Life beyond Maths 1: Do commerce degrees = better job prospects?

THE majority of students enrolled in Trinity College Foundation Studies (TCFS) take Maths 1 as an elective subject. What are some pathways you can choose after Foundation Studies? TCFS students Ethan Duan and Steven Chen report.


The Bachelor of Commerce degree remains the top choice for students enrolled in the Trinity College Foundation Studies (TCFS) program, with more than 94 per cent of students from this year’s February Main intake enrolled in Maths 1 and an estimated 80 per cent of them intending on pursuing a commerce degree.

The 2014 February Main TCFS intake has seen 576 out of 611 students taking Maths 1. It is estimated that 80 per cent of them intend to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce in the University of Melbourne, according to Maths 1 subject leader Dr Raymond Broeksteeg.

According to enrolment figures from June this year, international students in management and commerce make up more than half the university’s cohort.

Dr Broeksteeg notes that in the 1990s, nearly all students enrolled in Maths 1 would progress to the University of Melbourne’s commerce faculty. In recent years however, students may choose to enrol in science, environments or biomedicine instead.

Dr Broeksteeg added that each year, no more than 20 students might drop math 1 in the middle of the semester 1. Generally, the failure rate averages out at five per cent.

TCFS Maths 1 subject leader Dr Raymond Broeksteeg. Photo: Steven Chen

TCFS Maths 1 subject leader Dr Raymond Broeksteeg. Photo: Steven Chen

For students looking to be enrol in a Bachelor of Commerce degree in the University of Melbourne, a high score for Maths 1 is necessary as advanced mathematical skills are important as the course progresses.

If students do not do well in Maths 1, yet have a high score for the rest of their subjects, the University may still provide a conditional offer, according to Ms Kelly Owen from Trinity College Careers and Further Studies Office.

Trinity College Careers and Further Studies Office  staff Ms Jo Doyle and Ms Kelly Owen. Photo: Steven Chen

Trinity College Careers and Further Studies Office staff Ms Jo Doyle and Ms Kelly Owen. Photo: Steven Chen

Ms Owen and Ms Jo Doyle, who also works in Trinity College’s Careers and Further Studies Office, believe the Bachelor of Commerce course is extremely popular as international students think it is much easier to gain employment with a Commerce degree in hand.

Additionally, Ms Owen notes that international students may view commerce as a “stable career”.

However, Ms Doyle disagrees.

“It is not sustainable. A growing economy needs engineers, social workers and hospital workers, not just people who work in business,” she said.

Ms Owen added that limited jobs available to commerce graduates could lead to market saturation.

Therefore, both Ms Owen and Ms Doyle recommend that students expand on their communication skills and get involved by volunteering with various organisations, and take part in internship programs where possible.

Communication skills are vital especially if students are looking to work with Australian organisations and banks upon graduation.

Internship programs offered by reputable companies can help students gain relevant work experience, which will in turn be useful when applying for full-time work.

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