Firstly let me applaud you for your interest in undertaking a B&M EE! Here’s probably all there is to know about it. If you have any questions do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Business & Management EE can be pretty interesting- and not very difficult to complete, depending on the person. I personally enjoyed my B&M EE experience very much because I was interested in the topic I was covering and did not have any major problems trying to complete it. My first choice for EE was economics, but because I belonged to the cannot-make-it pile, I got my second choice, which was B&M! Mind you I was taking B&M SL so if you’re an SL student, it’s totally all right. You’re in good hands!
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your EE?
The first thing you HAVE to have before even choosing a B&M EE is a contact working in a company, who can obtain information about that particular company for you. It will be good if that someone is from your family, extended family, friend, etc. and preferably working in the higher ranks or helping out in a specific department (read on to find out why). He or She is the MOST IMPORTANT asset to have because B&M EEs consist of collecting primary data (a huge component in B&M EE marking criteria), data that you cannot obtain very easily if you do not know anyone from the company you want to work with. This data could be private (in other words not known to the public) or even something that requires you to head down to the offices to research for yourself- so if that contact can’t help you with these, that contact is basically useless. Find another one.
I personally suggest that you find a contact first and then work your way through your EE. In a way, you might not be able to choose what company or what industry you want to work with but beggars can’t be choosers. Just deal with it, make something out of what you have. However, If your contact is in an industry that you want to work with then good for you! Do note that whichever company or industry you’re working with gives you an equal and fair advantage as your friend who’s doing another company. So it doesn’t mean that this company’s bad or that company’s good. They’re all the same.
A little piece of advice is that publicly listed companies can make your research process a little bit easier because most of their finances are readily available online. However if your company is privately owned that’s all right. Just get your contact to hand you some figures and charts from the finance department. (Finance is also a huge component in B&M marking criteria.)
Once you have found a contact, read up about his/her company- what industry they’re in, what do they do, etc. I highly suggest crafting your research topic based on projects that the company is currently working on or has recently completed (e.g Mergers, an Advertorial campaign, expansion, etc.) This is so that your research is relevant and if you’re lucky you can find newspaper articles on it. It is also easier to ask employees or your contact about it’s on-going process. I literally crafted my research question in 5 minutes because the company that I was working on was currently going through a high profile reverse take-over, so I just created this RQ: What are the potential effects of a reverse take-over on (Company’s name)?
Once your RQ is given the green light by your mentor, use those 3 EE days to your advantage. I finished ¼ of my EE during those 3 days, completed my first draft during the holidays, and only changed about 15-20% of my EE content after receiving feedback from my mentor and from cross marking. Yes, you got that right, my year 6 wasn’t as stressful because I didn’t have to do much for my EE, unlike my friends who were rewriting their EEs from scratch halfway through the year.
A B&M EE It is pretty do-able in one shot (meaning you don’t have to keep deleting and changing your content like English EEs) so it is honestly not as tedious and frustrating. You can keep almost all of whatever you have typed in your first draft for your final draft. However, the one important thing that you must note to achieve this peace is that before you even embark on your EE Journey, be very careful (VERY, I mean it) about crafting your skeleton. This ‘skeleton’ consists of your RQ, topics, sub topics you want to cover and other research you might want to do. Once you get a good skeleton, show it to your EE Mentor, get feedback and only at this point do you start on your research and writing process. A good skeleton has about 3-5 major sub-topics, with at least 50% of your EE on finance. Your mentor should guide you along the right track and give you feedback if you’re doing this or that wrongly (e.g too much finance, too much information, etc). I also highly suggest 30-50% of the subtopic to be dedicated to the theory behind it (in other words spam whatever you have read and gathered on Wikipedia*) and the rest to applying the theory for the company you are working on along with the conclusions you make through those applications.
Of course, please don’t be a perfectionist because at the start you honestly don’t know what’s going to happen mid-way through your research. Just chill. Follow your gut feeling and know that everything is going to be okay. Meet deadlines. Give yourself a week (or by those EE Days) to craft your skeleton out. If you can’t find a skeleton in time, but roughly know what sub-topics you can explore, just work on the sub-topics first and continue building your skeleton concurrently, so that you don’t waste time.
*Wikipedia is just an example. Perhaps use something a little better for the sake of your bibliography.
What are some common pitfalls of students who have chosen to take [specific subject]? And the skills required.
Students who don’t really know what to do for their EEs or have difficulty coming up with 4000 words usually fall into these categories.
- The research question is too broad/ too narrow. There’s not enough room to come up with enough sub-topics in the first place.
- They didn’t read the textbook in order to know what techniques they can use- e.g ansoff matrix, etc. (This is especially useful when you’re stuck!!)
- Any other problem.
Consult your textbook while writing your B&M EE. Since it’s an EE, you can do even more research on the techniques you can use and expand on those given in the textbook. For example, the textbook doesn’t show you how to find out a company’s value, but you can research and google it and find it out yourself! It will still be 100% relevant for EE marking!
Try, as much as you can to have some ‘chim’ methods. They will definitely help.
Apart from good writing skills which are a bonus to any EE subject you’re working on, I think most of the cohort or ALL of you should have the ability to complete a Business EE because the math is like simple math and whatever skills you need to know for Business EE can be found in your textbook.
Ruth Tai is from the graduating batch of 2014. She undertook a Business Management EE in her time at ACSI.