This section will address how to select which program you should attend.
MOTIVATIONS FOR DEGREE
Business degrees at an undergraduate level aim to help you understand how organizations work. They incorporate concepts from a variety of fields, including theory from Economics, Politics and Sociology, and skills and practices from fields such as Accounting/Finance, Marketing, Human Resources and more. Additionally, within the field, there are a variety of specializations, ranging from entrepreneurship to Business Law.
What this degree entails
Sample course modules include organizational behavior, consumer behaviour, using finance in business, managerial economics, strategic marketing, human resources management, entrepreneurship and quantitative methods in information management. Additionally, other modules incorporate principles from other fields including, Economics, Accounting and Finance, Marketing, Management Science, Law, Sociology, or even a foreign language.
Business degree curricula tends to involve more vocational or practical work than other degrees. You will likely need to work with a team to create a company and/or market a product etc. Readings and theory will also be part of your studies, but practical work is usually more prominent. You may also be required to attend seminars, where you may look at a business case study and analyze it or present a case study as part of a group, etc.
Skills you will gain
- A comprehensive understanding of management, and how business works
- Strong leadership skills and ability to manage people
- A solid understanding of finance and the changing market
- Being well-versed in business and finance related issues
- Good communication and presentation skills
- Good team work skills.
According to UK based sources, graduates can work in many different roles like IT/Business Analysts, Market Researchers, Human Resource Officers, Management Consultants, Retail Managers etc. Additionally, other areas that graduates in the UK go to for work include wholesale and retail, professional/scientific/technical industries, financial and insurance sectors, administrative and support services, accommodation and food services.
It is important to remember that the field of business is not a specialist field like medicine or architecture -- when applying for jobs within the field, you will likely be competing against economics, history etc. graduates, who decided to pursue a career in business in the latter part of their degree. In this way, competition tends to be high for job positions.
Note: The careers mentioned above are based on information from UK-based sources, so they may be more relevant for UK citizens and the UK job market. This means that if you plan on working in the UK, as a non-UK (and non-EU) citizen, you may face different job prospects (as compared to UK and EU citizens). It also means that the job prospects in Pakistan may be different too -- for this, we recommend you to inquire and research about the career pathways this degree has to offer in the Pakistani job market.
TYPES OF DEGREE
In a nutshell, the following degrees are available for Business:
Both types of degrees usually last for 3 years. Some degrees/programs may have work placements and an option to spend up to a year of your studies to work in an industry (this may extend the duration of the degree, i.e. the degree may be extended to 4 years). For such placements, you will be allowed to work at a company (usually of your choice) for up to a year, rather than attend university. Note however that the university does not put you in a company -- you have to apply for opportunities and convince the employer to hire you. The university does provide support to you when you are applying though, the details of which you will find when you contact the specific universities.
The name of the degree depends on the university. Some universities may confer BA degrees in Business and others will confer BSc degrees in Business. Generally there would not be too much difference between the two, but you should definitely confirm this by visiting your prospective university website.
Within these main degree types, degrees can be either generalist or specialist. These are explained further below.
How to select the best option for yourself (among degrees/programs within this field)
Business programs can be offered as generalized or specialized programs. If you are interested in studying a range of business areas, you should opt for a generalized program, which can include the following names:
- Business studies: If you opt for such a program, in the first and possibly the second year, you will likely study a wide range of business areas such as accounting, finance, economics, marketing, business law, organizational behaviour, HR and more. Then some universities allow you to take more specialized courses in the second and third year, depending on the areas within the field that interest you and that you want to pursue further. Some programs/universities also allow you to change the name of your degree depending on this specialized area -- for example, if you decide to specialize in marketing in the later part of your degree, then the title of the degree when you graduate will be ‘Business Studies with Marketing’, as opposed to ‘Business Studies’. Please note, however, that all programs do not allow this (specialization and/or changing the program title), so you should check out program details when researching, for this.
- Business Management, Management or Business Administration: Such programs are similar to Business Studies, except that they tend to focus more on the management aspect of business and on the use of maths during decision making.
If you want to study a particular aspect or subfield of Business, then you can opt for a relevant specialist degree/program. The section below highlights some of the specializations within Business that you can pursue.
When researching various programs you can look for the following things, depending on your study/career goals:
- Whether the program has work placements.
- Whether the program has any employer involvement -- this can be in the form of employers coming to the university and giving seminars, or students participating in employers’ project.
- The amount of practical vs academic work the program involves -- if you want more practical work during your studies then you can opt for programs that offer more of this.
- Does the university participate in any business opportunities, for example business competitions, support for student start-ups or career fairs etc.
- Does the university provide any other opportunities for skill development, such as university clubs or societies where you can take up roles such as treasurer or fundraising -- these can then help you when applying for jobs after graduation.
How to select the best option for yourself (among specializations and sub-fields within this field)
As mentioned above, some programs offer specialist degrees, aimed at people who know exactly the sub-field they want to study and later pursue during their career. Such programs have course content that largely focuses on the specialization.
Note that some specialist programs offer a variety of modules in the first year and allow you to change your program in the second year if you decide to pursue a different area of study. Many students in their undergraduate study change their mind about the areas that interest them after studying various sub-fields or areas in Business. If you are unsure about the specialization or want the option of changing your mind during your study, then you should look out for such programs.
Career prospects wise, some employers may ask for specialist degrees -- for example, if you are applying for a Marketing-related job, then some employers may prefer or require a specialist degree in Marketing. However, do not force yourself to take a specialist degree out of fear of the job market. It is easier to explain to employers why you opted for a general business degree and then decided on a specialization, as opposed to pursuing a specialization you ended up not liking and then changing your career path afterwards -- for example, specializing in Business analytics and then explaining to employers why you are applying to a job later that has nothing to do with it.
If you are interested in Business, you can also consider going through the following tip sheets on the website:
- Management Sciences
- No. of universities to apply to: You will be able to apply to a maximum of five schools of your choice on UCAS. Note: you can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge.
Here are some links that could help you with selection:
- UNISTATS: you can go through this link to compare different universities and their courses in Business (based on overall student satisfaction, work placement etc.).
- Business and Management Studies - Top UK Universities Subject Table and Rankings - 2019 -- please note that the ranking of a university should not be the only factor considered when choosing universities. Though the rank is an important thing to keep an eye out for, there are many other things that you should consider when choosing amongst universities/programs (some of which is explained above in the ‘Program Selection’ section).
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on program selection (under the tab of ‘selection’).
A lot of our tips talk about how you can strengthen your application, but you can build a stronger application when you’ve done the things this program values in the years prior to the application. The application itself is the communication part (in which you communicate what you've done to the admission committee); but this section gives guidance on the substance part (what you can actually do before you apply). In this section we talk about what you can do in the years leading up to applying that can make you an ideal candidate. Supplement the following tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘Pre-Application’) to become a competitive applicant.
Generally, there are no specific subject requirements for Business courses (some Management degrees may require Mathematics occasionally). Recommended subjects include: Business Studies, Economics, History, English Literature and Mathematics. Other subjects (A-Levels) that Business students have taken in the past (according to UK sources) include: IT, General Studies, Geography.
Note: this is just a general guideline. Specific requirements may vary by university/course. It is recommended that you visit your prospective university website to find out what its requirements are for business/management courses.
While the exact requirement will vary by university and specific course, you can expect requirements for top-tier universities to be around 3 As. The most competitive schools may also require specific grades in specific subjects (e.g. an A in Mathematics). The middle-ranked universities will have more lenient requirements. Lower-ranked universities will have lower requirements. Generally required grades tend to vary between AAB-CCC. Note: this is a general guideline; to find out the exact requirements for the course(s) you are interested in, please visit the course website.
It is advised that you aim for the best grades possible - since your internal transcript and A-level result, both, are very important for the admissions committee. Although some universities may be willing to accommodate students whose A-level results are a grade or so lower than their conditional offer, you should still aim to meet your condition.
The typical IB requirement will be between XX-XX points. If you are hoping to apply to the most competitive places, you should aim to get a score of XX points or more. For the middle-tier universities, you will typically need a score between XX-XX. Lower-ranked universities will have lower requirements. It is highly recommended that you visit your prospective course website to find out what the exact entry requirements are.
If you have done something other than A-Level or IB, contact your prospective university to find out what their requirements for your system are, or visit the international qualifications page. Note: some universities may not accept or list the HSSC as an acceptable requirement. In this situation, please contact the admissions department to find out how you can meet the university entry requirements.
In case you do not meet the entry requirements or have not studied the right subjects, do not worry. A number of universities offer foundation courses, which you can apply for if you do not meet the entry requirements. Foundation courses are typically one-year long and require full-time study -- they aim to train you so that you are prepared for undergraduate-level study. Once the foundation year has been successfully completed, students can usually move directly into the standard course.
Note: if you opt for a foundation year, it will take you an extra year to complete your degree (1 year of the foundation course + 3 years of original degree). Refer to the UK country profile for more information on foundation years.
While research experience is not required, it is definitely encouraged (especially if you want to apply to top-tier programs). Try to take some time out to engage more with your area of academic interest. Read literature (i.e. articles, journals, books or blogs) that are relevant to your area of interest, and explore the area further. Anything that is relevant to your study will help your application.
Resources for Reading:
- You can consider reading well-known magazines like The Economist, Financial Times, or Bloomberg Businessweek. In addition to that, you can also try to read the newspaper regularly and remain in touch with current economic/business-related affairs.
- You should also go through this list of Economics and Business books - and try to read some of them.
Professional work is usually not a requirement for applying, but it could help your overall application. Doing an internship in a consultancy or in a corporate firm could add very positively to your application, since you will be able to gain many relevant skills and firsthand insight into how businesses operate. This, in turn, can inform your studies -- the skills or general experience of working in a professional setting can help you develop fresh ideas and may allow you to give input during class debates or discussions. Additionally, such experience can also help you get an idea about business as a field and about areas you like or dislike within it. In this way, through this exposure, you can start thinking about a potential career path.
It is recommended that you visit your prospective university website to find out what sort of professional experience they encourage/require their applicants to have (if applicable).
Volunteer work, again, is not a stated requirement for applying for undergraduate study in Business. But it could contribute positively to your application. You may be able to gain some important transferable skills through volunteer work (like communication skills, or the ability to manage/lead people etc.) which are very important in a business degree.
If there is an Economics or Business or Mathematics society in your school, you should definitely try to join it. Try to participate in Economics/Business competitions or in Maths Olympiads. Try to enrich your current knowledge by participating in activities relevant to Business outside the classroom. Participating in school-level or university-level Business competitions can also be very useful.
This section provides an overview of general guidelines pertaining to the application process. It also delineates the key components of the application process.
Refer to the Program Selection Section for further information.
Is this component required?
How important is this component (in the overall review of the application for admission)?
Standardized tests or entry exams
University-specific entry tests: may be required
Standardized tests: required
Entry tests: Very important when required
Standardized tests: important
Transcripts (past academic records)
Letters of recommendation
Resume or CV
May be required
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on overview (under the tab of ‘overview’).
Pakistani applicants suffer most because of inadequate information -- or wrong information -- about essays and personal statements. This section will address those inadequacies specifically in relation to applying for this program. Supplement the following field-specific tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘essay’) to craft a stellar personal statement.
Writing your personal statement can seem like an intimidating task, but you need not worry. As long as you can plan ahead and make sure you have enough time to write several drafts, you will be able to write a strong personal statement.
You will be required to submit one personal statement to the 5 universities you are applying to via UCAS. In your essay, you will need to display your enthusiasm for and knowledge of the subject in just 4000 characters -- meaning you will have to be concise and to-the-point in your writing. Your main aim is to explain to the admissions committee why you should study Business/Management at the undergraduate level, and what academic experiences have led you to this decision.
TIPS ON GOOD AND BAD STATEMENTS
(Information for this section has been extracted from Which? University)
What is essential in the statement:
- While it is important for you to talk about your relevant academic achievements, you also need to talk about your motivation and ambitions: how and why have you decided to apply for this particular course? How will you contribute to the learning environment, and what do you hope to gain from it?
- There are certain qualities that some admissions tutors try to look for in their applicants, so it is important that you try to display these. You should try to give evidence of the following: being an independent learner, a thinker, a doer, an innovator/potential entrepreneur, a good communicator (with strong presentation skills) and someone who has an interest in the business world. Other important skills include: teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, goal attainment. If you can give evidence of these skills, or demonstrate that you possess them, it should add positively to your overall application.
- Some admissions committees also encourage applicants to talk about whatever they are passionate or enthusiastic about. For instance, if you have an opinion on a current business issue (e.g. the revival of a fashion brand, or the bankruptcy of a company), you can talk about it, and link it to why you wish to study this subject further.
- Admissions committees appreciate applicants who seem to have an entrepreneurial or business flair. If you are someone who enjoys identifying and solving business-related problems or have an entrepreneurial inclination (or experience), you should show that in your personal statement,
- Research the course: you need to tell the admissions committee why this particular course interests you. How have you found it relevant to your current studies? What experiences (additional reading//activities outside the classroom or inside the classroom) have compelled you to apply?
- Your personal statement needs to be well-written, well-structured, and well-organized. There should also be no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in your statement.
- It is also important that your personal statement represents you: you should try to write in an original and unique manner. Your opening line will be important, make sure it says something about your enthusiasm and aptitude. You need to be able to display your personality and interest in Business while keeping your tone objective and formal.
- Relevant experience: it is very important to reflect on any business-related experience you have had (i.e. internships, part-time jobs, business competitions etc.). But make sure you avoid listing your experience. You need to talk about what you gained from this experience -- how it helped you develop your skills and gain confidence? You need to personalize your experience: “Try to think of specific occasions or unique ways that you have demonstrated your potential, or maybe something you have observed about customer behaviour, management styles or an effective (or ineffective) marketing campaign”. You should also try to link your observations to something you have learned in your classes (like business, economics, psychology) or read in a business publication (like the Financial Times, Economist etc. -- go through the Pre-App, Research Section for more information). You can also talk about important transferable skills you have gained from extracurricular activities.
- It will also help if you can show that you have a range of interests outside of academic study.
What are bad statements/ what things to avoid:
- Bad grammar, sentence structure
- Over-the-top, very creative or flowery language
- Exaggeration or incorrect claims
his section will cover the basics about recommendation letters, which are one of the most important parts of the application process. Supplement the following field-specific tips with general tips (under the tab of ‘recommendations’) to ensure you have strong letters of recommendation.
You will be required to submit 1 letter of recommendation when applying for a degree in this field. Your reference should ideally know you academically and should be able to speak to your work ethic, how you interact with other students, and your ability to fare well in university (in a Business course). Keeping this in mind, you should try to request your high school (A-level, FSc, IB) Business/Management teacher to write you a recommendation letter. If you are applying to a Joint Honours course, you could also request a teacher who has taught you the second subject to write you a reference.
- Before requesting your recommenders for LoR, go over the following links carefully:
This section will cover everything else related to the application process; including transcripts, interviews, resumes, and standardized tests.
Some courses will have interviews, some may not. To find out what your prospective course does, please visit its website. The website will typically list what you can expect to be asked in the interview - so if you get an interview, make sure you to go through the instructions specified on the website.
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on preparing for interviews (under the tab of ‘interview’).
Some universities may ask you to submit a resume. If your university requires this, please follow the instructions given.
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on building a resume (under the tab of ‘Resume/CV’).
As an international applicant, you will be required to take English language proficiency tests. Most universities will allow you to choose between the TOEFL and IELTS -- websites will also state the minimum score you require (in individual reading, writing, speaking and listening components; and overall) to be considered for admission.
It is advised that you take the test well before your application deadline, to ensure that your score is sent to your prospective university at the required time.
Some courses at certain universities (Cambridge and Oxford usually) may require applicants to take admission tests. If you are asked to take a test, make sure you are well-prepared as it will be fundamental to your selection. For more specific information, visit the university-specific websites.
Complement the above field-specific tips with general tips on preparing for standardized tests (under the tab of ‘tests’).
These tips were compiled with the valuable help of SHAHEEN volunteers.
We thank our volunteers for their contribution, and hope their tips and advice help you in your application.
The following sources were consulted in developing this tip-sheet and we encourage you to consult these sources for additional information and guidance on your application.
Furthermore, the following sources were also consulted in developing this tip-sheet: Which University - Personal Statement, Which University - Subject Guide, UCAS, Which University - A Level Subjects, Sheffield Blog, DLD College, Types of business degrees, Business and Management degrees, Best universities for business degrees, Guide to studying business and management studies, Your guide to Business degrees and careers and Business and Management studies ranking