Category Archives: Majors

BCom Majors V: Actuarial Studies

Today’s guest post comes from a past student that majored in Actuarial Studies.

Actuarial Studies


“We slam (Financial) Models and (Red Bull) Bottles”

An actuary is a business professional who deals with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries provide expert assessments of financial security systems, with a focus on their complexity, their mathematics, and their mechanisms

That’s what Wikipedia says, but in reality, it’s one of the easiest majors offered by the The University of Melbourne. Rumours of its difficulty are propagated by retards who haven’t figured out what an integral is. If you enjoy doing boring, brain-dead number crunching, with a cohort that has the social awareness of a dung beetle then Actuarial is definitely something you should seriously consider.

So here are a few typical responses you get when you tell someone you’re studying to be an Actuary.

“Huhhhhh? What is an actually?”

“OMG, you must be like super smart and shit”

Both of these responses indicate the person you are talking to is probably brain-dead, and you should cease talking to them immediately.

Most of you would be wondering by now, what kind of person this shitty major would attract. First of all LOTS and LOTS of FOBs, who are also Career Kids. Deadly combination.

Things don’t get much better if you’re a guy looking to score either. Here’s the reason why: Think of the ugliest girl in your high school year level. Done? Ok, now keep that image in your spank bank, because in Actuarial she’ll start looking like a supermodel real soon.
As for the guys in the course, it doesn’t get much better. Fleece and runners are the uniform of choice and brands such as “Mike” and “Adidis” are well represented. You’ll also have to have a gimpy physique and have no personality in order to truly fit in. One golden tip: Try to make your studies the center of your life, the quicker you do this, the more likely you’ll be accepted amongst the cohort.
Your classmates will be talking in various Asian languages and if you aren’t fluent in any of them, I suggest you learn quickly because you won’t be making too many friends. Discussions in English are a rarity within this major. Also look into obtaining a (Fake) Asian passport, I hear in the future these are going to be checked when you try to rock up to Actuarial events.

Personality-wise the cohort are the biggest losers around, often studying for days non-stop and neglecting any form of activity that would hinder their academic progress. It is very common amongst students to attend the SAME tutorial more than once, students will often re-attend tutorials on different days to gain that “Edge” and beat their fellow students. Oddly enough, the students trying the hardest are the 2nd tier ones that are barely scraping H1’s in a major that just asks to get slayed. Oh and remember, Students enrolling in this major are often the rattiest and most unhelpful types, trying hard to deceive others by appearing naive and aloof in regards to subject related questions from peers.

As for the subjects, here’s a bit of a rundown, of the ones I remember anyway:
Financial Maths III – A slightly harder version of Investments, yet still a joke. Learn about various aspects of portfolio theory and stuff that only the really nerdy kids pretend to (or maybe actually do) care about
Actuarial Modelling I, Actuarial Modelling II – The only models you’ll be seeing in your course.
Contingencies – Same as FM I and II but with probabilities slapped on, besides that can’t remember, don’t care. Haven’t used it at all, since I work in M&A.
Models for Insurance and Finance: This is probably one of the more interesting subjects in the Actuarial major. Probably because it’s not really an Actuarial subject.
Another thing to note, the word “Exemption” will be uttered over and over and over again in conversations, unless you repeat it regularly you will never truly be an Actuarial student and we all want to be one of those!

So what does Actuarial Studies lead to? Well, only a few people end up going on to be a qualified Actuary, a few will get into Investment Banking, some will go to Big 4, some into retail banks. Oh as for FOBs, I’m really not too sure but I do hear the outgoing shipments back to Asia do get pretty full around that time after graduation.
So in summary, what is Actuarial Studies? A few years of involuntary celibacy, boring as fuck numbers and being surrounded by the highest caliber of losers and fuglies. Luckily, I moved on to an Investment Bank after finishing this garbage major few years ago. Even though I work long hours and don’t get much sleep, I still have nightmares about my time in Actuarial.

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BCom Majors IV: Finance

Finance

“Because I want to be an Investment Banker”

So, in this entry we add to the series on Commerce majors.

Finance is quite a popular major amongst Commerce students. I’d say for most, it’s more of an infatuation with what they believe to be realistic outcomes of the Finance major rather than an admiration towards the content which is taught within it. Finance is also a huge hit with the FOBs.

The super-serious students undertaking the Finance majors are often some of the most pretentious, and irritating students you could ever be exposed to. Often carrying unrealistic expectations such as thinking they have a shot of getting in to a top-tier Investment Bank. In reality, most have no chance, especially in this current economic climate. So in order to compensate, they will be rocking up to just about every career event that is held at university and try to get an “edge” over their peers (ie. They are Career Kids)

Ultimately, most students do Finance with concurrent majors in Accounting or Economics, but I have heard of some students undertaking it along with side joke majors such as Marketing or Management (Oh what a useful combination!)

Basically, the three level-3 subjects which make up the major are as follows:

Corporate Finance: Quite a lame subject, it’s easy to get H1 in Corporate Finance, but not as easy to get 90+ on. The subject really feels like an extension to Business Finance and is quite easy to understand but some of the theory can be a bit annoying. Expect a few vague questions thrown in to assessments to lower your chances of getting a huge mark in it.

Investments: Difficulty-wise, the subject is alright, it’s still a subject you can smash a 90+ on if you have a solid understanding of the content since the exam isn’t ratty. Calculations aren’t difficult and usually the exam doesn’t change much from year to year so you’ll have a strong idea of how you’re going based on doing past papers. However, the mid-sem can be a bit of a pain, I’ve heard in some semesters it’s been rather difficult.

Derivative Securities: What most students call the hardest subject in the major. I still think it’s pretty straightforward and really easy to get quite high on. Definitely a subject you can get 90+ on if you have a solid understanding of it. The calculations are pretty easy and the theory usually makes sense, so I’m not exactly sure how people can do too poorly in Derivative Securities. Sure there’s some fancy terms and graphs but don’t be put off by those, they are pretty understandable once you properly gain a grip of the subject.

I can’t be bothered delving into the specifics (Stuff like topics etc.) of the above subjects because 1. I can’t remember and 2. It’s not too hard to Google the subject names and find out.

There are other subjects in 3rd year some students do like International Finance, Asian Capital Markets or Intermediate Personal Finance but since they aren’t core subjects, they have substantially lower enrollment. Plus the students that take those subjects them are probably complete losers trying to convince themselves that doing more than the required amount of level-3 Finance subjects will lead to them getting an awesome Finance gig after finishing uni, even though they are barely struggling to maintain a H2A average.
The finance major is almost impossible to fail, the exams aren’t hurdles and the subjects still have enough easy content so that even the brain-dead students can easily pass.

The major isn’t too difficult since most of the time you’re plugging in numbers, doing some basic maths, and writing some garbage theory. The real problem with the major is the cohort. Comprising of FOBs, self-entitled career kids, and hugely worrying whingers you really would not want to be too close with the people who study this major, especially nearing exams and during recruitment season.

One thing to remember, you probably won’t be working at an Investment Bank, or a Hedge Fund, or a Private Equity firm.

Sorry to end the dream.

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BCom Majors III: Marketing

So the series on Commerce majors continues..

Today we cover at the Marketing major.

Marketing is an essential part of ongoing success for just about any business in the ever-changing economy. However, Marketing is largely a joke at the undergraduate level at The University of Melbourne. Rote-learning basic theories then regurgitating them out with application to case-studies is basically all this major entails. If you’re good at writing and can make it sound remotely articulate then it will be very difficult for you to get less then H2B in any Marketing subject.

The major is very easy to get, basically you do the level-1 subject Principles of Marketing, which could be one of the easiest subjects available at The University of Melbourne and three level-3 Marketing subjects. Most of the level-3 subjects won’t have any pre-requisites besides Principles of Marketing, so basically there’s almost no point doing any level-2 subjects in Marketing, unless of course you are in need of a retard-friendly subject to slam a perfunctory H1 in.

The cohort in Marketing generally will have less FOBs due to the nature of the coursework, and there’s always a strong contingent of hot chicks  in it too. A lot of Arts students do Marketing subjects as breadth also, so you’ll have no shortage of useless and annoying discussion in tutorials.
Very similar to the Management major, Marketing will have a heap of group work involved. Often, you will be given a lengthy group assignment which has a weighting of about 25-60%. Be wise and don’t pick FOBs in your group. There’s also easy marks for participation in most subjects, and absolutely zero incentive to rock up to lectures (except for the ‘talent’)  since almost every lecturer sucks in this department.

I hear from a few students who did this major that some of the subjects have almost identical exams from year-to-year and often past exams are easy to find, so you can comprehend how much effort is required for a decent mark in a Marketing subject.

A common combination of majors including Marketing is uniting it with Management, the other most brain-dead major offered in the BCom. This combo will leave you with minimal contact hours, and will require next to no effort until SWOTVAC, where you can just cram and slam an easy H1 depending on good you are at rote-learning garbage theory.

Prospects for graduates doing Marketing are pretty lame, there are decent Marketing graduate programs out there but since Marketing is quite a joke of a profession at the entry-level you’ll end in some generic snore-fest of a job which you could easily do without the hassle of completing a university degree. However, if you’re an attractive young female, this major is for you, there’s always a decent chance you’ll be the amongst the few that actually succeed in Marketing since its all about appearances. Oh and also, when the economic times get tough, a lot of organisations view marketing as a discretionary expense, which they’ll undoubtedly tighten up on with falling profits on the horizon, so be weary of that also before you jump into this highly invigorating, challenging and useful major.

 

BCom Majors II: Management

So in this post, I’ll be continuing on the series of Bachelor of Commerce majors, today it’s Management.

So all throughout the business world we hear words like Manager, Leader etc. Surely majoring in Management will make you something along those lines?

..Hell NO!

The management major is the biggest waste of time one can possible invest in. Basically if you’ve done Organisational Behaviour (Compulsory 2nd year Commerce subject) then you can do almost all of the 3rd year management subjects, which will give you a Management Major aka. Waste of time major.

Before everyone starts raging how I’m being a bit critical about it, just think, most managers don’t just become a major out of nowhere, they do their time and work their way up into managerial roles. A management major where you will discuss garbage management theories from 1929 and the loser who came up with it, will probably not get you to a Managerial role.

The major is basically catered towards Arts students that can basically write garbage in a structured and concise manner. Exams are generally worth 40-60% meaning that you’ll be doing many assignments throughout the semester. Also since the subject really doesn’t have much use of having tutorials, since everything can be rote learned in a matter of hours, you will be expected to “participate” and do lame group activities in your tutorials, often leading to a mark for participation (anywhere to 5-10%, maybe more).

A lot of people that can’t hack real majors will add on the Management major as a second major, but again, doing 3 level-3 subjects about Management doesn’t really change your life too much.

In terms of Graduate prospects, the majority of people in Management majors will be doing it with something else (Common combinations include Marketing/Management & Accounting/Management). This naturally means that they’ll be relying on their other major for their employment prospects. For people doing straight Management majors.. well.. they’d just be looking at general graduate programs, usually these require no skills, just any ol’ uni degree, even arts!

Most people don’t delve into this major, and rightfully so but if you really are bored and don’t want to focus at all on uni, do this. You don’t need to rock up, and can just cram for the exam and still get a decent mark.

A real manager!

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The Career Kid!

Ahh, it’s that time of the year again, when many final year students realise that they must start to decide on what they’ll be doing next year in terms of employment.

Now in my course there were a bunch of career losers, yes, a LOT. The University of Melbourne is probably renowned for these types of students.

Now let me describe the stereotypical career loser.

Generally, this is the type of student who isn’t exceptionally talented, maybe just slightly above average at the very best, but usually average or slightly below. They CONSTANTLY just think about their career prospects. From bitching about their marks, to whining about how they got rejected when their less career-focused friend got the offer at firm X or company Y.

No, this is not some nerd who just wants to get a killer transcript, and then tear it up in the real world; these losers are the ones that think that rocking up to a careers event is going to give them a massive edge over their peers.

Often, they are very very ratty, they won’t reveal information about what jobs they applied for, will not help anyone else out in anything job/uni related (including their friends) and are absolute dogs when it comes to passing on assignments to others.

Example:

Kid A: Hey dude, did you apply for firm X’s vacation program?

Kid B: Nah man, they open?!

Kid A: They closed weeks ago!

*Two weeks later*

Kid A: Hey, I got rejected at firm X at the final stage

Kid B: Oh I actually got an offer from firm X

Kid A: ??!?!

Now, imagine the awkwardness… this is normal for career losers though.

Usually, without sounding overly racist, these kids are usually Asian (I’m expecting some raging from this, but it’s just merely an observation), but obviously this isn’t always the case, a few white kids and curries are also of this mould.

Career kids will always be discussing dates of applications opening and wheather anyone has heard back from X company in regards to their Y position. They will often have “friends” who they solely discuss job prospects with, nothing else. A catch up with these “friends” will probably entail trying to gain information regarding the group stage of Company X’s process and what types of questions to prepare for. Basically, prepare to be used by these type of people if you are their so called “friends”.

Most career kids will spend extensive time on trying to bolster up their resumes so they can have a chance to get their desired jobs. More often then not, they do not attain that dream.

Career Fairs:

This is basically Christmas for Career kids. There are a couple of these during the year and are basically opportunities for companies to spit their propaganda about how great they are. Career kids will be anticipating these events for months, by preparing questions, picking out what to wear, how to do their hair and the persona they will adopt during the fair.

Now the only reason you should go to these is to leech the freebies (Usually company stationary) which they offer, nothing else. The information being presented is often found on their website or just Googled. There is no point trying to go there and impress the representatives and think you’ll now be ahead of your peers, because you spoke to an employee of your dream company.

It’s very rare that talking to a Junior HR Consultant or Junior Analyst at Company Z is going to get you a gig there. All you’ll really hear is the lame generic responses from their website, with a fun twist on it.

Aims:

Most loser career kids in Commerce will be aiming to get into the Holy Grail of Finance that is Investment Banking. Now, considering how small the investment banking intake is in Australia (and the field in general), it’s unlikely any of these career losers will actually get “snapped up”.

Let’s look at it from another point of view: Investment Bank A plans to hire 3 graduates Australia-wide for 2012, 421 Career losers turn out to their Sydney & Melbourne industry nights. There is a good chance that the people who actually do get into Investment Bank A aren’t even at the event. All that time and effort to rock up, with no real gain.

Here’s a real life example of a career loser:

I was talking to someone and asked them what their plans were for the winter break back last year and this is the response I got:

“Yeah, bolster up my resume these holidays so I can get an Institutional Role at one of the Big 4 Banks, basically it’s IB at a smaller level!”

This is the model response you should aim to give when you are a career loser. Your existence revolves around your career, not your friends, not your family, not your hobbies, but the job you do.

I can imagine talking to these people in a social setting, everything asked by them will be in an interview-style question, which is why I generally avoid career losers.

Another example:

I was walking around university back last year and saw something really interesting.

In one of the study rooms in Frank Tate building there were 5 fobs doing one of those online tests as part of many recruitment processes these days.

1 Fob was at the white board drawing stuff, another was with a calculator sitting next to the fob who was inputting responses on to the laptop whilst another fob was there sitting with a piece of paper working things out. The last fob had a stop watch in his hand.

After seeing this, I really was shocked.

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BCom Majors I: Accounting

In my latest series of posts, I’ll be going through each of the majors in Bachelor of Commerce. I may also do some majors for other courses too with some guest posts.

BCom Majors: Accounting

“Because I can’t get a job with any other major”

The accounting major is most popular major of the BCom at UoM. This is reinforced by the multiple lecture streams available for most core accounting subjects. Below is a rundown of the Accounting subjects:

Accounting Reports & Analysis (ARA): Pretty straightforward. Basic bookkeeping. Just a revision of VCE Accounting with a bit of a difference in some content. I don’t see any reason how this subject cannot get smashed, it’s very easy.

Accounting Transactions & Analysis (ATA): Much the same as ARA. Just covers different topics. Another easy subject to score in.

Accounting Processes & Analysis (APA): An absolute joke of a subject covering garbage topics which are very easy to spin some nice BS on. Great average booster if you’re good at BS.

Intermediate Financial Accounting (IFA): Probably the hardest subject in the major. Easy to smash it if you know what you’re doing though. Big consolidation question on the exam is usually pretty fun.

Cost Management (CM): Very easy, lots of easy theory questions which are common sense and then there’s all these costing methods and variances to learn which are pretty simple too. Hear that now there’s a lot more theory in it these days which is probably making the subject even easier, if that’s possible.

Business Finance (Bus Fi): Just simple finance. Mid Semester test for this subject is basically a free 25% since there’s like a few multi-choice questions which are pretty straight forward. Also this is a subject which has massive amounts of FOBs. Don’t be surprised if you’re tutorial has around 90-95% of students being FOB.

Financial Accounting (FA): Lots of lame theory from business finance and some basic working out. Few of the topics are quite interesting but most of this subject is largely garbage.

Auditing & Assurance Services (Audit): Absolute joke of a subject. Impossible to fail, Easy to H1, hard to get 90+ on.

Enterprise Performance Management (EPM): A mix of Organisational Behaviour and Cost Management according to most people. Much the same as auditing in terms of scores. Hard to fail.

Principles of Business Law (PBL): Easy H1 with a ton of rote learning and regular quizzes.

Corporate Law (Corp): Content is quite interesting, subject is generally not bad. Exam weighting is heavy however, so just cram during SWOTVAC.

Taxation Law (Tax): Ratty and very lame content. Not too difficult to get H1 but tough to get 90s. Get a good partner for the assignment.

The FOB contingent is high for the Accounting major, as it’s basically a permanent residency factory for most FOBs, but don’t let that deter you from pursuing it! There’s still plenty of local students in it too.

In terms of career outcomes for graduates, most go into professional services like the big 4, the less worthy go to mid tiers, some go straight into industry, and the super geniuses go into government since the exit opportunities from the APS are amazing and going to Canberra is cool and super fun!

Most of the locals will end up being employed prior to graduation unless they’ve got a horrid transcript, even then most still get decent jobs. For FOBs, they usually try to get PR and get a job here or end up back home or in a nearby country.

Oh, and before someone goes through and starts picking out grammar and spelling mistakes, just note that this post was written on my phone during a commute in a foreign country and I can’t be bothered going through and fixing it all.

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