If you’re thinking of taking a Business Management degree for better career options, you need to know this: what you can do ‘with’ your degree depends on what you do ‘during’ your degree.
1. Why Study Business Management
Degrees in Business Management are very popular, especially with international students looking for a qualification that will be recognised in their home country. A good business management degree will enable you to develop knowledge and skills that employers look for in their team members. This includes your ability to:
2. Does Studying Business Help Your Career?
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to study Business Management to develop the above abilities and skills. You can usually gain and advance such skills by studying other subjects too.
However, if you complete a degree in Business Management, your studies will be focused on and directly related to the business world. This means you should be able to develop a better understanding of important business areas such as marketing, organisation management, accounting, logistics, human resources, project management and many more.
For employers, this can be very attractive as you are more ready for the workplace and require less training. Therefore, your Business Management degree can provide you with an advantage over other job applicants, especially if you’re applying for an ‘entry level’ role.
3. What Careers Do Business Graduates Start?
You may be wondering: what type of job or career could you enter with a Business Management degree? It’s really difficult to give you exact job titles or business sectors – in theory, you could apply for most graduate jobs that don’t ask for specialised knowledge in a different field.
To give you an example, here at the University of Sunderland, our graduates have gone on to work for companies such as PriceWaterHouse Coopers, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Nissan, Nike, Adidas, Starbuck, Marriott Hotels, Lloyds TSB along with smaller and less well-known companies. These companies are from a range of sectors, such as IT, consultancy, retail, hospitality, banking and the car industry – and that’s just giving you a few examples. Also, a number of our international graduates have returned home to work in the family business.
4. Should You Choose a Specialisation?
The options available on your Business Management degree can also depend on whether you have picked a specialisation as part of your course. For instance, rather than studying for a general Business Management degree which focuses on many different topics, you could choose a specialisation which will focus on one specific area. For example, marketing, human resource management, finance, project management, logistics, business systems, or business & commerce in a specific country, region or business sector.
5. If You Don’t Know What Specialisation to Pick
If you’re not yet sure what you want to specialise in – don’t worry, you can always decide to add a specialisation later on. Pick a degree in Business Management that will allow you to specialise from year 2 onwards.
This is what our business students tend to do here at Sunderland. As all students take the same modules together in their first year, they then decide on their specialised modules. Another advantage of this system is that our students make friends during the general modules in year 1 – and have the opportunity to remain friends even once they have decided to specialise in different areas from year 2.
6. Are You Getting a Professional Qualification?
One thing that some students often confuse when choosing their Business Management degree is that they think a Business degree is a professional qualification. Most of the time, a business degree is an ‘academic’ qualification. Also,the quality and level of training is usually certified by an external professional organisation. Check if your management course will give you a professional qualification, or provides you with credit that can transferred to a professional qualification.
Here at Sunderland for example, on completion of our BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance course, you will be exempt for more than half of the exams (9 out of 14) if you decide to take an accountancy qualification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Or you will be exempt from a number of exams (7 out of 14) if you decide to take a qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
7. What About Internships?
Students often ask us about internships or work placements because they know that this type of experience can look good on your CV. However, the real value of a work placement should be the fantastic opportunity it offers you to put into practice what you have learned in the classroom. But also, what you learn during your internship, will give you more knowledge and a better understanding which you should find helpful with your studies.
We’re not really surprised that last year, 82% of our students who completed a work placement graduated with a 1st class honours degree (the highest degree classification you can achieve). On top of this, students typically got paid an average salary of £14,000-£18,000 per year during their placement, whilst gaining experience and contacts that will surely have benefited them once they graduated.
8. Why Go to Guest Lectures?
You can also make the most of your Business Management degree by attending any guest speaker lecture that your university may have on offer. Guest lectures are not the same as the lectures that you take as part of your degree. As guest speakers are usually entrepreneurs, or business leaders who run company departments or entire companies.
Many members of the faculty at Sunderland attend the guest lectures and they often speak with our students who tell them how motivational and inspirational they find the talks. Besides the talks give them real life examples of what they have learned or will learn in the classroom.
9. Why Visit Companies?
Another great way to figure out what you want to do with your Business Management degree is to take part in company visits organised by the university. This will allow you to see first-hand the different business areas that you could work in. You will also get the chance to speak with company staff about their experiences, receive advice and ask questions such as ‘How did they do it?’.
Last year, our students visited a number of companies, including Nissan, Caterpillar, Barclays and Marriott. They were rather impressed with how much time and attention staff at these companies gave them. Giving tours of the company, showing them how specific thing functioned and answering their questions.
10. Are You a Leader?
One thing that employers often look for in graduates is their potential to ‘lead’. Being a good ‘leader’ means that you have the ability to come up with new ideas, organise activities, and understand how to get other people to support your ideas and projects. Some students think that a Business Management degree is enough to give them these leadership skills. Even though you can learn about leadership in the classroom, you will need practical experience too.
One way to develop your leadership skills and demonstrate to future employers that you can lead is by joining or starting a Student Business Society, much like what our best students have done at Sunderland. Or you could find out if your university runs any sort of ‘leadership’ course. For example, here at Sunderland we offer a free 4-day course called ‘Leading Lights’ that all our Business Management students can take. During this course, they have the opportunity to meet with business leaders, take part in real business consultancy challenges, and have the chance to lead a team and projects.
11. Want to Be an Entrepreneur?
Another thing that your Business Management degree could do for you is help you discover or nurture the entrepreneur in you. Some students may already have a business idea before they start their degree, while others may come up with ideas during the course of their studies.
It’s important not to lose your business ideas: develop them, test them, and discover if you can realise them. Find out if your university offers an entrepreneurship programme, it could be called something similar like a ‘Student Enterprise’ or ‘Innovation’ programme. At Sunderland we have an ‘Enterprise Place’ – which is a dedicated co-working office on our campus where you can work on your ideas, receive help and advice, network with other budding entrepreneurs and find a business mentor.
12. Prepare for Your Future
One mistake graduates sometimes make is they think a Business Management degree will be enough to impress employers. When in reality, you often have to compete with other graduates who have similar qualifications.
Preparing our graduates for employment is a big priority for Sunderland, which is why we run the ‘Sunderland Futures’ programme. ‘Employability’ is also a strong feature of all our Business Management programmes. Students have the chance to take a range of modules to find out what exactly they are good at – and learn how to tell future employers about these strengths.
13. How International Are You?
Coming to the UK as an international student is a big step. But your ‘international experience’ doesn’t have to stop there. As part of your degree you may be able to learn a foreign language or take part in an exchange programme. This can make your Business Management degree truly international.
For example, our students can learn a number of languages, from Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic to French, Spanish and German. In addition, all our students have the option to take part in our student exchange programme for 1 or 2 semesters. The great thing is that the time you spend with one of our partner universities counts towards your degree, meaning you can complete your Business Management degree in the original number of years.
14. Be a Top Student
How seriously and enthusiastically you follow your studies and how well you can can have a big impact on your opportunities when you graduate. Make sure you get the best grades you can and if you need academic support, join your university’s in-sessional courses.
Most UK universities offer free courses to help their students improve or develop skills to do well in their degree. There may be help for your specific subject, like the support we provide here at the University of Sunderland’s Business School. Our team of Student Academic Advisors work closely with our lecturers. This way the help you get with your academic studies is suited directly to what is covered on your course.
Hopefully this post has given you a lot to think about when deciding on your Business Management degree. A good degree from a well-known university will usually open many doors, but more often than not, it’s not enough.
To really stand out from other job applicants, you should take advantage of the opportunities offered as part of your degree programmes. These can include specialisations, international programmes, internships and placements to leadership and entrepreneurship courses, guest lectures, company visits, career advice and employability training. Doing well in your studies often starts with choosing the right course and university to help you achieve your goals.
About the Author
Iris Yuan is the Recruitment and Development Manager for Sunderland Business School and Sunderland Law School University of Sunderland.
Located in Northeast England beautiful seaside city, Sunderland is known as ‘International friendly university’. The University is a very well-respected UK university which combines academic excellence with fantastic student support and pastoral care.
Approximately 17 per cent of the students come from countries outside of the UK, and each year Sunderland welcome students from over 100 countries. The two Sunderland Campuses and the University of Sunderland in London are well located to provide students with a full and rewarding student experience, and Sunderland offer extensive opportunities and continued support when students graduate to help they stand out from
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