Should I go off and study business at university? That is the question many young potential business owners ask themselves before plunging into the great big world of business management.
Before deciding for yourself, it is probably a wise choice to go through the details surrounding the course you’re looking at studying, and even hearing out the opinions and advice from others. If you have found yourself reading this article you’re likely doing just that.
The recent statistics
In 2018–19, there were 2.38 million students studying at UK higher education institutions.
- Undergraduate: 1.80 million
- Postgraduate: 0.59 million
- Full time: 1.88 million
- Part time: 0.5 million
- Students from the UK: 1.9 million
- Students from the EU: 0.14 million
- Students from non-EU countries: 0.34 million
We’ll now take you through the positive and negative aspects of studying business at university and how a degree may either help or hinder you along the way.
There are many unique positives to take from studying a degree in business, and though these will slightly differ depending on the type of course you take part in, they are pretty universal when it comes to business-related degrees.
Looks good on a CV –
A lot of people go to university these days to study up on the field of work they wish to enter in the not-too-distant future. It is often seen as a launch pad that can lead you into a field of work you’re passionate about, or have a particular interest in. The options are pretty much limitless as you can study just about anything now.
Whether or not university will actually land you your dream job is another matter, but it certainly doesn’t harm your chances in finding employment. So, if you’re looking to work for a company before going on to run your very own, you may want to get the degree in the bag first. Just make sure you’re choosing a course that you’ll enjoy and actually learn something useful from.
If an employee sees a relevant degree listed on your resume, they will at the very least understand that can commit to something and work hard to accomplish personal goals. Employees are always on the hunt for hard-working and determined individuals, so it may help you to land a job you’re keen on getting.
It will increase the size of your social groups
The chances are while you are studying at university, you’ll make a whole group of new friends. These peers you start to develop relationships with will likely have similar interests to you and end up working in a similar field, simply due to you all being on the same course. With that in mind, you should try to consider the fact that these friendships will probably be long lasting and could even help you along the way in your career.
Having someone, or a group of people, to compare situations with may help you to problem solve when you start to run your own personal business venture for example. You may even end up working with these people, or hire them to work for you, as they’ll be people you trust and individuals you know have a high amount of knowledge in your chosen subject area. This could in turn help you to progress through the industry you choose to work within and potentially eventually become a market leader.
While we are in this point, it is worth us pointing out to you that having a helping hand to fall back on somewhat is essential in the business world. Often new and upcoming entrepreneurs need a supportive cast of characters around them, so they don’t begin to doubt themselves and lose faith in their ideas the second something doesn’t go their way. Having a group of like-minded friends and colleagues to help you through the tougher times will certainly be helpful at the very least.
It can make you a more ambitious school student
If you have the goal of making it to university to study your dream course and hopefully go onto your ideal career path, you’ll probably find yourself knuckling down and trying harder to achieve better grades at school than you otherwise would. This can give you a boosted chance to perform better and ultimately receive better university course offers.
The goal for any student should be to do as well as possible, but motivation can often be lost, and it can be difficult to view the bigger picture at such a young age. Therefore, by creating the goal of going to university and graduating with a Bachelor Honours, you’ll create a target you can aim at and lay out goals that you can hopefully go on to achieve.
Also, if you have gone through school as a highly motivated individual who wishes to achieve the highest grades possible, the chances are you’ll carry this mindset on towards your degree studies and once again aim to be awarded with the greatest possible grade. This lays out some good groundwork for you to begin your studies at and really get you going on the way to starting your career in business.
You learn about the industry from professionals –
The tutors that will be leading your lectures and seminars will most likely be industry professionals, with a wealth of experience under their belts. This means they will be able to share their stories of working in the industry you hope to work in, tell you exactly how they got to where they are today, and how difficult it is to progress with your own business ideas.
It will be hard to gain this knowledge anywhere else unless your parents or peers are business owners themselves. This is something that many people consider to be a deciding factor when choosing whether or not to study a university course.
You can begin to build up a network –
People you meet throughout your degree, be it fellow students, tutors with valuable industry experience, or others that have a strong business head on their shoulders, will all help you to build up a network. These individuals will be able to guide you onto the right career path, compare situations with you and even possibly work alongside you in the future.
The practical element of business university courses will allow you to meet real life business owners and leaders of teams. You will get the chance to ask them questions and learn from their past mistakes within the industry before making them yourself. This could give you the heads up you need to succeed with your own small business venture.
The potential negatives
There are most certainly negatives about studying business degrees at university, therefore you should consider and look over them, just as much as the positive aspects.
There is no doubting that if you go to university now, you’ll end up doing the vast majority of your lectures online, not meeting up with students or tutors in a face to face environment, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This means that as of right now, you won’t be getting the full university experience that is so valuable to so many young people across the United Kingdom.
Try to remember that university will likely be one of the best times of your life, as it can be rewarding and life-changing for many people. With that in mind, perhaps holding off another year or two may be the right decision for you, if you’re wanting those uni-life experiences.
Do you need the degree? –
Are you actually in need of the business degree you’re going to pay £9000+ a year to study? The truth is that anyone can start their own business, just as long as they have the right amount of funds and a strong idea. So, no you are not required to have a degree in order to start your own business venture. Think very carefully about what you’ll actually gain from the degree if your main goal in life is to simply own your own business.
It puts you in instant debt
Student loans and course fees all build up and place you in a rather deep amount of debt the second you graduate from university. You’ll begin to pay this back just as soon as you reach the earnings minimum, which is currently £26,575 a year. You’ll be paying back 9% of your income above the repayment threshold. So, if you earn less than this you won’t have to repay anything back, but at the end of the day you’re likely studying a business degree with the hopes that you’ll go on to earn considerably more than this.
For example, if you earn £2,250 a month before tax, you’ll repay £3 a month. This is because £2,250 is £36 above the monthly threshold of £2,214, and 9% of £36 is £3.
It can almost feel like a bit of a punishment for being successful in your business career, but the same could be said for anyone who has studied a degree in any chosen subject area. This may put some people off of studying at university and look as if it places you in instant financial peril, but the choice will be solely yours to make.
Is the right course currently available to you? –
You need to be sure that the right course is actually available to you when you’re applying to multiple universities. Don’t just get onto any old business degree course for the sake of it; consider what it is you want to study and look for a niche that applies directly to you. Do you want to run your own company? Do you want to work in a management role somewhere else? Find out what you’re really searching for before going out and selecting a course that isn’t right for you.
University will at the very least be a three-year commitment, so consider if it’s the right choice for you before getting caught up a creek without a paddle.
What can you do with a business degree?
There are many things you can do after achieving your degree in Business Studies, but it can take a lot of luck along the way if you’re hoping to reach the highest of heights.
The truth is that business degrees can help you along the way in almost every sector you’d ever be able to think of. Corporate business careers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but can commonly be found within the banking and financial sectors, consultancy, human resources and marketing roles.
Business Studies qualifications, such as university degrees, can often help to lead people into entry level jobs, at the very start of their chosen career path. Also, people a little further down the line who have the desire to go out and get themselves a degree deep into their career, will often find that it helps them to achieve a promotion they’ve been longing for, or move to a different job which offers them a better salary.
After completing your business degree you can move into further education and gain a Masters level qualification if you should desire to do so. Commonly found postgraduate programs include Masters Level Management, Masters in Finance and Masters in Business Administration. Again, this will be dependent on what you’re looking to use your qualification for and how much time you’d ideally like to spend in education.
Typical careers with a business degree
You shouldn’t see a business degree as a one-way route to leadership roles in either a company you already work for, or a business that you’ve had your eyes on for a while, it can be used in so many other ways, too. Don’t be confused, as upon gaining a degree in a business-related subject area, you often will find management positions being more widely available to you, but it is not the be all and end all of earning your undergraduate degree.
Good business and management skills are key elements of any profitable company, and therefore effective leaders, strategic thinkers and financial experts are all in great demand. Big or small, global or local, companies all over the world are looking for business graduates, with the demand increasing year after year. So, earning yourself a degree qualification now may be far more useful than you may think.
Careers in Management
Becoming a manager is a tough job that’s packed with huge responsibilities and long working hours. The upside is that you’ll likely earn a lot more money after going into a managerial position, as well as being met with many opportunities for career progression or even a career U-turn, if that is something you should desire later down the line. Managers can be found across all industries and fields, and their job is to provide structure and strategy to a workplace.
Because of the responsibility of management roles, it’s unlikely you’ll find this sort of job being made available to you without first gaining a degree or a number of years of mid-level work experience. Despite this, business graduates are well-placed to become managers later on in life, and with determination and steady career progression an additional degree may not be necessary. If you want a management position at some stage of your business career, first gaining a degree is a great place to start.
Careers in business consultancy
Another position that many business graduates find themselves in is business consultancy roles. This means working as part of a varied team, combining your business expertise and analytical skills in order to provide advice to other companies and cliental. This will usually involve focusing on how to optimize a specific project or part of the business on behalf of your client. Projects and clients will almost certainly vary widely, ensuring plenty of fresh challenges to get to grips with. You may even specialise in a particular type of business, combining your business knowledge with a second field of interest, such as engineering or logistics.
How will a business degree help me in the future?
As we have already mentioned, a degree in Business Studies may well help you to land a job and start your career. It may also aid you in understanding more about what it takes to run a business, so if you’re considering on starting your own venture, you may gain some essential knowledge from studying a Business Management course at uni.
It may also inform you that running a business isn’t actually something you’d like to do, which can be equally as important as discovering that it is indeed your passion. It may seem like a lot of money to spend on something that only informs you on what you don’t want to get into, but it may end up saving you more time and money in the process; you wouldn’t be wasting finances on starting up a business you aren’t passionate about or committed to.
Also, you should keep in mind that you can use your business degree for other things. Maybe it will help you to get a promotion at work into a management position, or perhaps it’ll open doors for you that you aren’t even thinking of right now; in terms of employment you may well be selected by an interviewer over someone else simply because you have a degree to your name.