Business is one of the most popular university courses for young full-time students – according to UCAS, over 220,000 thousand young people were studying the subject in 2015. But what does a degree in business mean for your career prospects, your workload at university, and what kind of business degree would suit you? Here are 6 key things to consider.
1. What Business Course is For Me?
It is important to note that there are many types of business degrees: some courses are broad and all-encompassing – such as business studies – whereas others – such as economics or management – are their own domain and offer a more precise specialisation. Before studying business, it is important to consider what kind of degree might best suit you, your sensibilities and your aspirations for the future.
A business or business studies degree is a more general course, where you will learn the ins-and-outs of the business world, developing knowledge and experience in everything from retail to finance to customer service. General business students have more flexibility in their post-graduate options; you can enter the workforce with a general skillset, or perhaps further your studies with a post-graduate course in the area of business that you liked the most, such as marketing or management. If you are interested in business but don’t yet know what path you want to follow, a generalised business course might be the best option.
Marketing, Economics, Finance, Business Management
These subjects are more specialised, for those with specific interests and focalised job aspirations. For example, if you are interested in advertising, selling, consumer behaviour and interactions with clients, a marketing degree might be for you. If a career in trading or finance journalism interests you, you might prefer to study economics. The advantage of a specialised degree is that your job prospects are more concentrated on a specific career path, and thus you might spend less time working your way up a company ladder if your knowledge base is already on-par with more senior colleagues. However, there comes the potential downside: it can often be a bit more difficult to find an entry-level job if your degree is too specialised. This is where the importance of work experience in your chosen field comes in.
2. What Are My Career Prospects?
According to Prospects UK, 74% of business graduates go directly into employment after graduation, with 19% opting for further study or a mix of further study and work. According to UCAS, the principal areas of work for business graduates are wholesale and retail, finance and insurance, as well as administration and support services. This can mean anything from working in an office, being a financial analyst or even working in a customer-facing role; the advantage of a business degree is that it is all-encompassing and thorough enough to be useful in almost any job. However, there are many business graduates, limited numbers of jobs and intense competition, so specialising your degree or homing in on a specific subject might be beneficial. Your career prospects will be determined not simply by your degree but pro-activeness in finding relevant experience and developing your skillset, but a degree in business – as the world is ever more connected through commerce – is a great starting point.
3. What is It Like to Study Business?
Whilst more solitary subjects such as English or philosophy might have you poring over textbooks and studying alone in the library, it is important to point out that studying business is a little different. A course in business will be – in part, amongst coursework and exams – a practice in preparing students for the world of commerce and negotiation: public presentations, meetings with clients, selling products and selling your ideas. If you are by nature confident, at ease with yourself in a group or in front of a crowd, this aspect of business will be where you will flourish.
However, if you are timid or have a difficult relationship with the spotlight – or difficulty speaking your mind or being decisive – don’t worry: studying business will naturally impart to you a certain level of confidence; the hours spent working in group projects, giving presentations and leading tutorials will provide you with an assertiveness that will be helpful in any future career, whatever the domain.
4. Will My Business Degree Be Relevant in a Changing Market?
Short answer: yes! However, as technology evolves – spurred on by the internet – so does the world of business. From instant communication to social media, the business market is more interconnected than ever and constantly changing. Therefore, modernising your business degree to future-proof your career for a more contemporary future might help you distinguish yourself in the jobs market, whether by taking a joint-honours course or opting to study international business.
For joint honours, you could pair your business degree alongside law, politics, or marketing. Or, as the world itself becomes more inter-connected, taking a degree in international business will equip you for the world of globalisation and for the markets of the future: online, instant and worldwide.
5. The Importance of Work Experience
Whilst a degree will give you the necessary knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the world of business, know that it will be vital to use your free time during university to build a portfolio of work experience. As said above, some of the top areas of work for business graduates are in wholesale and retail, finance and administration, so getting some experience – even working in retail over the summer – will be beneficial in finding a job after graduation. If your degree is specialised – for example in marketing or economics – try to find work experience in these areas. A focalised degree combined with direct experience in your chosen study will demonstrate your dedication to your field and be attractive to many employers.
6. Who is a Business Degree For? Well, Everyone
The final thing to consider is that you don’t need to have entrepreneurial aspirations to study business. According to Prospects UK, “eight of the top ten jobs held by graduates working in the UK are related to business, sales and HR.” As explained above, the changing market, the influence of technology and the domination of the internet and e-commerce means that the transferable skills you will develop in studying business – such as oral and written communication skills, knowledge about finance, the internet, economics and customer service – will serve as an advantage in almost all the contemporary jobs of the future. Whether your first post-university job is in a pub or in an office, a business degree will equip you for the world of work in an ever-changing, evolving jobs market.
As you can see, there are a few things to consider before diving into studying business. Now that you know everything there is to know, why not check out our range of business courses?
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