Advising students on choosing a university course: Business
24th April 2014
Business subjects are amongst the most popular fields of study at university. Why is this? Well, the term ‘business’ can cover a large spectrum of subjects and careers, and generally courses is this area deal with many aspects of modern human societies – so there is something to interest everyone. And of course, students opting to study in this field generally know that business careers are often highly paid.
What are the types of business degrees?
There are many types of business degrees to select from, depending on the specialization and career goals that a student might have. Areas likely to be studied range from accounting to management science, from finance to economics, and from marketing to strategy.
Typically undergraduate students should gain foundations in these subjects before selecting a specialism at the master’s level. There is also normally some possibility of specialisation towards the end of undergraduate degrees. Students considering studying Business should check what specialisation is possible within the courses they are considering.
What is the balance between academic theory and practical experience?
A good business degree should focus on practical personal development, through practical application of theory: case studies, problem-solving projects and team work, and, of course, internships.
Careers in business are competitive and students have to be ready to ‘stand out from the crowd’ so that they can impress employers. Almost all employers are looking for candidates who are practitioners rather than just theorists, so students should check how much opportunity the courses they are considering give them to develop practical skills.
What are the skills developed?
Typically companies hiring business graduates look for the following skills: analytical thinking, communication and presentation, problem-solving, decision-making and project management. Students considering where to study Business should think about whether the courses on their shortlist allow them to develop these skills.
How can students find this out? One way is for students to talk to undergraduates of the courses in question at Open Days.
What about sponsored degree programmes?
For those who already have a more precise career area in mind, it might be worth looking for employers providing sponsored degrees. For instance, Capgemini offers a BSc in Computing & IT through a Higher Apprenticeship and Experian offers a BA degree in Management & Leadership. This is a good way to avoid paying tuition fees while gaining valuable experience with a company. Plus graduates of these schemes are far more likely to get an offer upon graduation!
Students should realise that these programmes are fairly competitive and can only be done in specific universities prescribed by the employer.
What type of careers for a business graduate?
Just as the range of subjects studied within ‘Business’ is broad, so are the career options that result from it. Possible routes upon graduation include management consultancy, accounting and finance, marketing and advertising, investment banking, sales or retail management. These options are not limited to blue-chip companies: business graduates can also fit into smaller companies or even start their own businesses. A good thing to remember: some companies offer graduate programmes, which allow entry-level employees to be trained in different areas of the business before specialising in one.
What salary can be expected after a business degree?
Starting salaries are not huge. That said, the foundations laid by the degree make graduates more likely to reach management roles with higher salaries within a few years. Remember that the business degree can open doors, but graduates still need to work hard and prove themselves!
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