Marketing, finance, HR—what to choose

Farah Naz Aditi | Published: February 06, 2019 21:05:55 | Updated: February 10, 2019 12:28:05

-Photo: Collected

Just as people face the crucial decisions in choosing their life partners and wedding venues, every business student comes across one significant decision once or twice in his or her life -- which major to choose?  This is not just any decision one makes out of the whim, this is the most crucial decision that students may face at the tender years of their undergraduate lives. It is often easier to choose a major during a post-graduate period since he or she already had a first-hand experience on the pros and cons of various choices, having decided a major during the undergraduate session. However, for the undergraduate students, it often seems to be a difficult decision to make with information flowing from all sides and getting confused about the weight of the merits and demerits. So, fasten your seatbelts as this write-up takes you through a tour of the most available options.

Do you like to work with numbers?

The first step is to clear a misconception that often prevents people from taking a finance major -- it is going to be all about numbers. Although people good with numbers usually take up a finance major because they think finance is all about numbers, a significant portion of it deals with conceptual understanding. Numbers support the theories, but numbers can only take you  far unless you are genuinely interested in the concepts. One reason why people opt for finance major is their preference for banking or related jobs. However, very few banks do bar non-finance majors from applying. In any case, it is always better to look into the requirements of targeted companies before opting out.

An important observation for students opting for a finance major would be, even if you take up a finance major to start a banking or related career, you would hardly be working with numbers. Freshers usually begin their career as a junior or assistant relationship manager- a job that requires important client management and perhaps even marketing yourself to potential clients. Therefore, it is not wise to take up a finance major only blinded by the lucrative banking jobs. This might not even be the right fit for you if you are not an eager person to display your marketing skills.

Finance can be a good choice for people who are avidly interested in the capital market and wish to pursue a career in portfolio management or investment banking. Both of these industries are entirely new in the country and have a long way to go, but these can be jobs that will let the finance geeks finally crunch numbers and do all those financial analyses that fascinated them in the first place. It is also a good choice for people opting for higher education abroad. A finance major might be a basic course as you prepare yourself to enter into the realm of complex financial models. Finance is an increasingly important profession with myriads of opportunities in developed economies.

Overall, finance majors should be ready to work hard. Even after graduation, eagerness to pursue professional degrees should be there. Finance is complex but exciting at the same time. Most importantly, a skill can only be acquired through practice, patience and self-motivation. Remember, there will be times when your only way to thrive might be self-education, but it will always give you a sense of accomplishment.

Do you want a career in marketing/sales?

While many people opt for a marketing major during undergraduate years due to the association of a much care-free low-pressure life with marketing, marketing is much more than that. Yes, marketing might be easier to grasp since a lot of it deals with creativity and storytelling rather than rigid textbook concepts, marketing jobs often are the toughest. Marketing graduates often have to take up sales job in their career, and this becomes the most crucial stepping-stone for them to go up the career ladder. One must know before taking a marketing major that one will have to deal with much more than presentations and flashy marketing campaigns. It is, in fact, one of the toughest jobs out there. Every business needs to sell its products or service, and it is mainly marketing that deals with this. A company is worth nothing until it markets its products to the customers in the right way and so marketing is the most important function.

Taking a marketing major will lead you to an adventurous and exciting career, but you must be ready to face the challenges that come along.

Do you think you can manage the operations of a business?

Business students often feel that this is a weak option for them since an operation job is often deemed right for engineers. However, operations management is an exciting field of study that has very high relevance with a real-life business scenario. This is one of those subjects where demand often exceeds supply. Good knowledge of the subject can give a lift to your career. However, people pursuing this must be ready to work on field and factory and never back down on jobs that might seem less comfortable. An important aspect here is unless business graduates start getting a stronghold in this arena, jobs in this sector will continue to be dominated by engineering graduates. Therefore, it is high time business graduates considered this field of study.

Do you want to deal with human resources?

Here is yet another significant often associated with females only resulting in males to be left out. However, it is essential to understand that historically females have dominated this field due to the reason that males feel too superior to take up an HR role. Human resource is not a function to be ignored. It is a role that helps the organisation function smoothly and adds value by maintaining procedure. Students often feel less interested in studying Human Resources because a lot of it seems merely talk, merely common sense. What people often fail to realise is that there are often theories and loads of research work that went behind to create practices that seem so widespread sense today. Many organisations, nowadays,  require an HR major for their HR roles. HR specialisation is increasingly demanded in many jobs and organisations. Thus, it will be foolish to think of it as a soft or girly option. If you have the innate quality of dealing with people, jump aboard and prepare yourself for a very sensitive and challenging job in organisations.

There are many other significant subjects available for business students, but that varies from institute to another. Many universities offer Accounting and Information Systems (AIS), which are increasingly becoming important in the job arena.

The above analysis is only about the three common majors widely available in most institutes. A major can hardly ever determine your real value as a professional but finding the right fit for you will make your life easier. Because you will be doing what you love, not what you need to do to fill in just your pockets, make the choice that resonates with your heart and success will surely follow.

The writer is currently doing her internship at IDLC Finance Limited. She can be reached at

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