and entrepreneurship. However, a BComm programme in different universities can offer different modules. Make a list of the universities that you’re considering, and compare and contrast their commerce degree.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Commerce, UCD (500 points)
  2. Commerce, NUI Galway (390 points)
  3. Commerce, Shannon College of Hotel Management (624 points (including interview points)
  4. Commerce, UCC (455 points)

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Are you interested in international business and studying a foreign language?
Seriously consider an international commerce degree, or a business course that includes a year (or even two) in a foreign university. These courses combine international business with intercultural experiences, not to mention developing a high level of fluency in the language of your choice.

Many students are opting for Chinese, given its fast-developing economy. Graduates of programmes such as Dublin City University’s global business graduate with two qualifications – one from DCU and the other from their partner institution in the USA, Canada, France, Spain or Germany.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Global business, DCU (465-580 points)
  2. Commerce international, UCD (515 points)
  3. Commerce international, NUI Galway (430-500 points)
  4. Commerce international, UCC (this course offers the widest range of options with Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Irish and Hispanic studies offered; 415-490 points)
  5. International business and languages, DIT (offers French, German and Spanish; 405-440 points)

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Would you like to study accounting?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you study accounting, you must become an accountant. While there is an emphasis on accounting in these types of course, they also provide a broad business education and develop critical thinking skills.

Study topics include psychology, taxation, statistics – to name just a few. Some accounting degrees also offer a paid placement, perfect training when it comes time to the first job interview.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Accounting, UCC (465 points)
  2. Accounting and finance, DCU (475 points)
  3. Commerce (Accounting), NUI Galway (430 points)
  4. Accounting, CIT, (310 points)
  5. Law and accounting, UL (435 points)

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Are you more interested in finding yourself in the workplace, rather than a lecture theatre?
Institutes of Technology offer excellent courses in the area of hospitality and during these studies there is organised work placement in quality establishments. Graduates leave with a business degree (BBus), something often overlooked by students. There is a strong focus on practical skills and job-ready graduates.

Take a closer look at these IT courses:

  1. Hospitality management
  2. Culinary arts
  3. Bar management
  4. Recreation and leisure management
  5. Tourism

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Would you like to specialise in economics?
Economics determines the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Graduates have a broad range of career paths open to them, ranging from teaching, banking, broadcasting, journalism and communications.

Many courses offer the opportunity to study economics, including arts. It isn’t necessary to have studies economics for Leaving Certificate or to be a whiz at maths, contrary to popular belief.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Arts, UCC/UCD/NUI Galway (335 -350 points)
  2. Economics and finance, DIT (440 points)
  3. Economics (through transformational learning), UCC (400 points)
  4. Philosophy, political science, economics and sociology, TCD (535 points)
  5. Economics, UCD (485 points)

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Do you have an interest in IT or technology?
If you would like to study a broad-based degree, offering a mix of business and information technology, make sure to research these courses. Studies will be an interesting mix of IT and business, many courses offer paid placement, and you will be in a very strong position when it’s time to apply for a job.

There is a serious shortage of suitably qualified applicants in this area.

Take a closer look at:

  1. Business and information studies, UCC (445 points)
  2. Business and information systems, CIT (355 points)
  3. Management science and informations systems studies, TCD (555 points)
  4. Business information systems, NUI Galway (430 points)
  5. Computer science and business, TCD (500 points)
Image (above): Moyan Brenn

Patricia McGrathAbout the blogger

Patricia McGrath is both the founder and principal of Hewitt College in Cork, which was established in 2000.

A French and Spanish teacher, she has written three Leaving Certificate French textbooks and is also an expert in CAO choices and the Leaving Certificate.