Management courses run by good institutions are in great demand today. As a discipline of study, management courses came to our country a bit late, and mostly we copied it from western countries in the beginning. However, many of the Management topics were covered understudy of Commerce in our country.
Commerce has been a popular stream of education in the country and in many ways is the first among professional courses available. As the economy is expanding and volume of business keeps multiplying, the study of commerce has become more promising. Even when a degree in engineering or technology is a most sought after qualification these days, there is no drop in the popularity of commerce. One major advantage with commerce is that one doesn’t have to spend a lot for studying this subject whereas courses in engineering, medicine, architecture etc. require huge financial cost, more so at private institutions.
However, as in case of any subject, you should choose commerce only if you find the subject interesting and have an aptitude for it. Commerce can be chosen as a stream of study at 10+2 level. If you have been a student of science, you may take admission to a B.Com course after completing 12th standard. Admission to a commerce course is mostly merit-based. Your score in the previous examination will be taken into account to determine your entry to the course. You are not required to go through tests like JEE or NEET needed for entry to many engineering, medical and few other professional courses.
Commerce is mainly concerned with trade and business activities such as the sale of goods and services by the producer to the retailer and the end user. As a commerce student, you will be studying accounting principles, economics, business/investment strategies and topics like these. The subject will enable you to prepare a balance sheet, trading account, profit and loss statements and various other statements depicting the financial health of a business. You will also learn the use of computers in business accounting.
To gain entry to a commerce based career you should have at least a graduate degree in the subject usually known as B.Com.It takes three years to complete this degree. After becoming a commerce graduate, you have a number of options. You may go for Post-Graduation in Commerce (M.Com) which will take another two years. Even if you decide not to pursue M.Com, you have a number of options for further studies as explained below:
Management: Those who are keen to grow into a business management professional, a Postgraduate degree/diploma in Management makes a logical choice.
In many respects, students of commerce will find the course familiar and easy to understand. The course you choose should be full time with the duration of two years and recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). You will be required to choose a specialization in the course. Though most commerce students go for specialization in finance, considering one’s liking one may choose from other options like marketing, operations, HR, information technology etc. New specializations like business analytics are also available at few institutes.
Law: To pursue a bachelor’s degree in law (L.L.B.) you should already be graduate. Your B.Com qualification can be a gateway for a degree in law leading to a legal career. You may choose from 3-year graduate degree programme conducted at Colleges, Universities and Law Schools/Universities. You may start working/pursuing legal practice immediately thereafter but have options to go for post graduation (L.L.M.) or take up a specialized course in law such as corporate law, cyberlaw, etc.
Computer Applications: Many students think that only those who have earlier studied computer or information science can join M.C.A., an acronym for Master of Computer Applications. While commerce graduates are not eligible to apply for M.E. or M.Tech.in computer science, M.C.A is a viable option for them. With knowledge of commerce and computers, such students can take up a high-end career in business computing, software development etc.
Chartered Accountancy: This course is conducted and regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). For this course, it is not necessary to join any College or University on a full-time basis. As decided by ICAI, the course is a combination of self-learning, contact classes, and practical training. It can be joined after 10+2 and passing common proficiency test conducted by ICAI. The course is divided into two partsIntermediate and Final. After completing Final, you may become a member of ICAI which helps in placement of its students. Bachelor of Commerce course can be pursued with CA course and many students go for both together. There is another route to become a CA. Commerce Graduates/Post-Graduates with minimum 55% marks and other Graduates/Post-Graduates with 60% marks may enroll with the Institute for intermediate course first. After completion of this, they have to complete practical training. By completing the final examination the candidate can enroll as a member of ICAI and is designated as a chartered accountant.
Cost Accountancy: This is similar to CA qualification, though the course content is largely different.This course is conducted and regulated by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India which was previously known as Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India. It is suggested to compare the curriculum of Chartered Accountancy and Cost Accountancy and then decide which is more aligned with your career choice.
Chartered Financial Analyst: This is an international certification offered by CFA Institute based in the United States of America and is made available in countries all over the world including India. The CFA Program is meant to provide a strong foundation in advanced investment analysis and portfolio management skills. Graduates may enroll for this self-paced course with varied options. The course is divided into three parts of level I, II & III. Becoming a CFA, may open doors for global careers. With this qualification, you are most likely to have job opportunities in private organizations.
Company Secretary: Company Secretary is also a popular career option for commerce students. The course is conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). Candidates opting for this Course, after completing 10+2 in commerce or equivalent, have to undergo three stages of the course. These stages include Foundation Programme, Executive Programme and Professional Programme. Those who join after passing graduation have to undergo only two stages- Executive and Professional. For both the groups, Professional Programme can be pursued only after clearing the Executive Programme. The Company Secretary course also works on the model of CA course. However, since 2014, ICSI has started a 3 years full-time course for those having graduation with 50% marks or those who have passed the foundation course. This full-time course is conducted at Navi Mumbai and has 50 seats in all.
All big and medium size companies have their accounts departments which absorb commerce graduates to maintain accounts and take care of other related works. There are many more careers suited for commerce students of which, a few have been described below:
Banking: As we all know banks in India, mostly government banks, are recruiting in large numbers and thus there is more possibility for jobseekers here. Banking is a major subject in the curriculum prescribed for Commerce students. Whenever the vacancies are advertised commerce graduates may apply for clerical and officers’ position in public and private sector banks. While graduates from all disciplines are considered eligible to apply in public sector banks, in many cases Private and Cooperative Banks prefer candidates with commerce background though it may not be specifically mentioned in the advertisement for recruitment. In addition to mainstream banking, jobs are also available in merchant banking, investment banking etc.
Stockbroking: In India, the business volume at stock exchanges is increasing as more and more people are investing in shares. Sale and purchase of shares happen through Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) registered stockbrokers. You may join any such stockbroking firm where your job may be dealing with clients’ orders, offering them advice; equity research etc. Such jobs are available mostly in big cities. Many banks also have their broking arms.
Auditing: There are many auditing firms which employ chartered accountants and commerce graduates to carry out audit work or assist their senior auditors. Audit of accounts is mandatory for banks and other listed companies and has to be conducted through recognized audit firms. While few audit firms operate at local or regional level, there are others which work on all India basis and globally.
Teaching: Those with M.Com qualification may opt for a teaching carrier also.They may choose to become a teacher for secondary or higher classes or with management education. Also there are many coaching institutes which help students to prepare for various accounting courses and certifications having input of commerce looking for such teachers.
Consulting: Those with a commerce background and preferably some experience have great opportunities in consulting. There are a number of areas for consulting viz. auditing (advising companies to prepare for audit), income tax, service tax, value added tax etc. With Goods and Services Tax (GST) already in place, there are more opportunities for consultants who specialize in this area. Financial planning is also an area of consulting for which you may choose to join Certified Financial Planner course. One may work as an independent consultant and also have the opportunity to join firms providing consultancy services such as Deloitte, Edelweiss etc. All the above careers are open to CAs, CFAs and Company Secretaries etc. To make an excellent career in commerce, you should have a flair for numbers as most of the time you will be dealing with figures and numbers. Also you should have a logical and analytical bent of mind which will help you in analyzing balance sheets, profit / loss statements and other financial statistics. All these traits can be developed with sincere efforts and hard work.