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Should I undertake this combined degree?

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Old 03-01-2011, 03:45 AM
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Default Should I undertake this combined degree?

Hi,

I'm a 23 year old Singaporean male this year and have just been offered a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law combined degree(5yr course) from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. However, I've yet to accept my offer as there are still some issues I'm unsure of which is holding back my decision..

Don't ask me why I'm starting my undergrad studies so late.. to cut the story short I took a worthless diploma, served NS, then went on to complete the UNSW Foundation program with decent enough grades to get into law school.

My main concern is whether it is worth it for me to take up this 5 years combined degree as by the time I graduate, I'll probably be around 27. I consider that really old as most of my peers will be already working and probably scaling up the corporate ladder.

My next question is how this Australian law combined degree compares to Singapore uni grads, in terms of job prospects and salary wise. From what I can see most of the legal practitioners in sg are from NUS and UK law schools.. I've not really known of anybody from Aussie law schools yet. This comm/law combined degree is definitely more valuable and relevant in Australia than in Singaopore. However, I'm not implying that UNSW is a lousy school as its well known internationally especially in Asia, and is also a G8 uni in Aus. It's Commerce faculty (Australia School of Business) is also arguably one of the top in Australia.

If I do not choose the Commerce/Law degree, I'll opt for the double major Bachelor of Commerce which can be completed over 3 years FT or even less than 3 years if I take summer course. On the other hand, I can only opt for one commerce major for the 5 years Comm/Law degree.

This is how it goes.. If I choose the Commerce degree, it will be double major over a course of 3 years. For the combined degree, the first 3 years will be on Commerce and Law concurrently and I'll be awarded a Bcom degree (1major) after 3 years. The 4th and 5th year will be solely concentrated on Law elective units.

I aspire to work in the Banking industry, or even become a corporate lawyer (thats if I can make it) and I think that a commerce/law degree is as valuable as it can get. But the age thing is turning me of..

Sorry for the lengthy post and thanks for reading

Hope to hear valuable feedbacks from you (experienced guys) out there

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Old 04-01-2011, 08:18 AM
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i think you are focusing on the wrong issues. Instead of worrying if the degree has any value, you are worried about starting out late in the working world. Ask around to find out if the degree helps at all to secure employment. Age is never an issue and don't worry about your peers. Career stretches for a long time 20 years or more. It is a marathon, if you do well, you can catch up. all the best!

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Old 04-01-2011, 01:56 PM
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u have to check if they allow aussie law degree grad enter the bar in sg or not. if not its probably not very worth the time and money too.

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Old 04-01-2011, 07:19 PM
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Hi,

Yes UNSW is an approved uni and it can admit me to the Bar.. thats if I really want to become a legal practitioner. UNSW is one of the best universities in Australia (Group of 8) and the Commerce Faculty is well-reputed. However, if ur going to compare it to NUS law grads, of course it will lose out.

unregistered: what you said makes sense..

Thanks for the feedback
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:04 AM
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dilemma88, I'd suggest you take up a 3 year degree first for the following reasons:

1. Many people change their courses half way through their studies because they have been disillusioned/lost their passion. If you think law is for you, go ahead.

2. You would gain an additional 2 years of working experience if you studied 3 years instead of 5. I did my undergrad and masters (5 years in total) and found that much of what you have learnt at school is pretty much 'useless'. I learned a whole lot more in the first 6 months of my job than at my first 3 years at uni.

3. Financial implications - Don't forget about opportunity costs. You would be losing about $80,000k in income (assuming you hold a normal job) over 2 years + an additional 2 years worth of intl student debt.

4. As for banking, are you refering to investment banking? If so, what matters most, at analyst level, is your GPA + school name + networking. Unfortunately, I don't think UNSW quite makes the cut in terms of elite schools if you are looking to work at Goldman/JPM/Morgan Stanley. But its still definetely doable if you manage to score > 6.75/7.0 HDs in your undergrad.
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Old 16-07-2011, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
dilemma88, I'd suggest you take up a 3 year degree first for the following reasons:

1. Many people change their courses half way through their studies because they have been disillusioned/lost their passion. If you think law is for you, go ahead.

2. You would gain an additional 2 years of working experience if you studied 3 years instead of 5. I did my undergrad and masters (5 years in total) and found that much of what you have learnt at school is pretty much 'useless'. I learned a whole lot more in the first 6 months of my job than at my first 3 years at uni.

3. Financial implications - Don't forget about opportunity costs. You would be losing about $80,000k in income (assuming you hold a normal job) over 2 years + an additional 2 years worth of intl student debt.

4. As for banking, are you refering to investment banking? If so, what matters most, at analyst level, is your GPA + school name + networking. Unfortunately, I don't think UNSW quite makes the cut in terms of elite schools if you are looking to work at Goldman/JPM/Morgan Stanley. But its still definetely doable if you manage to score > 6.75/7.0 HDs in your undergrad.
=========================================

Agreed with the points above.


Additonal points I add:
5) Do seek feedback from the past graduating batch (with similar combo) who had returned to SG. How are they faring? Where are they working now etc. [Why? Because the likelyhood they they are paid more or doubled salary are far and few. You can take the published starting salary for new lawyer as a baseline. I last recall it's in the range of $5.5K]

6) Do your basic 3yr commence degree. [Less risks. Financially and maturing of YOUR plans]. You can always APPLY to SMU for a placing Juris Doctor (JD - Law degree); when you are more established/grounded.
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