Converting diploma to degree
Published on: Monday, August 01, 2022
By: K Krishnan
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Some SPM students are happy because they have been offered places to study for the courses they applied for. 
Students who applied for places to study in Government Universities, Polytechnics, Community Colleges and other training centres are beginning to receive offer letters. 

All kinds of courses are being offered. SPM school leavers who are in not touch with some of these new courses will find it extremely difficult to comprehend. 

For instance you will find Diploma in Naval Architecture, Tourism Management, Creative animation, Event Management, Mechatronics, Visual Communications, Print Media Technology, Food Services Halal Practice, Entrepreneurship, Retail Management, Landscape Horticulture, Secretarial Science, etc

Some SPM students are happy because they have been offered places to study for the courses they applied for. 

In which case, congratulations to you! You applied to study Accounting and you were offered Accounting. You have nothing to complain about. Go ahead.

Some SPM students are not so happy because they did not get the course they applied for.  

They feel let down because they didn’t get what they wanted.  They feel sad and disappointed.  But let us review one example.

Jenny is from the Commerce stream. In SPM she has taken Economics, Business Studies and Accounting. Her ambition was to do a degree in Business Management/Administration or Psychology. 

She applied for Diploma in Business. She was offered a place to study Secretarial Science in a Polytechnic. She doesn’t know what to do.  

Does secretarial mean being a secretary for someone?  Is it a desk job? Is there any prospect for this career? Should she accept the offer or reject it?  She comes from an average family and her finances are limited. She has five choices: -

1. Secretarial Science is a small part in the field of Business. She can complete her Diploma in Secretarial Science at the Polytechnic and apply to the universities after three years to do a Degree in Business Management/Administration. She can even work after doing her Diploma for a while and apply to do a degree in the universities as a matured student. She can still achieve her ambition and obtain a degree in Business Management/Administration. Most people, who do business, major in Business Management/Administration. 

2. After completing a Diploma in Secretarial Science she can obtain a Professional qualification with the Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (MAICSA). 

This is a very prestigious professional qualification which will lead you to be a Company Secretary. In fact there are only about 4000 qualified professionals in this field in Malaysia. As a qualified Company Secretary you have the opportunity to work with owners of businesses and stakeholders. You will be able to attend Board Meetings and advise shareholders on Company Law. You have the choice to either work for others or start your own business. Do you like the challenge?

3. Careers in Secretarial and Administration is one of the fastest growing careers today. You can work as a Manager/Administrator in a Hospital or Health Facility. You can also work in Legal Firms, Claims Department, Insurance Companies, Auditing Firms, Banks and Financial Institutions. So after completing your Diploma, you can select a discipline or area of specialisation and do a related degree in the field.  For example, if you like managing hospitals or health facilities, you can do a degree in Hospital Management. So you can specialise in the area you have a passion for.

4. Next, since you have a passion for Business and Psychology, you can consider doing a Degree in Human Resource after your Diploma in Secretarial Science. Again it is not necessary that you have to do a degree immediately. You can gain some working experience by working in a Human Resource Department. You get to learn what Human Resource Managers do. If you have the passion, go ahead and do a degree in Human Resource. You can even carry on working and join an Open Learning University. So, you can kill two birds with one stone.5. Last but not least, if you have a passion for Business and Psychology, consider doing a degree in Organisational Behaviour. This is also a very specialised field.  What is it?  “Organisational behaviour describes how people interact with one another inside of an organisation, such as a business. These interactions subsequently influence how the organisation itself behaves and how well it performs.  At its core, organisational behaviour analyses the effect of social and environmental factors that affect the way employees or teams work. The way people interact, communicate, and collaborate is key to an organisation’s success.” 

For example, over the last two years there was a lockdown. People were asked to work from home.  Many studies were made comparing working from an office and working from home. Professionals who study the effect are experts in organisational behaviour. This is another area that you can consider majoring in. It is unheard of but really challenging. 

Career Tips

Just like how I expanded on Secretarial Science, you can also explore the related careers about the course you have been offered. 

So if you are offered a weird course that you are not familiar with, don’t panic. Read about it or explore further. Getting an offer letter from a polytechnic is just the first step. Whatever course is offered to you, it is not the ultimate. Take it as a “Stepping Stone”. 

You can always explore and see the bigger picture. Look at the opportunities and new emerging careers that are related to your course. Expand on it. Careers are continuously changing every day.  

You must remember that the tuition fee is very low at Polytechnics. Use this opportunity to be able to look at bigger challenging careers in the future.


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