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Choose your Instrument; An Overview of Schulich Specializations

Jennifer Chung, BBA 2017

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It is never too early to start mapping out your journey at Schulich and begin exploring the many specializations available. While many of your fellow classmates may tread down the ever so popular paths of accounting, finance or marketing, perhaps you will seek a path less travelled. Perhaps you may even wander down two separate paths and specialize in two vastly different subject areas. Whatever you choose, it is important that you take in all that Schulich has to offer prior to making an educated decision. As your research prior to selecting Schulich may have indicated, the program offers ten distinct specializations. In the interest of preventing this article from becoming a lullaby, each specialization will be touched on only briefly – should you wish to learn more, fear not, for the information is easily accessible on the Schulich website. Or, if you prefer some old school human interaction, help is just a stone’s throw away in the Career Development Centre on the second floor.

One of the most popular specializations at Schulich is, you guessed it, Accounting. Many of you probably already have your heart set on a career as a CPA, no doubt due to the clever marketing tactics employed by the Chartered Accountants of Ontario (if none of you have heard of the Guide to Ruling the World, I shall eat the paper this article is printed on). Often touted as the language of business, Accounting is a subject that has applications in all organizations and does not necessarily dictate your career path. Many accountants have gone on to become CFOs, CEOs, consultants, lawyers, and much more. So if you are interested in the versatility and stability of accounting, or somehow develop an irrational love for the subject, this may be the specialization for you. However, if you are more interested in persuading others of the wonders of the business world, perhaps Marketing is a better suited specialization. Schulich’s marketing stream emphasizes real world application and will help you understand marketing strategy and tactics. As a finance major, I can promise no bias when I say there are a wide variety of fascinating marketing courses offered at Schulich. The final well-known/popular specialization is Finance, which focuses on company planning, forecasting, and management. If investing has ever piqued your interest, consider specializing in Finance – if you are interested but unsure, use FINE2000 to get your feet wet and if you do not run away screaming, Finance may be for you.

A great specialization offered at Schulich is Economics, which will help you understand the market and social interactions of various entities in a global environment. This is also another subject area with vast applications, allowing you to pursue jobs in finance, consulting, public policy, etc. Operations Management and Information Systems is another great specialization to pursue for those who enjoy the technological side of business, as it achieves that fine balance of theory and technical skills. This specialization equips you with skills like VBA and Microsoft Access, but also teaches you how to help your future organization operate more effectively and efficiently. The Strategic Management specialization develops your critical thinking, while teaching you how to identify and analyze the external and internal environment surrounding an organization. If you dream of becoming a consultant one day, or determining the best course of action in running a business, this specialization would equip you with the knowledge and skills to excel in that position.

While there are the obvious specializations that will place you on the right path to your dream career (i.e. accounting for aspiring CPAs or finance for future investment bankers) there are some specializations available that can complement your degree regardless of the specialization. A prime example of such a specialization is Organization Studies, which can stand alone to help launch a career in Human Resources, or combine with another specialization to build hard/soft skills and general management competencies. Entrepreneurship is an ideal specialization for those individuals that dream of being their own boss either in the near or distant future. However, do not overlook the Entrepreneurship specialization as a great path for the budding intrapraneur (an individual who pursues new opportunities in existing organizations). Responsible Business is a great avenue growing in popularity in businesses across the globe. This specialization is of particular interest to those wishing to equip themselves with the skills needed to succeed in a world where businesses are expected to produce more than solely profit. The final specialization is International Business, a branch of Schulich which is becoming ever more relevant in our increasingly global world. Often misconstrued as the specialization for iBBAs, the Certificate in Managing International Trade and Investment is open to students in both programs and is a great supplement to any specialization (not to mention it will be recognized on your transcript). Given that most companies are multinationals with global market/trade exposure (unless that are now headquartered in Britain), the applications are endless. Detailed requirements for this, and all other certificates and specializations, can be found on the Schulich website.

Before you choose your path and start racing for the finish line, take a moment to stop and smell the roses; perhaps there is a course that is offered by a different specialization that you would like to take and, in the future, emphasize to recruiters to demonstrate your well-rounded education. Think of your specialization like a musical instrument: while your role in the band might be on one instrument, you can always improve by exploring other instruments. At times like these, it is important to remember that the goal is the best education for you – so go ahead, take that VBA or personal finance course. Despite the fact that it may not count towards your specialization, it will help you succeed nonetheless.

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