What business degrees are there and where can they take you?

09 July 2018 | University Advice | Guest Author

If you’ve been looking into studying a business-related degree at university, you might be feeling overwhelmed with the number of possible courses out there. From International Business, to Marketing and Media, how do you know which one is right for you? Together with Northumbria University clearing, we look at the broad types of business degrees out there, which career path they take you down, and how to decide which one to apply for.

International Business

The purpose of an International Business degree is to extend your cultural knowledge in a business environment.

Many universities teach you about cultural differences and encourage you to appreciate them when making business and operation decisions. It’s likely you’ll be taught the theory behind international business and become familiar with the challenges that businesses face when they operate across many countries. This understanding allows you to be able to communicate with a range of audiences on a global scale.

If you’re interested in travel or working in another country as part of a multinational company, a degree in International Business is a good choice. Many universities offer the opportunity to study or work abroad too, allowing you to further your cultural understanding.

When it comes to applying for jobs with this degree, multinational corporations value the broad mindset that you gain as it allows you to work with individuals and companies from other countries and understand the way that they do business. Graduates of this degree are sought after by international banks, recruitment agencies and most large corporations. The roles that they undertake can vary, but often International Business equips students for a role in supply chain management, marketing and business management.

Marketing

Marketing degrees are designed to provide you with the skills to identify relevant target markets, decide on appropriate communication plans and be able to recognise the best way for a company to reach their audience.

Marketing degrees come in a range of choices and you’ll often find that the title of the course is accompanied with something else. For example, this might be Media and Marketing, Marketing and Communications, or Marketing and Management. Although you’ll cover the Marketing essentials in all of these, look at which degree would be suitable for your interests and the career path you’d like to take.

In the first year of a Marketing course, it’s common for students to be familiarised with the basics of Marketing theory and business operations. After this, you will be able to specialise into areas of interest through specific courses. This might be to do with product development or learning how to market for a specific sector.

A degree in Marketing can open a lot of doors for you in terms of career opportunities. From a Social Media Manager to an Account Executive or PR Assistant, the subject is relevant in a range of fields. Also keep in mind that many businesses have their own Marketing department which you could be a part of. This means that you could find yourself in any industry — perhaps choose one that you’re already interested in like sport or travel, or go into an agency role for all-round experience.

Over 50% of employed Marketing graduates were working as marketing associate professionals six months after graduating — showing that students with this degree are employable.

Business Management

Business Management again provides you with a solid understanding of business operations but also equips you for, as the title suggests, a management role. Like in marketing, all companies have a management department and therefore you have many options as to where to take your career with a degree in this field.

There is a focus on understanding behaviour in an organisation and how the structure of a business works in terms of management and hierarchy. You’ll learn the theory behind these topics too and look at real-life case studies of successful and unsuccessful operations.

It’s likely you’ll cover economics, accounting and research topics to give you the ability to put a company into context and understand the effects of external change and how to manage these internally.

As with most business degrees, you’ll be presented with the opportunity to undertake a year in an industry role. Useful positions related to this degree would be in Human Resources or Business Operations, but most business-related roles will put your learning into practise.

Economics

Economics is all about studying the allocation of resources. Broadly, you’ll learn about micro and macroeconomics — micro being where you study economics at an individual, group or company level and macroeconomics being when you study the national economy. To get into an Economics degree, A-levels in Maths, History and Politics help as these provide real-world perspective that’s useful when learning Economics.

The main focus of an Economics degree is to develop problem-solving skills and statistical techniques whilst being able to apply this knowledge in a business context. Once you reach the end of this degree, you should be comfortable with working with and manipulating numbers and be familiar with innovative ways to overcome micro and macro issues.

This degree leads to careers such as Data Analyst, Actuarial Analyst and Chartered Accountants. If you’d like to work towards a career in finance, Economics is a good place to start.

Accounting and Finance

Accounting and Finance are subjects that are often taught together but you will find universities that offer solely Accounting degrees too.

You can expect to cover topics such as taxation law, financial reporting and auditing in an accountancy degree. Understandably, you need to enjoy and be comfortable with spending time with numbers and an A-level in Maths would be helpful.

After graduating with a degree in Accounting, careers paths you could follow include a Chartered Accountant, Management Accountant and working in an accountancy firm, building society or insurance company. Some companies manage their funds and accounts in-house, therefore you could end up in a range of industries.

Business with…

Most business degrees begin their first year with similar courses — this is to ensure a solid understanding of business operations, finance and theory before specialising. After this, students can choose an area that they’d like to focus on and develop their knowledge in. However, you might know which area you want to specialise in from the start, and there are some degrees that offer business with another subject. Examples of these include:

  • Languages — Develop your business and cultural understanding skills by learning another language. This might be possible to study as a module, or as a joint degree.
  • Law — After completing a business degree, you can take a law conversion course to get into this field. Or, get ahead of the game with a Business with Law degree and be on your way to a career in corporate law.
  • Entrepreneurship — This is about letting your entrepreneurial side shine, and often modules in this subject can be taken although there are degrees that focus on developing your creative flair.
  • Logistics — This joint degree would prepare you for a career in supply chain management and business operations.
  • Others — Each university might offer their own combined business degrees, from hospitality and tourism management, to computer science.

Although those are the main types of Business degree, there are hundreds of degrees out there. Make sure you carry out plenty of research to find one suitable for you and your career path.

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