Business and Finance Education in the UK

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Business and finance
The range of management, business and finance courses in the United Kingdom (UK) is huge. There are courses in business administration, finance, business management, business law, European and international business, and economics. You can focus on areas such as decision-making, marketing, managing change or customer services, and your course can be specialist or broad-based. For more information on specific subjects please refer to the subject sheets in this series on Accountancy, on Management and on the Master of Business Administration (MBA). Checklist: Why study business and finance in the United Kingdom?

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The UK has a long tradition as a trading, financial and business centre, and a reputation for educating international students to a high standard in business and financial studies. The UK’s business, management and accountancy schools are world-renowned and closely linked with commerce and industry. More management students are educated in the UK than in the rest of Europe put together. UK qualifications are recognised all over the world. They can lead to a wide range of career options when you return home. The UK has universities and colleges specialising in business and finance in all areas of the country. Many of them have invested heavily in developing state-of-the-art learning facilities and attracting high-quality staff. The opportunity to improve your fluency in English will improve your job prospects and help both you and your employer develop international links.

1 What do I need to think about?
You must first determine what your existing qualifications and experience enable you to do. And secondly you should decide where your ambition lies. Your answers to the following questions will help you reach a decision.

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Are you keen on a career-based vocational course that will allow you to progress to a higher level, or perhaps return home better prepared for the world of managerial work? Do you need an access course which will serve as a foundation for more advanced study, or permit you to increase your language proficiency so that you can gain from further study? Do you want a three or four year BA or BSc course, or a two year foundation degree, to gain both academic and practical skills? Do you need a postgraduate Masters programme (MA, MSc) that will serve as a foundation either for doctoral study or prepare you for enhanced work in a functional area of management?

2 What can I study?
What work-based courses are available?

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National qualifications (for example, GNVQs, NVQs and SVQs) in business or retail and the distributive services, which last one or two years (see Choosing a work-based training course in this series) Vocational A-levels in business or retail and the distributive services, lasting one or two years BTEC/Edexcel National Diplomas in a range of business-related subjects, usually lasting two years BTEC/Edexcel Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) in a range of business-related subjects, usually lasting two years.

Where can I study these courses?
NVQs and vocational A-level courses are available at most further education colleges, which are located throughout the UK. BTEC/Edexcel Diplomas are also available at these colleges. Higher National Diplomas are available at some further education colleges and universities, where success on the two-year course can lead directly on to the final year of a degree course.

What undergraduate degree courses are available?
There are four types of course available:

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access courses, usually one year, which provide an alternative route into higher education for students who lack standard entry requirements Higher National Diplomas (HND) in business studies (two years), which can lead on to the final year of an honours degree foundation degrees, normally lasting two years, in subjects including business, e-business, marketing, business IT and retail...
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