Get ready to make the leap into business
By now you should be across the wide variety of roles in this profession. So it's time to sharpen the focus on your goal and how you'll get there.
Being prepared to study at university and making the right choices are two important final steps in reaching your career goals. From the hints and tips below, create a To Do list, add these tasks into your Career Action Plan, implement your plan and then you'll be ready to make the leap.
Preparing to study at university
Being in business is very hands-on, so studying Business at uni is focused on giving you practical skills, as well as teaching you the important business principles you'll need to apply in your business profession. You'll be studying with like-minded people who will be your future business colleagues (or competitors). This can be the beginning of your future business network, so practice your networking skills and you'll make lifetime friendships.
Most university courses offer industry placements, internships, business challenge programs or other practical exposure to the world of business. Employers prefer applicants who have some real-world experience, so seek out and apply for these programs as part of your university experience.
Focus on your needs and preferences. Most University courses offer some flexible study options, such as evening lectures if you work full-time, or an extra Summer semester if you want to fast-track your study.
Many business professionals choose to do further study to refresh and extend their qualifications, so go into study with the idea that lifelong learning and professional development will be part of your career plan.
Making the right choices
Things to consider when choosing a course
- What does the course cover?
- What core and elective subjects are available?
- What business specialisations are taught in later years at each university? Not all courses offer all specialisations in years 2 and 3, so if you want to study a particular area of business, make sure the choice is available in the course you choose.
- What flexibility is available to transfer from one course or business discipline to another, in case you find you're not enjoying your first choice?
- If your preferred career requires more than one specialisation, e.g. business and marketing, or accounting and IT, which course combines these, or lets you study more than one specialisation as a second major?
Can you combine business degree with another degree (for example, a Law, Arts, or Science degree)?
A double degree:
- will broaden your expertise, give you an edge in the job market and more flexible employment options;
- is usually completed in a shorter time and at less total cost than studying for two consecutive single degrees.
- If you are short of time, or in a hurry to get going in business, are there intensive courses (where units are done full time for a number of weeks – rather than across a whole semester/ trimester)?
- If you have decided on a specialised career, will the course you are choosing help you get the accreditations required (e.g. Accounting CPA)?
- If travel or living away from home is a problem, what distance study options are available, e.g. online learning?
- University is more than just the study – universities are great social environments where you can make lifelong friends, so when looking at universities also consider the added extras like societies and clubs.
- You can also expand your horizons by studying abroad for a semester in many university courses. If that appeals, check what is possible in the courses you are considering.
- If you have special needs, check out the student support services offered.
Making the most of Open Day
University Open Days are a great opportunity for you to get a feel for a university. As well as getting to know the campus, you have the chance to meet current students, find out more about the courses you are interested in and learn about any clubs and societies at the university.
Go along with a list prepared questions. Try to talk to the faculty staff who actually teach the course you're interested in and the students currently undertaking it.
To make the most of Open Days, download the Open Day Hints and Checklist [PDF 100Kb] and consider the following:
- Plan well ahead. Decide which Open Days to attend, based on the Universities you are seriously considering as a preference.
- Remember it might be a weekend commitment. Consider your travel times and any accommodation needs, to maximise your time at the event.
- As well as the questions in our Open Day Hints and Checklist, write a list of your own questions to ask on the day.
Final checklist, then it’s time to apply
Tick off these last few items and you'll be ready to leap into uni:
- when choosing a course, think about how you’ll get to the campus;
- if you need different learning options, to fit study in with work, does it offer these;
- is there flexibility to change courses or disciplines if you change your mind;
- with a wide range of courses on offer, different ATARs will apply to different courses. If you don’t think you'll get the ATAR you need for your first choice, look for other business courses that may be available with a lower ATAR. Transferring back to your preferred course later on, if you are doing well, may be possible;
- when offered a place in a course, make sure you follow the right steps to accept your offer and follow the university enrolment steps, which should be outlined to you with your offer.
Study pathways are not always smooth. There may be problems or barriers which you will have to overcome. There are many people you can talk to about any issues you have while studying (including counsellors, academics and administration staff). These are some common barriers that students experience:
...I’ve completed the prerequisite subjects but my ATAR score isn’t high enough for the course I want?
- Check the middle-band entry consideration for your course as it may enable you to get in. Alternatively, you could begin a similar degree with a lower ATAR at the same university, or a different one, and look to transfer into your desired degree later on.
...I complete VCE and get the ATAR for my preferred course, but I did not complete the pre-requisite VCE subjects?
- Most universities will allow you to take a bridging subject or might offer you a competency exam. Contact the university you wish to apply for, to find out what they recommend.
...I’m interested in studying at uni but I haven’t got the marks and am unsure if I could even handle the material?
- Some universities allow for “single subject study” where you can study a single subject from a course. Then depending on your results you can potentially be offered a spot in the full course.
...I find that the course or university I chose isn't for me?
- Once you are in the university system, it is often possible to transfer from one course or university to another. Speak to an academic advisor about your transfer options and what credits you may get for relevant subjects already completed.
...I didn’t finish Year 12 but am now really interested in studying engineering?
- Some universities have “tertiary enabling programs” which allow entry into tertiary study. Alternatively, you could study a diploma course at TAFE and use this as a stepping stone to get into university.
...I'm doing a diploma course but decide I really want to get a degree ?
- If you do well enough in your subjects, it’s possible that you could transfer from the diploma to the bachelor degree course. You may even get credits for relevant subjects completed. You will need to talk to someone in the future students area of the university offering the degree course you want to do, to see what your options are.
LEAP Partner Universities - from here, you can follow links to our partner universities' LEAP landing pages, for direct access to info about each university, their courses, scholarships, student support services, pathways options and other useful information.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand has a section for High School students, with a range of info about the profession, events, scholarships, cadetships, study tips, competitions and the opportunity to join as a student affiliate, which gives you "access to high profile events with Australia's top employers, practical career advice and information on upcoming job opportunities" and more...
Students - Beyond School has lots relevant information about the world of work, work experience, career planning, pathways and development, and occupations for secondary school students. (Victorian Government site)
Study Assist helps school students and their families understand what support they are eligible for if pursuing higher education, based on a range of study options available to them. (Australian Government site)
My Future has a guide to career development, to education beyond Year 12, videos by professionals and interactive career quizzes. My Future also has a new myfuture forum, a tool allowing you to talk to people working in a range of industries. (Australian Government site)
Bullseye posters - School subjects you like and jobs they can lead to. (Australian Government site)
Job Outlook is a careers and labour market research information site to help individuals decide on their future career. (Australian Government site)
My Skills - Online information about vocational education and training options. (Australian Government site)
Good Universities Guide - Online careers guide.