It wasn’t that hard to take up BCom after 12th. The most popular commerce course of the decade was always a safe bet. But the journey was like going to an ice cream parlor. The shop keeper lets your taste all the flavors. And then asks you to choose the one to buy.
In those 3 years, Bcom taught you so many things. From finance to economics and accounting, it made you a student of all the trades under the commerce field. But now, it’s time to take up what you liked the most.
Unless you are going to take up an entry-level job right after graduation, which I won’t recommend, you will have to find another professional course to make yourself qualified for a particular career path.
So, what comes after BCom?
‘MCom’? Yes, if you go by the name, MCom comes after BCom. But in reality, this answer is far from true. The once-popular route is now the road less traveled by. That doesn’t mean no one takes MCom anymore. But the numbers have gone down. Now-a-days, the purpose of taking up Bcom is not to become a master of all Commerce trades but to complement other commerce courses like CA, ACCA, CS, CMA, CFA, CPA, etc. Now, let’s look at possibilities after Bcom,one by one.
Anyway, Let’s start with ‘Daddy’. The old horse has lost its speed, but it’s still in the race. Though overtaken by many, MCom still holds the reputation of being an elite post-graduate program in the field of commerce. This two-year program helps graduates gain a deeper understanding of commerce subjects such as the functioning of the economy, capital, revenue, trade, taxes, etc.
Just like Bcom, it deals with a lot of numbers, graphs, and calculations. Yes, you will need good numerical, analytical and problem-solving skills. And also, it’s mandatory to have a Bcom degree to secure admissions for MCom courses in most reputed universities.
Unlike Bcom, a wide variety of Mcom specializations are available. The syllabus covers subjects such as Organisation Theory and Behaviour, Statistical Analysis, Economic Analysis, Financial Management and Policy, Managerial Accounting, Business Environment, etc. Though the program is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to take up careers in banking financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry, it is mostly taken by students who wish to get into teaching or continue in the field of academics and research.
For those who wish to make it big in the field of finance and accounting, CA is the best shot. It is a professional qualification awarded to experts in the field of accounting and finance. An individual receives this credential on successful completion of the CA program conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
The program consists of three stages. Namely, the foundation stage, Integrated Professional Competence Course (IPC), and CA finals. The foundation course lasts for 4 months and is followed by the Competency Professional Test (CPT). Up next is the IPC stage. It has 8 papers stacked into two groups. This is followed by 3 years of compulsory Articleship under a practicing Chartered Accountant. Then, comes the ultimate test of CA finals. It consists of 9 papers and is considered to be the hardest of all.
Once accredited as a CA, you can either go for independent practice or join an organization. His or her responsibilities will include preparing financial reports and documents, maintaining records of investments, reviewing potential financial risks, etc.
It’s not mandatory to have a BCom degree to appear for CA programs. You can go for CA right after 12th. But you will get to skip the foundation course and directly start with the IPC course if you go for it after Bcom. As both the courses cover similar subjects and complements each other in the long run, many students opt to do both the courses together these days. Thus, a combination of Bcom and CA has gained a lot of popularity today.
This one was obvious, right? If not CA, the next choice is ACCA. It is commonly called the Global CA. As the name suggests, it is an internationally recognized accounting credential. The responsibilities and curriculum of ACCA is similar to that of CA.
Though the scope of ACCA in India is limited when compared to the Indian CA, the last few years saw a steep increase in its popularity. There are two main reasons for this. We all know that CA is a hard nut to crack. When compared to CA, ACCA is just a piece of cake. The passing percentage for ACCA is also much better when compared to CA.
Now, the second and the most important reason. While CA has more value in India, ACCA holds wider recognition overseas. For those who wish to go overseas for a job, ACCA is a better choice when compared to CA. On successful completion of ACCA, one joins the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. They also have the signing authority in many countries.
Though not as popular as CA or ACCA, CS is also among the common choices made by students after Bcom. Those who run the business will need help when it comes to corporate laws and dealing with government and stakeholders. Company secretaries (CS) are the in-house legal experts who manage such situations on behalf of the organization.
In India, one receives Company secretaryship (CS) accreditation after qualifying through the examination conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaryship of India (ICSI). In order to become a company secretary, one needs to learn everything about the legal aspect of the business. Even CS can be pursued right after 12th. But students prefer to either do it after Bcom or with BCom, to have a better understanding of the field. Moreover, students can directly enroll for the intermediate level of CS if you have a graduate degree in hand.
You’ve to go through 3 levels before finally receiving the CS accreditation. The levels are foundation program, executive stage, and the professional stage. CS is comparatively easier than CA or ACCA and it takes only 2-3 years to complete the program.
On receiving the CS accreditation, individuals can either start independent practice or join a company. If a CS professional is to take up a job, he or she will take up key managerial roles in a company. The major duties of a company secretary will include ensuring that the company functions within the legal corporate framework of the country and advising the board of directors when it comes to legal matters.
Business is about money changing hands. It involves a lot of financial transactions. Successful business enterprises thus require accounting professionals to manage, monitor and keep account of the costs and expenses in the best interest of the company. No, I’m not talking about Chartered accountants. They won’t be directly dealing with such stuff. This is where the role of cost accountants comes in.
They are financial experts who determine the actual costs of production of a service or a product. The professionals perform cost controlling and management functions in a company under the direction of the senior management.
Cost accounting has become one of the most popular professions for commerce students in recent times. One can become a cost accountant by taking up a Cost Management Accountant (CMA) course conducted by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI). The program intends to provide in-depth knowledge of finance and cost accounting. Just like CA or CS, even CMA has three stages. Namely, CMA foundation, CMA intermediate, and CMA finals. You can attempt this course through correspondence or through online from an accredited university. Unlike Chartered accountants, Cost Accountants won’t be involved in the core accounting works of a company.
Though you can go for CMA right after your 10th, the most popular route is to take up the course after BCom or with BCom. The basic knowledge of commerce related activities you gain during BCom can be helpful while you do CMA. You can join CMA intermediate directly if you are a BCom graduate.
CMA professionals usually work in consultancy firms, developmental agencies, departments of company affairs, training & research organizations, service industry, stock exchanges, public utility sector, etc. If you’re planning to work abroad, it’s better to opt for CMA accreditation from an internationally acclaimed organization like the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), USA.
Want to know about the most reputed professional qualification in the field of investment and Management? We should go a bit international here. The name is Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)! It is a postgraduate professional qualification offered by the CFA Institute. This credential has the highest level of international legal and regulatory recognition of finance-related qualifications.
The CFA course covers a wide range of subjects under commerce and finance, including advanced investment analysis, quantitative finance, security analysis, etc. A candidate requires a bachelor’s degree and at least four years of experience to apply for the programs.
The program has three levels. Each level ends with a test. Thought CFA can be completed in two years, the average time taken by candidates is 4 years. On successful completion of the program, the candidate will be awarded the “CFA charter” and becomes a “CFA charter holder”.
Once you’re a CFA Charter holder, get ready to fly. You have millions of opportunities waiting all around the world.
Finally, comes the king of all trades. This part doesn’t need any introduction. MBA is undoubtedly the most popular postgraduate program of the decade. It doesn’t matter what your undergraduate course is, an MBA will add more commercial value to you as an individual. It’s the same for BCom graduates as well.
It trains an individual to take up management roles in an organization. So, if you think you will get stuck at the entry-level, this management degree can help you jump to the middle and top levels of an organization. Moreover, it will help you develop personally and will make vital contributions if you’re to take-up entrepreneurship at some point of time in the future.
A small piece of advice! MBA is of no value unless it is from a reputed organization. In India, IIMS are the best choice. To get into one of the best IIM’s in the country, you will have to crack CAT. Even a few reputed state, as well as private universities, consider CAT scores for admission. Few reputed management institutes like Symbiosis Institute of Management and Xavier’s school of management conduct their own competitive exams for MBA admissions.
Today, BCom is one of the most popular undergraduate programs in the field of commerce. This professional degree equips you with the necessary skills for various academic paths. In this article, we discussed a few popular academic choices after BCom.The choice depends on an individual’s potential and career goals. Always remember that you make your own destiny. Make sure that you invest time and thought before making your life-changing decisions. I hope the illustrated analysis have powered up your insights and have widened your perspectives.