Business or Economics?Watch
Looking at studying business (management) or economics, but am unsure which degree would be best for finance related jobs. Due to entry requirements, I am looking at applying for Economics at Reading and Kent (non russel group) and Business Management at Exeter and Southampton (russel group). Any thoughts, advice or past experiences would be great, as well as thoughts on Business-Economics as a degree? Thanks.
What will I learn?
Degrees in business and management are among the most popular among students. Fortunately, universities have sought to match demand with plenty of courses.
These degrees focus on how organisations operate - what they do, their styles of management and their business strategies.
There is a diverse range of courses, each with a different emphasis or specialism. For example, some courses will lean more towards commerce or retail, while others will focus on tourism or international business. The common threads of any business degree, however, tend to be looking at finance, marketing and human resource management.
Some business courses will have a more defined vocational element to them, so you'll be working in a team to create a company and market a product before you've finished looking at your reading list. Other courses will make work placements a compulsory part of the degree. Most universities will boast of having good links with business, which means visiting lecturers and the chance to build contacts.
Big business is no longer just about making money and ruthless takeovers, however. Companies are trying to improve their ethical and environmental standing, so expect to see relevant course modules popping up in the prospectus.
What skills will I gain?
As well as an understanding of how things work in business and management, by the time you graduate you should be able to demonstrate an understanding of markets, finance, managing people, operations, information systems, policy and strategy.
You probably won't be afraid of standing up in front of the class to present your ideas or argue your point around the negotiating table.
With group work a key part of many courses, you will have built up your teamwork and leadership skills, and be able to demonstrate your ability to consider all things related to establishing your own business and marketing a product.
You should also have an understanding of the ethical implications of business operations. If your work focuses on retail, you should be able to debate issues surrounding fair trade, for example.
A key part of managing others is the ability to relate to them and understand their needs, all skills you should be developing during your degree.
What job can I get?
A popular subject among students will inevitably mean tougher competition for jobs. And because it's not as specialist a field as architecture or medicine, say, you may find yourself up against graduates with history or economics degrees who decide in their final year that they want a career in business.
That said, the nature of your business courses and the practical experience that you've gained will mean you are well placed to get a job in the City or in one of the top companies that recruit graduates for their annual programmes. These graduate schemes should give you a good general grounding in business and the chance to focus on a particular area, such as human resources, or finance or marketing.
What will look good on the CV?
· Evidence of effective problem-solving and decision-making.
· Self-awareness and sensitivity in relation to business and management issues.
· The ability to address issues at international level.
What will I learn?
It is not essential to have a maths A-level before embarking on an economics degree, but it might ease the pain. As a social science, economics may sit alongside education and media studies, but sooner or later you will find yourself ploughing through statistics and formulating your theories – after all, how can you understand Keynesian economics if you don't get the maths?
That said, your degree will incorporate a range of other subjects – such as psychology, anthropology, politics, history and law – so there will be plenty of opportunities to put the calculator away.
Economics students will study how wealth is created, or lost, what influences income, and how all of this information can be used to influence policy. You'll study the work of some of the world's most high-profile economists, researching how and why their ideas were developed and how successful they were, and get the chance to think through a few of your own. You might even start to understand the present crisis and how it developed, if not how to solve it. Economics students can focus on particular areas of the subject, such as money, banking and finance, international economics and the EU, industrial policy, or public services such as health and education.
If you don't want to play it straight, then taking economics as part of a joint degree, perhaps with politics or history, could be an option.
What skills will I gain?
You may not be able to step straight into the chancellor of the exchequer's shoes, but you should have a better idea of what he does behind closed doors.
You will have a greater understanding of the financial markets and economic welfare, know what is meant by the phrase "balance of payments", and will be quicker to realise how much the taxman is taking from your salary.
You will learn how to assess expenditure decision, both in government and the private sector. You should learn to express your ideas cogently, confident that you have become part of a considerable intellectual tradition.
What job can I get?
Economics graduates enjoy some of the best job prospects and the highest earnings, so you'll probably be among the first wave of graduates to start paying off your student debts after you leave university.
You'll be a good catch in business, banking and accountancy. If you want to feel you are shaping the nation, then a job in the Treasury is a good bet – after all, chancellors need advice too.
What will look good on the CV?
• The ability to analyse and reason
• The ability to communicate results concisely
• The ability to draw on economic policy and know the constraints
Take a read and look at further university subject profiles, before making a decision. E.g. You may actually deteste economics, which wont bode well when you join the university. Both are very good and respected degrees, its just which you would prefer to spend 3 years learning and studying for.
FYI: I think Business economics would be perfect if you cant decide :P Economics is very mathsy so if he do not like numbers, i suggest pulling your socks up or going the other route :P
If you're good at maths go for economics as it has some very mathsy modules in it such as econometrics.
I actually went to reading to do accounting and economics. The economics department is useless and unorganized. Serveral lecturers were sacked/resigned while I was there over the three years. I heard some really horrible stories off my peers about how unprofessional some of them were. Out of the three years I was there I had only 1 decent lecturer. However the school of management, which is where business courses are based, is a complete different story. The business lecturers were really good. I reckon this is due to the Henley business school.
IMO I would go for economics as there are some jobs\graduate schemes that require you to have strong numerical and analytical skills and a business degree wouldn't give you that.
I suppose the main question it comes down to is what do you want to do.
How long was this also could i ask?
It's one of the top, most prestigious uni for business in the whole of UK.
Economics seems to be the better degree, however is that still the case if the economics degree was from a less prestigious uni (kent or reading) and the business management degree from a more prestigious uni (exeter or southampton)?
Economics at a 'less prestigious' uni, Reading as an example still is a good uni and getting a more relevant and respected degree is more important than slight differences in uni rankings in my opinion.
OP, take no notice whatsoever with posts like these two above. At least the other posters who sided with economics or business explained why they thought one was better than the other. Making broad statements like 'it's more relevant and respected' or 'it's the better degree' - fullstop - is farcical.
It totally depends on what type of career you're looking to move forward to after university.
Economics would be a better choice because it comprises most of what business offers so gives you more options.
Business on the other hand is much more laid back. It's about learning the inner (and outer) workings of organizations. From why people behave the way that the do (motivation, learning, team working) and marketing, to finance and logistics/operations (and everything in between). It's probably the more enjoyable of the two for me personally and gives you a much wider scope for developing your own thoughts/opinions than Economics does. I.e. with Economics, there's a correct answer/calculation/function 9 times out of ten - with business, an awful lot is open to criticism and you're encouraged (at least at my uni) to challenge everything you know!
Go for Economics if you're looking to move in to finance/banking. A Business & Management degree won't make it impossible for you to break in to this industry, but probably will make it more difficult relative to an Economics degree.
For any other job, I'd pick Business & Management. Your degree will be based on how businesses work, how they respond to external and internal change, how finance works, how the logistics and operation side of things work, how to overcome issues such as employee disengagement, marketing, and much, much more. At my uni you can even take a module called 'The art of influencing'! You won't get any of that (except finance) from an Economics degree!
So yes, just make sure you have a rough idea of where you would like to go after university. Also, as sad as it is, a lot of employers do look at the university name when scanning applications. I don't think any of the universities you've mentioned are poor though - Kent is a great university, RG or not.
Either way, good luck.
If you get a master's in economics, you will be pretty much guaranteed a close-to-six-figure starting job if it's from a top school. It only takes around a year or so, so the payoff isn't that bad if you are truly interested in studying economics. Almost any other MA from other fields has absolutely abysmal job prospects.