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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study Business Studies abroad?

Business Studies is an incredibly popular subject for international students, but what can you do with a degree in the subject?

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A classic definition of ‘business’, a word we might often almost take for granted, comes from the Economist Lewis Henry Haney: “Human activity directed towards producing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.” This can take many different forms, from the lemonade stall synonymous with American suburbs, to Coca-Cola, a multinational corporation.


Many people dream of owning their own business, it is the dream of being your own boss, dedicating your life to developing a product or service and making it successful. It’s not a lifestyle for everyone: it takes a huge amount of time and energy, and there’s always a risk that the investment might not pay off in the end. Yet for many people this is exactly what makes the world of business ultimately so rewarding: the challenge, the effort, and eventually (hopefully) the success. 


If this is your dream, getting started doesn’t necessarily require a degree, and many successful businesspeople have eschewed university altogether. But there is a reason that Business is such a popular area of study: it really does provide you with everything you need to know about successfully breaking in to the world of commerce, and it equips you with many practical, transferable skills that can be used in a diverse range of professional environments, even if you decide you don’t necessarily want to go ‘into business’ straight away, or even at all.


Business is also an incredibly popular option for international students. A blog by the University of Sheffield suggests that one of the reasons that so many international students opt to study Business in Anglosphere countries (the UK, USA, Canada and Australia) is to do with the prevelance of English as a global language:


“English is international business language, allowing companies from all sectors, in every corner of the globe, to communicate with each other and get the job done. Wherever you want your career to take you post-graduation, having superior English language skills will put you at a real advantage in the workplace. Study business in the UK and your English language skills will develop to the highest possible level, fast. You’ll be using business English on a daily basis, developing the vocabulary and communication skills you need for success in the modern, global business world.”


Yet it would also be true to say that business itself is an international language: the language of commerce is understood wherever you are in the world, and in a globalised world it’s impossible to separate a small shop in Sheffield selling mobile phones from the factories of Shanghai. Studying Business with an international perspective inbuilt provides a great advantage when pursuing future careers, or simply to offer another perspective to your studies.


What will you learn studying Business?


Many universities have specialised Business Schools, with more independence and autonomy than other academic schools within the institution. Typically, a Business School will offer a variety of degrees, rather than Business alone: for example, the Business School at the University of Leeds offers undergraduate courses in everything from Economics to Marketing, while also offering a specialist degree in Business from an international perspective. The variety of disciplines taught in Business Schools means that students can often take an interdisciplinary approach to their studies, focusing on areas of particular interest to them within the School.


In this respect, a Business degree isn't just a degree in Business as defined at the beginning of the article ("Human activity directed towards producing or acquiring wealth through buying and selling of goods.”) While this is at its basis, a Business degree will often encompass far more, from Human Resource Management, to Analytics. This rounded approach to study is matched by a balance between theory and practice: while a degree in Economics, for example, will be largely theoretical, and a Business degree will contain elements of this, it will also have more practical components, allowing students to take on a ‘hands-on’ approach to their studies where necessary and possible.


What will you need to study Business?


While academic entry requirements vary from institution to institution, in most instances you will need to have a strong background in Mathematics, with an A Level or equivalent in the subject at grade B or above. Some universities will look favourably on an A Level in Business Studies, while others will not consider it necessary for prospective students to possess. Above all universities are looking for applicants that are knowledgeable and passionate about Business, and while ambition and a desire for success will also be welcomed, universities are also very impressed by applicants who show an understanding of the ethical and moral considerations


Of course, international students seeking to study in institutions that teach in English will typically be required to have an IELTS score (usually of 6.5 or above) or equivalent. You can find more information about the test here.


Where can I study Business?


Due to the popularity of Anglosphere Business Schools for international students, we’ve selected a number of institutions you might wish to consider applying to, in the UK, USA, and Australia, but there are many more options to consider: nearly 3,000 institutions worldwide offer undergraduate Business degrees. This list also shows the variety of subjects and fields that fall under the rubric of Business or Business Studies, showing how important it is that you have a clear idea of where your interests lie when applying for a degree.


  • The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Sydney, Australia offers the Bachelor of Business (Honours), taking a varied approach to the subject and allowing students to study across a variety of different areas, including "accounting, finance and economics, management or marketing" with the aim of "pursuing a career in applied research in business and related professions or undertaking master's or doctoral research studies.
  • Giving an international perspective to Business, Queen's University Belfast offer a number of joint Business and Language degrees, including French, designed to provide students with a "detailed understanding of business theory and practice, knowledge of how and when to adapt market offerings to the diverse needs, wants and demands of international business customers, and an awareness and ability to be sensitive to differences in culture and language."
  • Western Conneticut State University, in the USA, allows students to focus specifically on Business Marketing, with their Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. The degree intends to "students problem-solving abilities that are firmly grounded in the arts and sciences and other business areas", while providing them with an "understanding of and appreciation for the global business environment and the social implications of business actions."


You can begin your search for a Business Studies degree here

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