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Find your niche in business

The business world is vast and is rapidly-evolving, and there are so many concentrations for prospective business students to choose from.

When pursuing a Master’s, students should ideally know what career path they intend to pursue after they graduate and have identified their niche.

According to Forbes, a niche should be something that students can see themselves being passionate about for at least five years.

But passion isn’t enough for a lucrative career. Students should also know if there’s a need for it and if it’s a sustainable path, as well as if they would be a good fit for this particular specialisation in the working world.

Often, students are unaware of the day-to-day requirements in specific fields, as well as the particular skillsets involved, which can only be identified when they are exposed to a real-world working environment.

Last year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed  graduating college seniors and employers in the US on eight “competencies” they considered necessary to possess in order to be prepared for the workforce.

For example, nearly 80 percent of students believed they were competent in oral and written communication and critical thinking. However, only roughly 42 percent and 56 percent of employers, respectively, indicated that students were successful in these areas.

This is problematic because it may suggest skill gaps in certain fields that students were not aware of. Pursuing a Master’s that allows students to specialise is a good way to help learners focus on their niche early and start doing the legwork for their future career.

With a need to equip graduates with skills for success and arm them with valuable knowledge in the working world, universities are increasingly offering students real-world experience, internships and networking opportunities long before they graduate.

More and more universities are also partnering and collaborating with industry players and alumni, connecting students with mentors who can offer feedback and expertise relevant to the industry.

These experiences allow them to obtain practical experience to supplement theoretical knowledge of a subject or programme.

All these provide multiple avenues and opportunities for students to explore their areas of interest and identify their niche, determining if it’s suited to them.

Here are four university departments that support students on their quest to find their business niche…

FACULTY OF LAW, ECONOMICS AND FINANCE, UNIVERSITY OF LUXEMBOURG – LUXEMBOURG

Covering a wide range of subject areas in business, management, economics and finance, this university works directly with the industry to enable students to pursue internships, network for future opportunities and have the best of both worlds – a university education complete with practical skills and applied knowledge.

The Master of Science (MSc) in Finance and Economics is a new two-year programme at Luxembourg, set to launch this fall. It was developed with the Luxembourg financial centre to prepare students for the job market in varying finance disciplines.

During their second year, students have the option to specialise in one of four different tracks: Banking, Investment Management, Risk Management, or Financial Economics. They also complete a thesis or an internship and business case report, giving them the chance to gain experience in the professional world.

University of Luxembourg

Students who choose this programme get to network with professionals in Luxembourg – a major international financial centre – as well as observe and learn from changes and trends in the fast-paced world of economics and finance.

They stand to benefit from a solid academic foundation in the field, with the potential to explore new and emerging topics such as FinTech or sustainable finance.

Other Master’s programmes offered by the university include Wealth Management,  Accounting and Audit, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Logistics and Supply Chain Management. These also offer industry experience and internships in the relevant fields, granting students invaluable insights in their niche. The MSc in Quantitative Economics and Finance on the other hand is a stepping stone for a career in research.

Graduates from all programmes will be prepared for their chosen discipline, having a wealth of knowledge and experience, and exposure in the financial and business sphere in Luxembourg.

DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, STOCKHOLM SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS – SWEDEN

Students who pursue the Master’s specialisation in Economics benefit from a rigorous approach with extensive real-world applications.

During the first part of the programme, students will be engaged in a structured learning environment where a solid theoretical understanding is acquired.

When they begin the second part of the course, the focus will be on practically-oriented, problem-solving abilities, and students get to learn from real-word examples and case studies.

Stockholm School of Economics

Hanqing Jasmine He, a student of SSE’s Master of Finance program, says, “I would say the combination of strong academic profile and great connections with companies drove my decision to pick the MSc Finance programme.

“Swedish House of Finance (SHoF) hosts seminars and presents newest researches that are a great addition to the classroom routine,” Jasmine adds. “The strong and active connection with local and international companies is also important since, at the end of the day, every student wants to get a job.”

SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, SWANSEA UNIVERSITY – UK

At the Swansea School of Management, students can also reap the benefits from Master’s programmes that prepare students for a dynamic career in finance, banking and a range of other sectors.

For example, the MSc Finance and Big Data Analytics course at Swansea University is designed to pair the key areas of finance and business analytics, taking on a data-driven approach to analysis of financial markets and organisational information.

The MSc Finance and Big Data Analytics course at Swansea University is designed to pair key areas of finance and business analytics. This programme takes a data-driven approach to analysis of financial markets and organisational information.

Swansea University

The degree covers the key principles of finance, financial modelling and financial markets to prepare you for a dynamic career in finance, banking and a range of other sectors.

Along with unlimited one-to-one bespoke careers advice from the dedicated careers team, students can also pursue a work placement or internship through the Swansea Paid Internship Network (SPIN) or the Week of Work initiative, as well as take advantage of strong links with a range of high-profile organisations, including Dell and Ernst and Young.

SORBONNE BUSINESS SCHOOL, IAE DE PARIS – FRANCE

Through a combination of case studies, lectures, group work and on-the-job experience, the Master programmes at IAE prepare students for the issues firms must address in today’s international environment.

Innovative teaching methods based on practical experience, a first-class faculty and a location in the heart of Paris all contribute to IAE de Paris’s well-deserved reputation as an outstanding school of business.

The faculty includes a pool of over 350 visiting lecturers and business practitioners, who bring their valuable real-world business experience to their teaching and participation in the school.

Sorbonne Business School IAE de Paris

Those pursuing an International MBA benefit from learning how to better understand global firms and their challenges, allowing students to acquire competencies in a new business field, as the course allows them to add a global vision of management to their original competencies.

François-Xavier de Bengy, Training Program Manager says, “Following this programme allows to enhance one’s vision on corporate challenges. It mixes a high-level academic teaching with usual MBA business cases, plus a deep insight of European Union’s reality during four top notch seminars.”

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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