Back to business

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back to business 10 2 12Regardless of your current situation, business education could be the ideal avenue for you to learn practical knowledge built to encourage real-world success.

Whether your business is already up and running or you’re planning to kick-start an entrepreneurial venture in the near future, business education could your be your next career step. Essentially, business education allows you to learn from the experts and implement these newly acquired strategies in the everyday structure of your company. putting theory into practise.

The key with this avenue of education is that it’s an investment for the future: the skills that you acquire will continue to be at your disposal as your business grows and develops. In this tough economic climate, budgets may well be tight but there are courses and qualifications readily available that can be studied on a flexible basis.

The advent of distance-learning courses has made business education accessible to the masses and means that whatever your situation there’s likely to be something to fit your requirements. Furthermore, if you haven’t studied at degree level before, do not worry; there’s something to suit everyone no matter what level they are at.

BTEC in business

What? A BTEC National Diploma in Business is an ideal qualification if you’re looking to improve your basic skills and knowledge and with varying levels of diploma, there should be something to fit your individual needs. There are various versions on offer, but as an example, the QCF Level 3 Extended Diploma is the equivalent to three GCE A-Level passes, which can be used as an entry qualification to University degree courses if you’re interested in higher education.

Why? Such a diploma covers marketing, communication and management with optional modules that include accountancy, law, administration and other such fields, so you can cater your diploma to your career – and business – needs.

Entry requirements: You are not required to have experience in business to study for such a qualification, but if you do, this will in no way be a hindrance to your education. To study for a Level 3 BTEC National you must be at least 16 years of age and it is generally recommended that you have at least four A* to C-grade GCSEs or equivalent.

How long? A BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business will usually last for two years, but as with many qualifications there should be options to make your study more flexible and fit around your commitments which is likely to extend the length of study.

Did you know? In January 2011, Pearson – a learning company – revealed that more than 100,000 students were successful in applying to higher education after studying for a BTEC.

Where now? If you’re interested in the different business BTECs available, why not log on to Edexcel’s website:

Bachelor’s Degree

What? A Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration is an undergraduate degree that can either prepare you for further postgraduate study or benefit your professional business career. Frequently these undergraduate programmes provide an overview of business as well as offering the opportunity to specialise as the degree progresses.

Why? Studying an intensive degree course will provide you with all the necessary expertise and skills for a career in the business. Learning does not end there, of course, but undergraduate programmes will give you the rudimentary knowledge to develop within a business or perhaps even your own.

Entry requirements: An undergraduate degree means you need not have studied at higher education level already, but typically you will need to have three A-Level qualifications or equivalent as well as Maths and English at GCSE. Each institution will set their own requirements, however, so it’s best to look at specific universities.

How long? On a full-time basis, a Bachelor’s Business degree will last three years but there should be part-time or distance learning courses available. Many business degrees offer the opportunity to study in industry for a year on a placement, which will extend the programme to four years.

Did you know? It’s not just Business Administration that you can study. Many universities offer more specialised business-related degree programmes such as Human Resource Management, Business and Finance or Management and Marketing; so do your research and think carefully about what is going to benefit your career or business most.

Where next? Log onto (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’s website) to search for undergraduate business courses near you.


What? An MBA – or a Master’s of Business Administration – is a postgraduate degree in the key areas of business, covering management, finance, HR, accounting and marketing.

Why? It’s a great way to improve your business knowledge and the skills that you acquire throughout your MBA can be implemented into your job or your business with immediate effect. Not to mention that having an MBA under your belt is almost certainly likely to increase how much you earn. The most recent survey carried out by the Association of MBAs found that the average MBA salary is £66,500.

Entry requirements: Such a course requires a combination of previous degree-level study and prior work experience in a real business environment (typically at least three years). This is essential so that you can build on your practical knowledge through this type of business education.

How long? Studying an MBA can be flexible to fit around your commitments and your business needs. The typical length of a full-time MBA course is two academic years but there are part-time programmes available if you are interested in studying whilst you work. Many MBA courses also offer distance learning which enables students to study from the comfort of their own home or office (which is brilliant if you need to be able to study on an as-and-when basis).

Did you know? There’s even an Executive MBA (EMBA) for business managers and executives who usually have ten or more years’ experience in real-life business. It covers the same principle subjects as the MBA but tailors it to executive-level students.

Where next? Check out the Association of MBA’s website for more information on accredited programmes:

Business Balance

Achieving the correct balance between education, home life, and – in the case of part-time study, work – can often prove very challenging for individuals embarking upon business education. However, the difficulty of the situation is being improved by the introduction of technology with distance learning, allowing academia and employers to work more efficiently together in order to achieve the best possible all-round results.

Many students have championed the fact that online content is available 24 hours a day, which allows for maximum flexibility for students, which is imperative whilst many attempt to hold down a job at the same time. Advancements in education delivery allow institutions to cater to employees’ lack of time, in particular part-time courses offering immediate benefits.

Ahn Hong-Seok, CEO of Envisioner – a career consulting company in South Korea – comments on MBAs and EMBAs: “Although juggling work and studies can be tough, the executive can apply what he or she learns from the programs right away at work”.

Words: Jessie Bland

This article was first published in Your Business with James Caan in January 2012.

Image: Shutterstock

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