For many prospective students, university is the chance to study in depth something they’re passionate about. While school gives us a broad and varied education, higher education gives us the chance to truly specialise. Some will study purely for passion while others have a definite career in mind. Unfortunately, for some students, their choices can mean they become the butt of other students’ jokes.
Stereotypes exist across a host of degree areas. For those studying Maths, Accountancy and Finance the main preconception they have to deal with is that they’re a bore. Both in the workplace and the classroom there is a long held idea that Maths is boring and that, by proxy, those who study it are too.
To get an understanding of how these degrees are currently perceived, financial broker Spread Co spoke to some recent graduates and asked them to share some of the comments they’d received from colleagues and peers on their degree choice.
Students from a range of courses including Accountancy and Business & Management were interviewed. All of the graduates they spoke to were in full employment but even then had to deal with some quite personal questioning. One graduate was asked “Won’t you want to kill yourself doing that 9-5?”and another received questions including “You just add up, how hard can it be?” While these questions may seem initially harmless, it shows a lack of understanding of the well-rounded individuals these students are.
To help fight the stigma they received, the graduates were also encouraged to respond to their inquisitors and tell them about something they’d done they were proud of. As you would expect, all of the students gave fantastic responses to their critics with one graduate telling how they’d just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and another telling them that they’d just recently become the youngest partner in their company’s history. The full image campaign can be viewed here.
While there is inevitably more that we can do to dispel myths like these, thankfully for universities, prospective students don’t seem to be put off. In fact, 2015 saw more applications than ever to courses in the subject area with an extra 2,500 applications, around a 6% rise from 2014’s figures. There was in fact only a 1% rise in overall applications, meaning for Maths and Accounting to see such an increase in applicants is testament to the fact that many students are recognising the value of having such a degree.
With increasing pressure for students in such a volatile job market it seems that many people are choosing more traditional, vocational courses with direct job routes. There are huge benefits to the working in finance too, with starting salaries for accountants for example around £4,000 more than the average for graduates in their first roles from other backgrounds. While studying, courses in these areas also have a much higher percentage of international and overseas students than other courses meaning those studying are exposed to cultures from all over the world. With the business market increasingly more international, this is a big advantage for students.
When deciding on your course of study, don’t pay attention to other people’s perceptions of your subject area. Each course is full of a wide range of people from different backgrounds, with varied abilities and interests bringing a new perspective to ideas. Accountancy and Finance are the backbone of every business across the globe, from independent start-ups to major corporations, making it a highly desired degree when positions become available. Rather than perpetuating preconceptions, we should celebrate those with the passion and determination to study the subject they love.
Guest blogger – Daniel Yeo – Search Laboratory