Subject Guide – Business

This guide is to be used alongside the Applying to Higher Education as an Adult information. If you are interested in studying Business at a higher level, and pursuing a career in this sector the following information will be useful as a starting point. You can then use the web links provided to find further information.

What can you study?

Business covers many different subject areas and can often be joined with management, finance, accounting, law and entrepreneurship. More theoretical courses will typically cover areas of economics, politics and sociology while other courses focus on the skills and practices you will need to perform business functions such as accounting, finance, marketing, logistics and human resources.

When choosing a specific Business course to study it’s important to remember to look closely at the actual modules or units each Higher Education Institute (HEI) are offering and not just the overall course title. Due to the breadth of the Business sector you may find that institutions offer the same course title but the actual course content focus may differ considerably.

It is also worth researching which courses have accreditation to professional bodies such as CIPD (The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) or AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and also the courses that offer work experience as part of the course. Both relevant work experience and professional accreditation will help you once you have finished the course and are looking for employment.

Entry requirements

  • Each institution will have their own entry requirements so it’s important to look up each individual’s institutions requirements before you apply
  • Looking at HEIs in London generally they ask for 60 credits overall, with 45 at level 3
  • In terms of tariff points not all institutions will accept tariff points but those that do tend to ask for around 112 tariff points. You can find the type of grade profiles this is equal to on Access by using the UCAS tariff calculator
  • Most will also ask for maths and English GCSE at grade 4 or above and some of the more competitive institutions will ask for a grade 5 or 6 (in particular in maths)
  • Higher tariff institutions may also ask that you have studied an Access to Business Diploma or a Social Sciences/Humanities Diploma, whereas other institutions do not mind which specific Access Diploma you gain.

Other requirements – in addition to the academic qualification you will need to in your personal statement:

  • Evidence from any work experience – and demonstrate how this has expanded your knowledge and how you can apply this to your HE course
  • Evidence from any work (part-time and full-time) – again demonstrate what you have learnt and how this is relevant to the course you are applying to. This could be something like gaining better communication skills which are invaluable for any course
  • Evidence from any life experiences that demonstrates the transferable skills you have. This could be something like managing your time well with family and study commitments.

Choosing the right course – alternative courses

If you decide not to apply to a Business course or have been unsuccessful in securing an offer you may want to look at alternative broadly related courses.

These courses may include:

  • Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism
  • Fashion Business
  • Management Studies
  • Retail Management
  • Advertising
  • Economics
  • Marketing

This is not an exhaustive list but will give you a flavour of what else you could consider, however for a fuller list you can search on the UCAS website which has a facility to search by broad subject areas:

Selection process – additional information to know

After you have submitted your application through UCAS, your application will be assessed by each institution you have applied to before they make a decision which you can view on your UCAS Track. Sometimes, but not always, you may be asked to go in for an informal interview. This will enable staff to access your suitability for the course but similarly provide you with an opportunity to see if the course is right for you.

Useful Resources/ web links

Federation of Small Businesses – FSB: A small non-profit organisation set up to support small businesses offering advice

Chartered Management Institute – CMI: An accredited professional institution for management. They encourage management development, produce publications and carry out research on management.

Institute of Leadership and Management –ILM: A professional membership body for leader and managers.

Business, management and administrative studies: Subject guide advice from UCAS.

Career advice from Prospects: Focusing on what careers you can do with a business degree.

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