BU Commerce Dept. draws up revised syllabus structure for B.Com, BHM and BBM courses

A major criticism of academics, and a major grouse of the students of undergraduate (UG) courses in the State, is that the syllabus is too theory-oriented, with hardly any scope for practicals. On the other hand, industry-insiders, who end up recruiting these graduates, find themselves complaining about the time wasted in giving these new recruits on-the-job training for the first few months of the job.

The Commerce Department of Bangalore University (BU) has taken a step towards plugging this loophole, and announced a revised syllabus structure for the courses of Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com), Hotel Management (BHM) and Business Management (BBM). The revision, university officials say, has a more practical approach to the subjects to “cater to the globalised world” and was concluded after almost a year's study by the Board of Studies.

Appreciation

Ramachandra Gowda, Dean of the Department of Commerce and Management, explained that the revision was to prepare the students for the implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in India in 2015. “About three months ago, a German company had visited BU, and the delegates had appreciated the depth in the accounting syllabus,” he said.

Subsequently, the syllabus for the four-year B.S. Commerce course would also be designed, according to BU Vice-Chancellor N. Prabhu Dev.

The new syllabus offers plenty of scope for students to move out of classrooms and into the work space. For instance, BHM students will be spending the whole of the fifth semester interning at a five-star hotel, with 300 marks being allotted for this, and another 45 days of practical training in the sixth semester.

For Commerce and Management, ‘Skill Development' will be introduced, as a part of which students will prepare financial statements.

For example, in Corporate Administration, some of the topics listed under Skill Development are drafting notice of company meetings, and drafting of Memorandum of Association.

Under marketing and services management, topics include ‘Suggest strategies for development of a product,' and ‘Develop an advertisement copy for a product.'

Under Quantitative Analysis for Business Decisions, the topics are ‘Collect the age statistics of 10 married couples and compute correlation coefficient,' and ‘Collect the turnover of a company for seven years and predict the sales of the eighth year by using the method of least square.' Under Income Tax, the subjects are ‘Computation of Gratuity,' and ‘Computation of Income Tax and the slab rates.'

“We have asked all colleges to maintain a business lab for practical assignments,” added Prof. Gowda. In these labs, materials will be provided so that students learn how to transfer share certificates, open companies' bank accounts, file income tax returns, etc.

“There are close to four lakh students in BU colleges studying B.Com. It will not be possible to offer practical training to all of them, which is why we have made establishing business labs compulsory,” he explained.

Similar is the case with BBM. While BBM will be management-oriented, B.Com will be accounting-oriented.

Dr. Prabhu Dev, during the Academic Council meeting of the varsity, where the revised syllabus was accepted, directed that a list of consultants be prepared who would absorb students as trainees.

Teachers are being suitably prepared for this change. Close to 200 lecturers have already been trained in IFRS with assistance from the Commerce Teachers' Forum. For the subject ‘Commodity Markets' being introduced for the fourth semester, expert lecturers will be brought in.

Recruitments

Asked if the revamped syllabus will translate into better placement opportunities, Prof. Gowda said, “Nowadays, a large number of companies go to undergraduate colleges for recruitment, even to small government colleges. However, they complain of having to give on-the-job training again to these candidates. By providing this practical exposure, we are aiming at providing mid-level managers.”

Those who wish to climb higher on the corporate ladder will go for higher studies, he added.

Gaining an edge

Predictably, students are looking forward to the change, where they don't just have to mug up to prove themselves, and also experience work firsthand.

“At management fests, we often compete against management students from other States. Their syllabi are entirely different from ours, in that theirs is concurrent with financial trends. That is where we are beaten. The revision will help us get an edge,” said Bharath Bhushan, a II year BBM student.

Murtaza S., a II B.Com student, said, “The practice of maintaining record books exists already. In most cases, students copy assignments from each other. The new syllabus is promising as it expects individual efforts, such as preparing financial statements and balance sheets independently. This will be the highlight.”