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is on specific industries or sectors, including real estate, property,
logistics, retail and trade. There are many specialisations and an
increasing number of full degree courses designed for these
If you can identify with one or more of these student types
this should give you an idea of the specialisations that would be
suitable for you. Then it’s a matter of looking for the right degree.
Business specialisations are available in all kinds of degrees,
including arts, social science and science, although you would
only choose one of these if your primary interests ranged well
outside the field. Assuming that they don’t, you’ll still have plenty
of options at your disposal. There are both general and
specialised business degrees. At the general end, very broadly,
there are two types: the bachelor of commerce and the bachelor
of business. Courses in business administration, business
management and business studies are usually equivalent.
So, what’s the difference? Some say that the newer business
studies courses are more practical and focus more on how
businesses actually operate than the older commerce degrees,
but this is only a generalisation. It might be true that the bachelor
of business includes a wider range of ‘applied’ options, compared
with the core business disciplines that tend to be offered as
majors in commerce, but courses vary greatly between providers.
The beauty of these general degrees is that you can choose your
specialisation and subjects yourself. Since both degree types will
generally cover a range of different specialisations, you can
usually make your studies as practical or as theoretical as you
like through a choice of majors and electives.
There are also many specialist business degrees on offer,
which may be called any of the specialisations discussed
previously. In addition, there are general business degrees with a
‘tag’ in brackets indicating the major area of study, whether it’s
marketing, management or finance. In some cases, you’ll get
much the same whether you do the specialisation within a
general degree or in one with a specific title. With others though,
the course content in the latter might be more detailed in areas of
particular interest and will better prepare you for the career you
Of course, that’s if you know what you want. If you have not
yet decided on a specialisation, there’s no need to worry. Many
general business degrees will give you some room to test out a
few areas before deciding on your specialisation. Courses with
specific titles and tags, on the other hand, will usually make you
specialise from the start and leave less room for elective subjects.
Think about whether or not you want to narrow your focus straight
away or give yourself some more time to figure out your direction.
And if you want to stay general in your focus, remember that you
can always pick up specialised knowledge later through a
There are also many double degrees on offer — you might
end up combining business with arts, languages or sport. You
might also find that adding another professional degree (such as
law or education) and staying with a general business degree is
the way to go.
Where to study
We recommend that you think carefully about the kind of
education you want as well as where your career is going when
choosing a business course. As for what one faculty or institution
might do better than another, there are so many variables that it’s
difficult to provide good advice. Some will take a very academic
approach, while others will have more working professionals as
lecturers. Some will offer work experience and have close
relationships with industry, while others will have strong honours
and research programs. Again, it all depends on what you’re
after. Have a good look at graduate ratings and course brochures
to ensure that the course suits your needs.
Business and management is one of the most user-friendly
fields of study. Part-time and distance education courses are
widely available. There are many mature age students, some
having entered through special admissions schemes for adults.
Getting in can be very tough, very easy or in between, depending
on the institution and the specialisation you choose. This is also a
field where it is possible to progress up the qualifications ladder,
starting out with a VET qualification before entering a degree.
To compare entry difficulty at different institutions, see the
‘How tough is it to get in?’ tables in Section 4.
Providers of business education are continuously expanding
courses and providing increased opportunities for students to
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