Finance, Accounting, Business, & Management

A page in which the use of the ? is often not replacing a fullstop.



I wrote under mathematics that subjects that lead to serious earning, allegedly, include Economics and everything with Business, Management or Administration in the title. Since many follow that path, it becomes self-defeating (the money-chasers join that group and some of them succeed).


In China, among those going overseas, the biggest group of students chase this myth. Far too many (many times more than you will believe, almost all of them) have no idea what it is they are getting into; they have no experience of the world of work, they have not sold anything, not kept accounts for anything (not even their own money), they have run no societies or businesses—so how can they possibly know what they’re doing?

Western students, by comparison, will have at the very least have had some work experience, they will have run an imaginary company at school, they will have done something like print some T-shirts to sell at school, they will have organised some events at school—they will also have played lots of sport and so discovered about transferrable skills, teamwork and people management. Some of them will be running a small concern that provides a service or makes something or re-sells some hard-to-find commodity. Many will have sold things on e-Bay; a few will have made some significant money from such activities. All will have a good idea what they are going to use their subject experience for and will be directed, focused, in their degree course studies in a way that their chinese colleagues remain unaware.


So, Asian students: what do you know about anything financial? What experience have you collected? What relevant experience do you have? How much of this is secondhand (more importantly, how much of it is first hand)? How can you answer questions about this? What are you going to do about it? Do you know what it is your parents do?—it is truly dismaying to me how many students tell me they are going to join the family business, yet cannot explain what the parents actually do.

Western students: How much of what I wrote that you might have experienced have you actually done? can you improve upon that experience? Can you point to successes? —and failures, bearing in mind that you probably learned more from those.


Those looking to go into Finance, like those below, need to be clear what sub-field they are interested in, or at least to be aware that such things exist. What are you interested in? “Making money” is a really bad answer. Be clear that, in Britain especially, you really do need to be interested in the subject to pursue it for three years. If you’re vague, go do a more general degree or look to the US, where it is much harder to study anything exclusively, and generalisation is more nearly the description of the education.


Those looking to go into Accounting must be aware of the inherent boredom perceived by those not in accounting. Don’t confuse accounting with book-keeping, or banking, or commerce. Look at this as a step to becoming a chartered accountant and working in an office forever. Relatively few accountants go to visit customers. or become forensic accountants or generalists enough to do things like company rescues or visits to court. Investigate before you begin.


Those looking to go into Business need to recognise where they are going with that choice—they’ve ducked out of Economics, the purer study and so they need to be intending to use the knowledge to move into a business more or less immediately. As ever subjects with AND in the title will be better, as they direct the attention at a field of endeavour.


Those looking to go into Management must ask themselves when they are going to have any experience with which to apply their studies. How you can study this before going to do any at all is quite beyond me. ‘I’m going to study long-distance running, but I haven’t learned to walk yet’ seems equivalent, to me. An MBA is an excellent qualification, but makes so much more sense when building upon, say, ten years of varied experience. A recent colleague challenged a resumé (c.v. in Britain) by asking whether this, the thing he was reading, was twenty years of the same single year’s experience repeated or what he called a genuine twenty years of experience, each one different form the others. it seems to me that studying management is abstract until there is a framework to hang it on. I am not saying you cannot have experience of management before you are twenty, but I am saying few students achieve that. What will tell is what is done outside the classroom—running organisations, collecting wider experiences, persuading people to do things, arranging events. Again it is not the repetition that counts, it is what you learned from the variety.



This page has waited far too long to be written. the only subject that I know has been read is the one on Architecture, and I know how short it is. Please treat all these pages as exhortation to ask yourself a heap of questions, principal of which is what my family calls ‘the Barbara question’:


“What are you going to do about it?”


DJS 20120513

© David Scoins 2017