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Five tips for turning a business degree into a career

Business is the heartbeat of the professional sector, providing economic stability and working as a catalyst for positive change.

Australian society puts a high value on education, which is a crucial vehicle for development in social and economic life. With the right education, students become 'work prepared' and can step confidently into employment streams where the opportunities are apparent and the work significant.

Holmesglen Institute's Graduate and Degree Programs' Head of Department Lawrence Altamura shares five tips on how you can use a business qualification to carve out a lifelong career in the field.

Understand the many career streams and job roles that exist in different industries

The fields of business and accounting provide many job opportunities that are not limited to just one narrow area. For example, qualified accountants are in high demand in many industries and businesses, including banking and commerce, financial services, manufacturing, construction, education, health, leisure and retail sectors. Find the area that suits you, but also be mindful of not limiting yourself to just one role.

Be proactive about your studies and build up your work experience early on

Holmesglen's business administration, marketing and accounting degree courses are focussed on giving students a more practical and hands-on approach, which offer a holistic view of what employers look for from graduates hoping to work in these dynamic fields. Too often, theoretical perspectives encountered by students of degree programs prove difficult to translate into every day, work-related practice. Build your knowledge in the classroom, but then go out and find internships or entry level roles to put your knowledge into practice. There's no better way to learn than by doing.

Career development doesn't happen on its own

Graduating with a business degree is a significant achievement, and one that takes a lot of commitment and dedication. However, in order for your career to develop, you must nurture and care for it. Undergraduate education, such as a business degree, is a great start and will give you lots of skills in specific areas, such as accounting or marketing.  So, as an example, you start off as a marketing graduate and your employer is impressed with the knowledge you bring to the role. He would like to consider you for a role with more responsibility in the near future. To shine in management though, you will need a different skill set compared to being a graduate who has been part of a project team and having clear instructions to follow. Suddenly, it is you who will be giving the instructions. Be prepared to develop or shape yourself into the 'best candidate' for the next step on your career path. Continuing your professional development might involve further education, attending seminars, reading books and articles, finding a mentor or networking with people you would like to model yourself after.

Develop lifelong learning skills and also skills around self-reflection

Once in the field, apart from professional development, it is important to also find time to reflect on your career development, to establish whether you have been able to integrate work life and non-work life, in ways that make you feel purposeful, energised and connected. It is easy to get lost in the 'security' of a well-paid job with 'interesting' work, but where is the job taking you, what is changing in your industry; can you see yourself there in another 12 months, 5 years, 20 years? Is the job meeting your motivations and interests, is it the right job for your career/life-stage needs? There are any number of studies that have shown that a person is most likely to succeed and be satisfied in work that is congruent with their interests.  Although some interests and values may be obvious to us when we commence our careers, other interests and priorities evolve and only become apparent to us after a period of time.

Holmesglen's student counselling and graduate employment services can help students develop frameworks that can guide their thinking, and techniques to build lifelong learning skills and also skills around self-reflection. Career planning is about making career moves when you are ready, not because you have to...Remember, your next job might not even exist yet. Are you ready for it? Great people, like great companies, keep evolving.

Start today

Opportunity rarely comes to you; it's as a result of actively pursuing your goals. If a career in business is your ambition, there is no better time to start than the present.

Holmesglen's business degree courses stand proudly in the highly competitive tertiary education sector. Our degrees are well balanced so that our graduates leave us with confidence that their skills and knowledge, across different disciplines, will prepare them for typical challenges they will face in the workplace.

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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