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Old 02-25-2008, 09:53 PM   #1
_reh
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Default Engineering or Finance?

Hi, I'm one confused individual! I have narrowed my choice of study down to engineering or business. The problem is I am really interested in business and finance but do not really have interest in engineering.

I've got many people who tell me however that it is wiser to get an engineering degree first, since it is a 'professional' degree. After all financial firms do hire people with engineering degrees. Doing a finance degree only however only limits one to finance.

Do finance graduates have an edge over engineering graduates when it comes to jobs in the financial sector? Or is the playing field level for all who come in?

I plan to go into finance eventually. Is it worthwhile to pursue a 4-year course in something which I know I would not do? I'm taking engineering only because it seems like a more 'secure' degree, and it is also possible to take an MBA during postgrad. Any myths to debunk here?

Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
dershing
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hey reh,

u are not alone. I too took up EEE 12 years ago as my mum told me it is an iron rice bowl and many others told me too that as an engineer, we can always do business but a businessman cannot do engineering. So here's my experience.

1) Engineers can make good businessmen. Engineers can also move in finance sector either by joining upon graduation or by studying a Master in Finance. Studying as a engineer gives us a certain rigour of logical thought and problem solving ability. However, it can also give us a lower EQ and push away intuition as part of the decision making process. This is something i learned can be a negative point esp when running your own business and scaling up with management team.

2) Business students can also start a business in an IT or engineering field. Just find a good partner or hire the right technical staff. Branding & Marketing are key skills and assets which are critical to any firm's survival.

3) My work life so far has shown me that a logical mind and problem solving attitude helps a lot. But i have seen many businessmen who are not engineers who have that. I have also seen many engineers who think they can run businesses but are unable to make good use of intuition and EQ to build and manage a good team.

4) Interest matters alot. I was not interested in engineering. So it was tough even to just maintain the 1st class honours grade. If i studied business, i think i would have done even better. So you better take something you are keen on, you will learn a whole lot more and score better too.

5) If you want to climb the management route in some MNC/GLC, being an engineer or business grad makes little diffference. It's work performance.

6) Finance. I suggest major in Finance. Makes more sense.

Just my opinions. To me, study engineering only if you want to R&D or want to do engineering work or if you are keen in the subject and know you have that academic interest.
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Old 02-28-2008, 05:06 PM   #3
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I have to agree with dershing. Taking on an Engineering degree, followed by a Masters (either in Business Administration or Finance) is certainly more prestigious than a BBA or Bachelor in Finance/Commerce.

However, do not let us sway your thoughts! Go with your heart, a popular and stable degree can only bring you so far, but passion will bring you infinite possibilities. Besides, you will definitely do better in something you are more interested in!
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:12 PM   #4
_reh
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Default ddp - engineering and finance

Hi dershing and truewt,

thanks alot for your opinion. I've also considered a double degree in both engineering and business/finance. But i've heard that it is indeed challenging and demanding. Do happen to know of anyone who is taking ddp now and if so how are they doing (as in are they totally stressed out) or sth?
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:44 PM   #5
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Hi _reh,

Sorry but I do not have anyone in any DDPs. I can help you ask around though, because iirc my friend's brother's in Cambridge doing DDP in Engineering and something else. But apparently, from his brother, it is a rather relaxed programme.

But it is important to take note, the education in Singapore is extremely heavy. There's a lot for you to study and work, because I've a ex-classmate in Imperial and basically from her she's on an Accelerated Masters (3 years or 4, can't remember) programme, and she feels that the workload is about the same as a Bachelor degree in Singapore, if not lesser That's a sad fact for us Singaporeans because we're kiasu!
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _reh View Post
Hi dershing and truewt,

thanks alot for your opinion. I've also considered a double degree in both engineering and business/finance. But i've heard that it is indeed challenging and demanding. Do happen to know of anyone who is taking ddp now and if so how are they doing (as in are they totally stressed out) or sth?
Hey there, you could try talking to nanachan on this forum, she should be able to give you lots of useful advice on that.
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Old 08-08-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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If you're dead set on finance, the question is: how ambitious are you?

The best option is to apply into a good US uni. What are your grades like? You do not have to enter Harvard or Princeton. A solid college such as Uni of Chicago will be more than sufficient to secure your future. If you look to the UK, LSE will be the best option. Some say that career placement opportunities at LSE are far better than Oxbridge.

Sorry, let me backtrack abit. The finance industry can be divided into 'quant' jobs and everything else (I am only referring to front-office positions and not ops). 'Quant' positions require alot of math - financial modelling is essential. Think of 'quant' hedge funds like DE Shaw, Renaissance Tech. If you love math (i'm talking multivariable calculus, regression, stochastic analysis), then this is area for you.

Now if for whatever reason you aren't able to study abroad, there are only a few options I can think of. NTU Accountancy, SMU Double Degree (major in Quant Finance if you're up for it), NUS Science (Major in Quant Finance). I don't see any point in doing Engineering because it will not open any doors in finance after you graduate.

Having said that, the chances of a local grad getting into any investment bank are so so slim. On average, there's probably less than 5 from ALL UNIS each year. You really really have to be exceptional in school to first get a summer internship and subsequent interview. That is only the first step. You'll then have to compete with grads from the ivies for a job. I mean most of the recruiters come from top schools anyway so you get my point.

If you insist on doing Engineering, make sure you get very good grades. Make sure your co-curriculars are outstanding. I don't mean joining hall activities which are imo, a total waste of time. Show passion in something. If it is finance, join an investment club or hell, show that you have a knack for it by investing on your own. Why? You'll need all this to get into a top tier MBA program. The thing about the MBA is, you must get into at least the top 10 programs. Otherwise, it's just a tremendous waste of money (90k USD on tuition alone).
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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I agree with dershing and truewt, taking on to engineering degree and afterwards taking a master in either a business administration or a finance is more good than taking BBA or BF/C, but still you should go with what your heart wanted for.... that is the more important...





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Old 02-15-2009, 01:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihatelaw View Post
If you're dead set on finance, the question is: how ambitious are you?

The best option is to apply into a good US uni. What are your grades like? You do not have to enter Harvard or Princeton. A solid college such as Uni of Chicago will be more than sufficient to secure your future. If you look to the UK, LSE will be the best option. Some say that career placement opportunities at LSE are far better than Oxbridge.

Sorry, let me backtrack abit. The finance industry can be divided into 'quant' jobs and everything else (I am only referring to front-office positions and not ops). 'Quant' positions require alot of math - financial modelling is essential. Think of 'quant' hedge funds like DE Shaw, Renaissance Tech. If you love math (i'm talking multivariable calculus, regression, stochastic analysis), then this is area for you.

Now if for whatever reason you aren't able to study abroad, there are only a few options I can think of. NTU Accountancy, SMU Double Degree (major in Quant Finance if you're up for it), NUS Science (Major in Quant Finance). I don't see any point in doing Engineering because it will not open any doors in finance after you graduate.

Having said that, the chances of a local grad getting into any investment bank are so so slim. On average, there's probably less than 5 from ALL UNIS each year. You really really have to be exceptional in school to first get a summer internship and subsequent interview. That is only the first step. You'll then have to compete with grads from the ivies for a job. I mean most of the recruiters come from top schools anyway so you get my point.

If you insist on doing Engineering, make sure you get very good grades. Make sure your co-curriculars are outstanding. I don't mean joining hall activities which are imo, a total waste of time. Show passion in something. If it is finance, join an investment club or hell, show that you have a knack for it by investing on your own. Why? You'll need all this to get into a top tier MBA program. The thing about the MBA is, you must get into at least the top 10 programs. Otherwise, it's just a tremendous waste of money (90k USD on tuition alone).
This guiy knows what he is talking.

MOD Ashearo Edit: Please do not post unless you have something constructive to add.

Last edited by Ashearo; 02-15-2009 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencer View Post
This guiy knows what he is talking.

MOD Ashearo Edit: Please do not post unless you have something constructive to add.
This guy is right on the spot on how local unis cannot get you into investment banking. Uni grads from unknown/regional unis like NUS and SMU are naturally destined for the back office, because that's what they are capable of. In parallel there are also regional unis in France that fits into BO, regional unis in the UK like Brunel that fits into the BOs. What's so offensive about it?

At least, people from my school who apply for banks have no problem at all getting interviews with investment banks at all. In London, your applications are layered. Those people from targets are interviewed first, sorted automatically using the app form. Most of the time vaccines are filled without even printing the applications out from the non targets. They won't even reach teh CV book stage.

We don't want people from bad names to do stupid things and taint the reputation of our bank. Those people who work for BO are naturally onyl capable of working for BO. No sour grape here.
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