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Is a Diploma in Business Management Better Than a Degree?

By: Kailash Srinivasan

Published On: March 1, 2019

The short answer is: it depends on your needs and goals. The long answer is: even though it’s always been a cause for debate and discussion, a diploma in business management scores better than a university degree because it is flexible and affordable.

You have decided to come to Canada to study business. Great! This decision alone shows you’re ambitious, that you seek a future that is full of opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally. Canada is a wonderful place to live, study and work, especially Vancouver, which has great weather compared to other Canadian cities and welcomes people from diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.

We are certain that you must have already looked at a few options for schools; the curriculum; duration; fee structure; and admission criteria among other things. And now you’re wondering which option would be the best for you? Let’s go step by step and perhaps that will help you get a clearer picture.

What is Better: Diploma or Degree?

This has been an on-going debate. In fact there are certain false stigmas attached to diplomas: that they are inferior, or that the student isn’t smart enough, hence a diploma and not a degree. These are totally wrong. A diploma is a great option for several reasons. Some of them are:

a) It makes you job-ready quicker.
b) The curriculum focusses only on the essentials, and is hence shorter.
c) Is affordable.
d) Gives you a solid foundation in the program of your choice: you can then either choose to go to university to specialise further or become part of the workforce.

Why Should you Get a Diploma?

We are impulsive
As humans we’re impulsive. We constantly change our minds about things. A simple decision like which burger to order at McDonalds or which coffee to get at Starbucks can sometimes be so exhausting. When committing to an annual gym membership is difficult, can committing to a four-year, 120-credit business degree program be any easier?

A diploma is shorter and quicker, so you can stop worrying about 100 other things and focus on finishing your program and becoming job-ready.

Student life is not easy
Living a student’s life is not a joke. Sure, it’s a lot of fun. Hanging out with friends, exploring the local culture, checking out Stanley Park, Gastown, English Bay beach. Finding new and exciting places to eat and shop.

But it is also a lot of work.

Many students want independence and not depend on their parents for their day-to-day expenses. Education loans help, but what you will soon realise is that your bank account grows leaner and leaner when you keep spending money and not earning anything. So you will want to work and make some money, but imagine doing a full course load at a university and working? It is not an easy thing to balance.

Did you know: 28% of students drop out of a four-year degree program after the first year?

Business Management

A diploma program means less course-load, which means you will have the time to work up to 20 hours a week and make some much needed money. You will also have more time for an exciting social life.

Academic pressure
Because a degree course load is demanding, sometimes you may feel overwhelmed, especially the first couple of years, when you’re still getting used to the life here. Your grades may drop. The style of teaching is also quite different from what some international students are used to. Here, you are expected to study unsupervised and catch up with what’s being taught in class. The assignments are complicated. Even the different accents can be difficult to understand, at least in the beginning.

If you’re unable to get your grades back up, the worst case scenario could be that the school may expel you for academic failure, or you may fall too far behind that you end up pulling out of the school yourself.

A university is like an ocean; class sizes are bigger. Sometimes there are over 200 students in a class so the instructors are unable to give personalized attention to every student.

Diploma programs are relatively smaller in size with a more balanced instructor-student ratio. This gives you the opportunity to be a more involved learner. Your instructors are more accessible and open to helping you in areas you’re struggling.

Increasing tuition bills
When your performance in school dips, it will reflect in your grades. The university may ask you to take remedial courses to improve your grades, but that will only prolong your graduation. That means your tuition bills will increase and you will be paying more than you’re already paying.

Did you know: Less than one-fourth of students who are asked to take remedial college courses go on to complete their graduation?

Will you get homesick?
A 100%. Living and managing by yourself in a foreign country is not impossible, but quite difficult. Day-to-day things like cooking your own food, doing your own laundry, cleaning your house may seem doable now, but when you have to do everything yourself, you may start feeling over-worked and out of your depth. During these times you will miss your family, the comforts of your home country.

Add to this, the pain of social isolation. Many international students face the same issues after they join a university. Making friends and meeting new people is always challenging in a new country. It hurts to be isolated and find yourself without human-to-human interaction, sometimes for days on end.

People in Vancouver are really warm and welcoming, but it will take you a while to get set up, to have a circle of friends, to find your own tribe.

A university certainly makes it difficult. You may have a few people talk to, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get to hang out with those people outside of school. The reason for that being most university students become very cliquey very soon, that is, they only want to hang out with a certain group of people.

If they were undergrads in the same school and are now in the graduate program, they most likely will already have friends from before. You may find yourself outside of such circles.

Sometimes students even drop out and are ready to fly back, because the grief of missing home is too much. And a four-year program is definitely harder, you can’t take off whenever you like.

The smallness of a diploma program helps you to make friends faster. Since everyone is new, they are more receptive and open to other people. That helps a lot, having someone to talk to, especially early on. And because it is shorter, here is always an opportunity to visit home and come back to Canada.

A Diploma Program is Practical

Doing a diploma program makes sense on many levels. Diplomas are shorter and offer practical, hands-on training. Think of diplomas as a limited buffet: you’re able to choose what you want to specialise in from the options given to you. And if you like the buffet enough, you can trust the restaurant enough in the future to order ala carte.

Are you ready for a full-on university program?

That depends on your goals and needs. It is an important decision considering the time and money involved. Say for example you enrol in a four-year BBA program. What happens if you decide half-way that it is not for you? That you want to do something else? What happens if you decide to drop out? Then what? What about the fee you’ve already paid? The year or two you’ve already spent?

Getting a diploma therefore, is much smarter. In the one year it takes to finish your program, you will be able to explore all the major areas of business and understand concepts such as marketing and sales, human resources, bookkeeping, international trade and export, risk management, and foreign investment among other things. Then you can make up your mind whether you want to continue in the same field; whether you want to build on your skills and enrol in a bachelor’s program, or do something completely different.

Is it easy to move from high-school to a university?
Not at all. Ask any high-school graduates who have made the leap to a bachelor’s program at a university. They will tell you all about it: the struggle, the work load, of being lost in a sea of people, periods of self-doubt, isolation and depression even.

Going to a college before transitioning to a University is sensible. Imagine if you had not gone from grade 1 to grade 12, and instead were made to start from grade 5? Won’t make sense, right? It’s because two always comes after one, never the other way around.

Moving from high school to college is like getting the tools and learning how to use them before being asked to fix a car. You will feel much more confident and prepared to take on university, if that is your goal.

That brings us to one of the biggest advantages of doing a diploma in business management (DBM) from Ashton College.

Ashton College’s DBM program is built to make you job-ready. This means you will be able to (with an appropriate work permit) start a successful career in today’s fast-changing business world and work in a number of areas, including Bookkeeping Management; Human Resources Management; Sales Management; Marketing Management and Public Relations; Foreign Investment Specialist positions; Export Sales Management; Risk Analyst positions; Procurement Management; International Trade and more.

The classes are interactive and focusses on real-life examples and case studies, which means you will be getting skills that you will be able to immediately apply in your job. The faculty, who are working professionals with decades of experience, have deep subject matter expertise. The school also organizes company visits to make the learning experience as practical as possible for you. Apart from receiving training in business management and business administration, you will also be able to develop soft-skills, organizational, and decision-making skills that are valued in the business world today.

The Jump from College to University
Say you have completed your business management at Ashton with great grades, then what? You’re now ready to leave the comfort and safety of Ashton College and enter the big, competitive world of University. But with enough skills to make you stand out.

If university is the way you want to go, we have some more great news. Ashton College and Yorkville University, a national university offering student-oriented degree programs, have a Diploma to Degree transfer agreement. This agreement allows you to transfer 48 credits from your Diploma in Business Management program at Ashton College towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Yorkville University, which you can earn in 2.5 years.

This means you will only have to do a further 72-credits (instead of 120 credits) to get a BBA degree.

Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Business Administration will further deepen your knowledge of management and business concepts through lively discussions, group assignments, case studies, online simulations and projects. What is also exciting is that you can choose to specialize in areas like accounting, supply chain management, project management and energy management, and that will make you unstoppable.

One of the Top Ten Most Valuable Degrees in Canada
According to a recent study, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration is one of the top ten most valuable degrees in Canada in terms of earning potential. The average salary in 2017 for BBA graduates was $85,508.

What about the tuition costs?
A regular BBA degree from one of the top Canadian universities could cost anywhere up to CDN 150,000. That is a big financial commitment, which is why doing a diploma and then moving into a university is a better decision, saving you a lot of time and money. You don’t want to be worrying about a huge education loan even before you graduate. You’re supposed to have fun in school, not worry about your finances four years from now.

Ways to get a work permit
If you have decided to take your future seriously and move to Canada, you may be already thinking of ways of becoming a part of the Canadian workforce. After all an international work experience can elevate your career growth.

Once you complete your BBA at Yorkville University, you will qualify to apply for a PGWP, which will allow you to gain valuable work experience in the field of your choice, anywhere in Canada, for any employer. After getting your PGWP and gaining a year of work experience, you may even qualify to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments section below. We’d be happy to answer them for you. Consider all your options before making a decision.

We look forward to seeing you in the beautiful city of Vancouver soon.


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  1. peter says:

    Am trying to view admission ,tuition and registration fees in diploma in human resources management for international students .Please me .

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