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Business vs Engineering Degree

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Old 14-11-2011, 06:44 PM
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Default Business vs Engineering Degree

Hi guys, I've just completed NS and am about to enroll into university next year. Thing is, I have offers from SMU Business as well as NUS Engineering and I'm in quite a dilemma. I am looking to working for an investment banking firm as I like the environment and the fast-paced nature of the job (this is based on what I read and hear from friends who are in the industry)

My mom (currently a senior sales manager at a computer systems company) strongly advises me to go through the "engineering" route. That is, graduate an engineer and apply for jobs in the i-banking sector. She reasons that engineers are preferred by such banks for their "analytical" skills as a result of their training, in comparison to Business students who are not as adequately(?) trained. This advise is also echoed by most of the working adults I consult (both in i-banking and related industries). I am also warned against taking up a "non-specialised/professional degree".

I am inclined towards taking a Business degree (or even an Economics one) because it is more relevant than what I want to do in the future, but I am still very unsure after taking heed of all these advice.

So uh, this is going out to all investment bankers as well as my future employers, how do engineering graduates fare against business school graduates in terms of employability? Does taking a business degree give a significant headstart in the industry, or do employers really prefer engine grads for their supposedly better analytical skills?

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Old 14-11-2011, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wootnick View Post
Hi guys, I've just completed NS and am about to enroll into university next year. Thing is, I have offers from SMU Business as well as NUS Engineering and I'm in quite a dilemma. I am looking to working for an investment banking firm as I like the environment and the fast-paced nature of the job (this is based on what I read and hear from friends who are in the industry)

My mom (currently a senior sales manager at a computer systems company) strongly advises me to go through the "engineering" route. That is, graduate an engineer and apply for jobs in the i-banking sector. She reasons that engineers are preferred by such banks for their "analytical" skills as a result of their training, in comparison to Business students who are not as adequately(?) trained. This advise is also echoed by most of the working adults I consult (both in i-banking and related industries). I am also warned against taking up a "non-specialised/professional degree".

I am inclined towards taking a Business degree (or even an Economics one) because it is more relevant than what I want to do in the future, but I am still very unsure after taking heed of all these advice.

So uh, this is going out to all investment bankers as well as my future employers, how do engineering graduates fare against business school graduates in terms of employability? Does taking a business degree give a significant headstart in the industry, or do employers really prefer engine grads for their supposedly better analytical skills?
get engineering degree then MBA from smu!!!

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Old 14-11-2011, 07:48 PM
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I would recommend:

take economic degree from SMU/NTU/NUS
or
engineering degree from NUS then MBA from SMU!!!

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Old 14-11-2011, 08:01 PM
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Here is advice from a local grad who have worked in IB roles for a US Investment bank and currently for another overseas BB.

I have an accountancy degree whereas my colleagues have diverse degrees from Engineering to History.

The more important thing to do is to pick a course that you can do well in. Because to get into such roles you are usually the top 1% in whatever field you choose to study. (generally speaking)

Whichever field you study, bear in mind that you should be at least familiarised with basic accounting / finance concepts. This may mean electing for additional courses in the Uni or doing a supplementary CFA.

In short, choose the field that you will do well in. Which usually means the field that you are naturally inclined at and which you are genuinely interested in. To me, engineering is tougher than finance to score well. Maybe just my preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wootnick View Post
Hi guys, I've just completed NS and am about to enroll into university next year. Thing is, I have offers from SMU Business as well as NUS Engineering and I'm in quite a dilemma. I am looking to working for an investment banking firm as I like the environment and the fast-paced nature of the job (this is based on what I read and hear from friends who are in the industry)

My mom (currently a senior sales manager at a computer systems company) strongly advises me to go through the "engineering" route. That is, graduate an engineer and apply for jobs in the i-banking sector. She reasons that engineers are preferred by such banks for their "analytical" skills as a result of their training, in comparison to Business students who are not as adequately(?) trained. This advise is also echoed by most of the working adults I consult (both in i-banking and related industries). I am also warned against taking up a "non-specialised/professional degree".

I am inclined towards taking a Business degree (or even an Economics one) because it is more relevant than what I want to do in the future, but I am still very unsure after taking heed of all these advice.

So uh, this is going out to all investment bankers as well as my future employers, how do engineering graduates fare against business school graduates in terms of employability? Does taking a business degree give a significant headstart in the industry, or do employers really prefer engine grads for their supposedly better analytical skills?


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Old 14-11-2011, 08:14 PM
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SMU grooms students to work in banks. Even if you are average, you still get a good chance. On the other hand, NUS / NTU engineering courses groom their students to be engineers and only a handful of the creme de la creme get into banking.

The people whom you mix with also matter. In SMU, you get to meet more like-minded people and you can definitely learn from one another.

If you can afford it and are capable enough, do an MBA in the world's best MBA schools after you graduate locally, maybe after accumulating 1-2 years of work experience.


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Old 14-11-2011, 09:46 PM
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Your mom is almost right. But from what you have just said, I think you should go for a business degree. Otherwise you would go through a very torturous period in engineering school. All the super difficult math, wonderful engineering projects, complex computer programming, etc, all going to waste the day you finish your last exam after several years. It's a waste of tax payers' money, your family money and your life. Then you have to invest more on accounting, finance and business courses. And there is something more which your mom probably didn't experience in her time - the biz students go for internship program with banks (the good ones may go to top banks and earn 5k or more as interns) and would have establish better resumes and contacts than you. Finally, schools like SMU have relevant internship program, organize employers/students networking sessions and interview program for their students. In short, unless you are a going to engineering school in MIT/Stanford/UC Berkeley or your mom can get you a banking/finance job when you graduate (is your mom part of the Lee dynasty?), forget it.
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Old 14-11-2011, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wootnick View Post
Hi guys, I've just completed NS and am about to enroll into university next year. Thing is, I have offers from SMU Business as well as NUS Engineering and I'm in quite a dilemma. I am looking to working for an investment banking firm as I like the environment and the fast-paced nature of the job (this is based on what I read and hear from friends who are in the industry)

My mom (currently a senior sales manager at a computer systems company) strongly advises me to go through the "engineering" route. That is, graduate an engineer and apply for jobs in the i-banking sector. She reasons that engineers are preferred by such banks for their "analytical" skills as a result of their training, in comparison to Business students who are not as adequately(?) trained. This advise is also echoed by most of the working adults I consult (both in i-banking and related industries). I am also warned against taking up a "non-specialised/professional degree".

I am inclined towards taking a Business degree (or even an Economics one) because it is more relevant than what I want to do in the future, but I am still very unsure after taking heed of all these advice.

So uh, this is going out to all investment bankers as well as my future employers, how do engineering graduates fare against business school graduates in terms of employability? Does taking a business degree give a significant headstart in the industry, or do employers really prefer engine grads for their supposedly better analytical skills?
Which course you should take depends strongly on which cum laude or honors you expect.

Investment banking takes in mostly the creme de la creme (although there may be other factors like family background) because for ordinary folks the most important thing that gets you an interview is your academic results otherwise your application goes straight into the waste basket together with thousand others.

If you expect to graduate summa cum laude then the most direct route to investment banking would be business, rather than engineering because that puts you at a disadvantage against equally academically brilliant graduates with business and finance background.

On the other hand if you are just an average student who expect to get one of those other cum laudes or second class degrees, then it is better to take up engineering because as an engineer you can come to this forum and whine every day that you would have gotten into investment banking if you had (although in reality you wouldn't any way even if you had) studied business, and go through life hallucinating that you are of investment banker material if not for a wrong choice of degree.

Whereas being a business graduate doesn't give you whining rights about not getting into investment banking although 99% of business graduates don't even reach anywhere near the front office.
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Old 14-11-2011, 11:43 PM
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My friend, your choice is a no brainer:

Option1 Engineering course:
(1) 4 years long degree course
(2) Long hours of lectures, tutorials and classes, averaging at least 40 hours a week
(3) Surrounded by nerdy guys (are you not sick of this after 2 years of NS in this environment???)
(4) More expensive fees
(5) Campus is either in ulu Jurong for NTU or clementi for NUS
(6) Upon graduation, work place is likely to be some ulu factory in Tuas, dress in overalls and rubbing shoulders with foreign technicians


Option2 Business course:
(1) Direct 3 years honours degree
(2)Short 16 hours study week, with abundant time to relax or chase skirts
(3)Surrounded by young, good-looking gals
(4) Lower fees
(5) Campus is at the heart of downtown for SMU
(6) Upon graduation, work place is almost certainly at swanky office towers in raffles place, dress in power suits and rub shoulders with smart, nubile young office gals

I would choose option 2 unless I am crazy.....
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Old 15-11-2011, 12:57 AM
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damn you guys are awesome with the responses thanks so much!

@Wiseman1:

Haha while Business seems like an easy 16 hour work week, there are alot of projects and presentations that will add on to the hours. I know this because my friends in the course are facing with a heavy backlog of projects on top of their exams. So I suppose the hours are comparable to that of an engine student?

As far as I know only NTU has a 3 years honors programme. For SMU it's 4 but I have heard stories of people condensing all their modules into 2.5 years, at the expense of all other rest time.

You're right about the girls though.. haha..

@local grad doing IB dude:

Well I should consider what I do best then and enroll into that. You're right in a way, no point doing something I'm bad at even if it's a "good" degree because that isn't what employers want anyway.

MBA wise, I think I'll draw a study loan or beg my parents for money to sign up for one immediately after I graduate. Should take advantage of my sharpened mind after 4 years of education huh?
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Old 15-11-2011, 08:55 AM
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I was in engineering (poly) then made the switch to a business degree after my NS, and I had not looked back since. Right now I am doing IT management and am contemplating an IT masters.
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