With a bachelor's degree in commerce (BCom) gradually emerging as the most-preferred choice of students, colleges and universities of the region are now adding seats to accommodate the growing number of aspirants.
Students are increasingly lapping up various innovative courses that have been designed around the BCom curricula and college authorities report that they have noticed a steady rise in demand for courses like BCom (Professional), BCom (Accounting and Finance), BCom (Pass), BCom (Hons).
Demand for a BCom course is higher in government colleges as well as private institutions. The demand fuels need for infrastructure as well.
"There is rise in BCom aspirants in the region," admits a senior teacher of commerce stream. He said the demand for MBA graduates in the corporate sector has come down as they demand higher salary. "The mad race for any course is not a healthy trend as one can learn a lesson from reduced demand for MBA graduates in the market now. It can happen to BCom graduates too. A balance should be maintained in sanctioning intake for courses," he added.
Bikramjit Singh Sandhu, head of SGPC-run Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, who was appointed in the college in 1993, said BCom graduates are preferred everywhere, from sales jobs to corporate sector.
"There will always remain demand for them. Companies are now absorbing them in larger numbers. A BCom graduate can fit into any profile," he said, adding that nearly 630 students were enrolled in his college last year and the figure is expected to touch 730 this time.
Sandhu added that BCom (Professional) is most sought after and many students having more than 90% marks choose this stream.
Talking about the reason behind the increased demand for these courses, a Sirhind-based successful businessman, Rishi Puri, who did his BCom around 20 years ago said, "Nowadays students look for courses, which offer better employment prospects. Courses like BCom have very wide scope when it comes to job opportunities." He said parents allow freedom to children to decide their career and this is also one of the factors for a rise in demand for commerce courses.
SGPC-run Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib, this year started BCom (Professional) and MCom (Professional) courses. According to vice-chancellor Gurmohan Singh Walia, the university has started several new courses to cater to the demand of students.
Mata Gujri College, which is first autonomous college of Punjab to start BCom course in 1990 now offers BCom (Professional), BCom (Accounting and Finance), BCom (Pass), BCom (Hons), MCom and MCom (Finance) courses.
Not only BCom but a post graduate course in commerce is also well received by students. MCom (Finance) is a new course introduced from 2013-14 session by Punjabi University on the campus last year. This year, Mata Gujri College has also started the course.
Mandi Gobindgarh-based commerce lecturer RK Sharma, who is posted in a government school, said students who scored good marks in science stream and humanities, are also applying for commerce courses.
He added that the commerce field has vast opportunities in marketing, banking and teaching fields. Increasing job prospects in teaching, industry, finance and banking-related sectors and being less expensive courses as compared to other have made commerce a frontrunner among students and parents.
Commerce stream provides bright future and lucrative jobs, which is a major factor for students to choose this stream.
A commerce teacher, Harjeet Kaur, said gone are the days when computer science and management courses were the only options that students considered a ticket to employment and a career. If recent trends are to be believed, students are reposing tremendous faith in commerce courses as an option, right from the pre-university level to undergraduate courses.