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What are postgraduate courses in business?

Doing a postgraduate course in business can gain you one of a variety of qualifications – diplomas, masters and doctorate degrees – and you can study a range of subjects, from the classic Masters of Business Administration (MBA) to the very niche, such as an MSc in Disaster Management or Airport Management.

Who is eligible for a postgraduate course in business?

This very much depends on the course in question. A significant number of postgraduate courses in business will require you to have some experience (two years is the usual) of working life before you apply, in addition to possessing a first degree. In some sectors, such as consulting, for example, it is common for a graduate to join a graduate consulting scheme straight after university and then, after a few years in the job, undertake an MBA or other postgraduate course in business to develop and specialise their business skills – sometimes their employer will even sponsor this.

Some postgraduate courses in business will not require you to have work experience but will expect you to have a first degree in a specific subject. Postgraduate courses in subjects such as accounting and finance, for example, will usually require you to have a first degree in accounting, finance or business management. Some postgraduate courses in business merely require the possession of a first degree in any subject. It is vital that you check you are eligible to apply for the course you’re interested in.

Will a postgraduate course in business give me a career advantage?

Unlike sectors such as law or teaching, which require you to do postgraduate study in order to progress with your career, most employers in the business sector do not expect you to have more than a first degree when you apply for a graduate business role. It is likely that even if you possess a higher degree you will start your job on a par with the graduate intake. However, your degree may have equipped you with specialist knowledge which will mean you have more confidence in the workplace, and could possibly progress more easily than those who have not undertaken further study. If you have a specific employer in mind, it could be a good idea to speak to them about their views on postgraduate business courses.

What to consider when choosing a postgraduate business course

If you’ve decided that a postgraduate course in business is for you and you’re trying to weigh up which course would suit you best, make sure you investigate the following:

  • the institution’s reputation and facilities
  • its teaching and research ratings
  • the course content and structure
  • the destinations of previous students (this information should be readily available from the institution)
  • does the institution have good industry links, offer work experience and networking opportunities?
  • does the course/institution rate highly with any employers you have in mind?
  • accreditation – if it’s an MBA you’re considering, make sure the institution you’re considering is accredited by one of these three main bodies: the Association of MBAs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).