BCom versus economics?

For many students the choice between economics and commerce is a tough one. Garima Upadhyay outlines some parameters to help you make the right decision
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Updated on Jun 28, 2011 05:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By Garima Upadhyay, New Delhi

Even at a time of the chaos caused by sky-high cut-off marks, there are a few students who are spoilt for choice. Meet Sugandha Ranjan. With a score of 96.75% (best of four), she couldn’t decide between economics (hons) and BCom (hons). The confusion was sparked primarily because she wanted to pursue economics, but couldn’t make it to any of the top colleges with that score. So, she settled for BCom (hons) at Shri Ram College of Commerce. “Accountancy has been my plus point, and that was one of the major factors that influenced my decision. Although in the second list I made it to some of the best colleges for economics, by then I had made up my mind about BCom (hons) and didn’t reconsider my decision. Now, I am just waiting for college to begin,” says a focused Ranjan.

Like her, there are many aspirants who find it hard to make the choice between economics and BCom (hons). The facts that both programmes attract commerce students aplenty, have a reputation of being the most sought-after and are counted among the toughest in Delhi University, add to their charm. So, what is it exactly that must be your guiding light in deciding which programme is right for you? Blame it on the seeming similarities between the courses. But one informed glance at the distinctions can help resolve the dilemma.

Among the differences, the first and most prominent is that BCom (hons) is an amalgam while economics is a specialised field of study. While the former is a combination of subjects such as accountancy, law, finance, economics etc, the latter focuses on analysis, making the perfect choice with limited resources, quantitative learning, in short, is more about applied learning.

Jayesh Adeshra, associate professor, department of economics, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, says, “It is the degree of interest you might have for the subject matter. Your aptitude, attitude, marks, and inclination towards the subjects taught within each course should determine your choice of course. If management, finance, India’s economy and allied fields interest you, then you should consider studying economics, whereas if your interest lies in accountancy, law and finance, you should settle for BCom (hons). You are pursuing a career, and these three years will provide the foundation for it.”

Remember a wrong subject will soon become a burden, as it did in the case of Aamir Ahmed, a recent economics (hons) graduate from Sri Venkateswara College.

“The course is very good and demands a lot from students in terms of hard work and diligence. However, in my case, by the end of the second year, I was fed up... I took it up after Class 12 after scoring very well in economics but the subject matter turned out to be pretty different from what I had envisioned it to be. Later, I developed an interest in business and now would like to pursue it further. The only thing I’d like to say to aspirants is that, marks can be deceiving and misleading; don’t determine your course solely based on your score. Your choice must reflect your interest in the subject matter and your aptitude. Do your homework well, speak to people pursuing the course, take guidance from teachers, do your SWOT analysis and then conclude.”

While both disciplines fare similarly on various grounds, BCom (hons) does relatively better when it comes to placements. “At the graduate level, BCom (hons) students gain an edge over their economics counterparts as far as placements go. While an economics student’s scope is limited to core economics and allied fields, a BCom (hons) student fits well in various domains. Economics students find placements in sectors like finance, international trade, diplomatic industrial relations and banking. Organisations that cater to trade, managing people, office and goods provide an option for BCom (hons) students to work in.

Sectors like management, banking, law along with professional courses like chartered accountancy and company secretary are also open to them,” informs Adeshra.

So, while you weigh the pros and cons of making the choice, ensure that you pay special attention to your interest, aptitude and future options after completing either programme.

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