Let’s get down to business…


Dream of having your own business empire like Lord Sugar? Fancy yourself as Scotland’s answer to advertising king Don Draper? Aspire to be the next generation’s Michelle Mone? Whatever your ambitions, studying business at university might be one way of getting a head start…

Sharp suits, briefcases, important meetings, plenty of challenges and the potential for big money – let’s be honest, working in the business world could be pretty cool. Whether you fancy your chances in management, PR, marketing, economics, human resources or accounts, this is one sector with lots of options, numerous opportunities and the chance to work your way to the top. A business degree could be just the thing to get you started. Interested? We have the answers to all your questions…

What do you mean by ‘business’?

A business is an organisation which trades goods or services with consumers, meaning it overlaps into loads of different industries. From retail to politics, charities to banking, there are hundreds of roles behind the scenes which make these organisations work.

It sounds pretty varied. How can you study all of it?

Scotland’s business schools offer a wide range of subjects linked to the business world. Rural business management, management science, marketing, hospitality, finance, human resource management – there are plenty of course options to choose from which can take you down different routes.

Many degrees start off with a more general first year, taking in a vast variety of business areas, such as economics, introduction to marketing and basic accounts, before becoming more specialised in second or third year. Prior to applying for any courses, do your research on the course structure and its flexibility, see what previous students have to say and make the most of open day events.

What do I need to get accepted?

Entry requirements depend on the degree and the establishment. Entry to Strathclyde’s business school – which is the only Scots uni ranked in the top 100 worldwide by the Financial Times – varies from AAAA at Higher level for accounting to AAAB for finance, business law or management science. Business studies at Abertay, on the other hand, asks for BBC, while accounting and finance at Edinburgh is after BBBB. Check out the UCAS course search for the latest entry requirements at www.ucas.com.

If your Highers don’t quite go how you’d wanted but you’d still like to do a degree, don’t panic. Lots of universities are starting to link up with colleges, allowing those who succeed at HND to progress to the second or third year of a degree. For instance, Cardonald, Reid Kerr and Stow College allow HND business students to go into the third year of the BA courses in business studies, human resource management or international marketing at UWS.

What sort of job could a degree get me?

You could use your degree to become a copywriter for an ad agency, work in PR for the government, become an accountant for a national firm, manage a pioneering project for an international charity or even study business alongside a language to get overseas – the opportunities really are endless.

There’s also the option of taking the skills you’ve learned to start your own business. With an original idea and some money behind you, you might become the next big thing in business. The founders of Morphsuits are all graduates of business courses at the University of Edinburgh, and their company is now supplying fancy dress costumes for partygoers across the world while raking in big bucks.

Will I actually get a job?

Because a business degree gives you loads of transferable skills – such as team work, organisation, management and creative thinking – it makes you a very attractive prospect to employers.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, since the economic downturn hit Britain, the job situation is difficult for graduates of all disciplines. However, graduates in business-related subjects seem to be faring slightly better than most, with prospects.ac.uk saying that 76% of marketing graduates are in full-time employment six months after graduation. That’s slightly above the average for all graduates at 67%.

How can I get started?

Work hard! Get some work experience with local companies – write to them asking if you’d be able to go in during the holidays to find out what different departments do. Not only will this look great on your UCAS application, but it’ll give you some real insight into what the business world is really like.

If you mean business, a degree could be a great starting point to a long, successful career. Just don’t forget to thank us when you get appointed CEO of a multi-million pound company…

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