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Australian Commerce/Law combined degree holder salary

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-01-2011, 04:03 AM
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Default Australian Commerce/Law combined degree holder salary


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 it 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 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 Singapore. 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.

I aspire to work in the Banking industry, or even become a corporate lawyer and I think that a commerce/law degree is as valuable as it can get.

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

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-01-2011, 10:54 AM
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I work for a global bank in corporate finance and there are tons of lawyers around who never bothered with their bar exam. So, if you plan on being a investment bank lawyer, going to the Oz law school is a decent bet. These IB lawyers also earn a lot, but the hours are really really bad for them. Lots of all nighters. As for the opportunity cost finishing up at 27, I wouldn't worry about it. If you are good, you can earn many times your friends who went the conventional path in a few years. However, if you aren't very driven, the competition is keen, and you won't make it. Ask yourself if you are willing to give everything to a investment banking job, particularly your personal life. Forget about a family and kids until you are in your mid-30s when things might stabilize.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2011, 01:43 AM
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Do you intend to apply for work in Australia with a visa or head back to Singapore?
I'm 22 (23 in July) and just finished a B. Commerce Degree (Double Major: Finance & Banking Law) and honestly the job market in Sydney is tight.
I entered my program as I had an admissions index of 95.15 when I finished schooling at Sydney Boys High in Australia (I could not have afforded a non-government place at the university)
Unless you have already completed a vacation program, or are in a cadetship or internship, it is really difficult securing any role within the finance or banking industries.
I have applied for over twenty advisory and analyst roles with various FIs (all graduate positions) and have only received a handful of interviews and zero acceptances.
In part this is a personal problem of mine, but the fact that I did not get a foot in the interview room eighty percent of the time (with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UNSW) speaks volumes on how the course is valued domestically by employers.
Right now I'm looking into data entry accounting and office administration because there are so little vacant positions in my area of training.
39-42k full-time, but I do not have any other options because my youth allowance is about to run out and I don't want to apply for unemployment benefits.
It's horrible.

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 26-05-2011, 10:17 AM
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I'll keep the advice short.

1)Ditch the commerce degree, do a law degree in 4 yrs (it's still 4 yrs in Aust right?). Be very diligent and motivated during these 4 years. Get a Distinction average at least.

2)Return to Singapore to practise in Corporate law with one of Rajah & Tann, Allen and Gledhill, Wong Partnership etc for 3-5 years. You'll learn everything you need to work in-house during your time here.

3)Venture out to do in-house in your desired investment banking enviroment.

The rationale is that the commerce degree does nothing helpful (in my opinion unless maybe if you major in Accountancy) except to add on 1 yr to your total time spent studying and you'll have an additional 1 year of tution fees and living expenses to account for. I'm assuming your family is not printing money otherwise you would have choosen to go UK instead. If you secure the Distinction average, your pay as a corporate lawyer is per what local law grads received.

The only downside is that you would be behind your peers (by a year) doing law in Singapore by virtue of you having to do the compulsory diploma course when you return.
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