Ever thought about studying BCom Management at NWU? Lyzanne Schoeman recounts her university experience and provides essential tips for a student to be.
I always thought that I would become an Accountant however this vision drastically changed when I visited the North West University of Potchefstroom on their annual open day in May. I took an aptitude test at the end of grade 11, which basically indicated I should go into a BCom field – but not with a lot of information with regards to exactly what I should go study. I had no idea that there was such a wide range of areas to go into – and this only in the BCom field.
As Deputy Vice President: Culture in 2010, I matriculated at Hendrik Verwoerd High School in Pretoria. I had a choice between quite a range of subjects to choose from in Grade 9, but decided on CAT (Computer Applications Technology), Accounting, Business Studies and Dramatic Arts. Then of course also completed English Home Language, Afrikaans Home Language, Life Orientation and Mathematics which are compulsory subjects. My favourite subjects were Mathematics and Dramatic Arts – receiving distinctions in both as well as in Life Orientation. I would definitely say that my subjects had quite a huge impact on my studies and it definitely made my life a lot easier. It formed the basis of similar subjects that I had in my first, second and even third year – subjects such as Financial Accounting and Business Management. Without the basics and a good foundation, you cannot move to the next level in any subject.
Exploring the BCom Field
Eventually I decided on BCom Business Management and Entrepreneurship, which is a three year degree. I decided on pursuing this degree as I wanted to learn the entire business environment – deciding against Accounting which is only a small department of Business Management as a whole. Initially I was more intrigued with Marketing Management as a subject rather than Business Management. While Business Management focused more on the foundations of how a business functions, I was fascinated with subjects such as sales, advertising, brand management and retail management, all subjects of Marketing Management.
Any BCom degree requires a lot of hard and dedicated work – especially if you want to qualify for an Honours Degree. If you want to apply for Honours you need to have good third year marks and they do look at your second year subjects too. Nonetheless, (lucky me) I qualified for Honours majoring in Marketing Management.
What does BCom Marketing Management entail?
Marketing Management teaches students how to think strategically in a marketing environment and by gaining experience in this environment, students are enabled to report on relevant management matters. Various subjects are covered throughout a Marketing Management degree, namely: marketing management, business management, statistics, economics, financial management and supply chain management. Subject that form part of an Honors Degree include Retail Marketing Management, Online Marketing Management and Marketing Research.
Deciding to do my Honours degree was the best decision that I could have ever made. The experience was much more focused and simply amazing – this is where you get to see how theory and the reality of practice come together. The subjects are similar to those of the degree, but much more advanced and in depth. You get to experience it as it would be in the working environment. Other than with studying a degree where you attend class, study your textbooks and write exams, focusing mostly on theory. During your honours year, you focus more on applying theory to practice. The entire honours year contains more or less of 75% group work (including group assignments, presentations and physical playouts of ‘real’ workplace scenarios with ‘real’ companies) and 25% of individual assignments and exams.
I was a resident of Huis Republiek Dames-Koshuis on the North West University campus – the best time of my LIFE! I served on various sub-committees and was part of the House-Committee with the portfolio Sport and Recreation for the term 2013 and 2014. If you are an outgoing person, enjoy being around people and have an urge to be part of something very unique, I would suggest this a hundred times over – you will have the time of your life, guaranteed. Taking part in student activities such as RAG, res-sports, serenades and drama is a lot of fun and forms part of the core activities of res life – something that I would really suggest you to be part of and experience for yourself.
Tips for a student
Job-shadowing is a very important thing to do. I did some job shadowing in different environments. My first job-shadowing experience was in a doctor’s medical practice – mostly helping with admin. Then I did some job shadowing at Glenchem, a manufacturer and distributor of detergents, disinfectants and specialized products, where I did a business evaluation on all of the business environments within Glenchem for a project. In my 4th year, I had a vacation job in the marketing department of SAS Institute, an Analytical Software company where I had to plan and assist with small marketing events.
There are so many different careers that one can pursue, but to find one that is suited for you, you need to know what careers are available, and what you like and dislike. So take a week per holiday, and go shadow at companies where you would like to work, and obviously within your field of interest – it is also something that you can put on your CV. I graduated at the end of 2014 and started my first job as a Career Marketer at CTU Training Solutions, in January 2015.
Form relationships with your lecturers and get them on your side. They have a lot of contacts and really do know quite a few things. Remember that it is important to do well in your studies, but it is more important to have a balanced student life. So study hard and do your best to get the grades that you want, but it’s important to remember to balance your studies and social life. In other words, everything should be done in moderation.
Requirements for Studies in BCom Management and Entrepreneurship at North-West University
- High School Subjects: Mathematics
- Entry Requirements at North-West:
- APS Score of 24 with Mathematics level 3 (40%).