Business Vs Economics Degree: Which is Better in Singapore?

The most common question that home tuition teachers (especially JC tutors) get asked is about tertiary education and career options. Economics tutors get bugged even more about the career options following a degree in Economics as it’s unknown territory.

Globalisation is causing the world to become a smaller place with increased competition, and the corporate landscape has a liking for up-to-date skilled workers who are digitally empowered as well as disciplined in their work ethic.

For many students who are interested to enter the faculty of business and economics, their main concern lies in their disability to differentiate the two and be able to decipher the significance of either degree in the context of Singapore.

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Singapore has world renown universities and both a degree in Business as well as a degree in Economics has great importance as the masters of these arena are some of the few main driving forces of the country’s progress.

This has always been as such, and to illustrate this, let’s take a look back at history…

The biggest advantage that Singapore has and has always had is its geographical location; it is placed in an important trade route (which is why the British set its eyes on this country in the 1800s).

Even after independence Singapore kept close ties with Britian and since we are a small country our leaders knew the importance of expanding our economy through exports. From a small fishing village, we have become a global economic competitor which is attractive enough to be the headquarter for many multinational corporations.


From attracting foreign investments to gliding through boom-and-bust cycles without major adverse effects, the knowledge of entrepreneurs and economists have always played a key role. Education should be in realm of applying knowledge to do something for the greater good; to give back to the society.

As such, business graduates as well a economics graduates in Singapore shine beyond their expectations and they drive the country forward with their efforts.


Undergraduate business degrees will focus on core business principles initially, and then students would further specialize on specific areas. Business degrees are usually assessed using a combination of coursework and examinations and the focus is largely on case studies which gives a practical view.

Common skills gained from a business degree include:

  • Financial analytical skills
  • IT skills
  • General research skills
  • Self-management
  • Independent learning
  • Professional communication
  • Team work
  • Leadership
  • Data analysis
  • Identifying trends and patterns
  • Knowledge of global market
  • Critical thinking
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Specialisations include area like communication management, strategy and organisation, finance, marketing, operations management, organisational behaviour and human resources, and quantitative finance. These sound like fancy words with lots of gravity but just know that each specialisation has its significance and there is a plethora of career pathways that even extend beyond Singapore.


The university core and electives may vary with the universities, but to a small extent. But here’s a general outline of what goes into a degree in Economics (this is reference to what Singapore Management University has on its website):

Core in Economics:

  1. Introduction to Statistical Theory
  2.  Intermediate Mathematics for Economics
  3. Intermediate Microeconomics
  4. Intermediate Macroeconomics
  5.  Introduction to Econometrics

Examples of Economics electives:

  1. Advanced Macroeconomics
  2. Advanced Microeconomics
  3. Economic Aspects of Maritime Law
  4. Economic Forecasting
  5. Economics of Ageing
  6. Economics of Politics
  7. Economics of Privatisation, Regulation and Competition Policy
  8. Environmental Economics
  9. Game Theory
  10. Health Economics
  11. Labour Economics
  12. Macroeconomics of Income Distribution
  13. Maritime Economics and Shipping Finance
  14. Monetary Economics
  15. Political Economy of Globalisation

Bachelor of Science (Economics) curriculum also has internship programmes and this aims to enable undergraduates to prepare themselves for the workspace and with that experience they would know what to anticipate. It is beyond a shadow of about that one can gain ample of knowledge and be able to establish a career that has a sizeable starting salary as well.


Whether a degree in Business or a degree in Economics is best for is all dependent upon your interest. In terms of starting salary and career options, both these degrees are equally promising as Singapore universities prepare their graduates very well!