Business management: Get a degree or learn on the way?

Five years ago, going off to university to get a degree was the norm, but when the fees rose to a whopping £9k per year in 2012, it left many prospective students wondering if it was actually worth it.

shutterstock_336872039Research conducted by Voucherbox found that, with an average of 12 contact hours each week, a Business Management degree works out at £25.60 per hour. To put that into perspective, students on a science-based degree pay 3 times less per hour than those on an arts-based degree. On the flip side, a survey conducted by PeoplePerHour found that more than three quarters of micro-businesses started up for less than £2,000.

Getting a business management degree

Many universities offer a business management degree with modules such as economics, self-management, strategy, marketing, creativity and innovation, and consumer psychology.

Getting a degree in a particular discipline displays credibility; you’ve studied that subject in great detail and can start to be considered an expert in that field. A degree in business management may help you to discover which areas of business you are most interested in. It can also be a stepping stone to a graduate scheme at companies such as Deloitte, Proctor and Gamble or Aldi.

Sounds great, right? The problem is that, since the fee spike, going to university is a huge financial investment. And that is how you should see it – as an investment. If you feel that completing a degree will further your career in business and that you will get a return on your investment, then perhaps it is the path for you.


Learning on the way: Starting your own business

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, CEO of PeoplePerHour said that “the belief that it takes thousands of pounds of start-up capital to launch a business is simply not the case anymore”. 86% of the respondents of the PeoplePerHour survey said that they were a ‘spare-room’ start-up. The rise of the internet has meant that all you really need to start a business is a computer and access to a wifi connection.

I am one of those ‘spare-room’ start-ups. I launched my own copywriting and proofreading business from, yes, you guessed it, my spare-room-cum-home-office. My start-up costs were a custom domain (£6 per year) and web hosting (£70 per year). Let’s say I didn’t already have a laptop, Microsoft Office, or a mobile phone and add another £1,000. That’s still a long way from £9,000 a year.

If you’re launching your own business and feel like you’d benefit from some learning or a business qualification, there are an abundance of online courses on the subject. London School of Business & Finance offers an online diploma in business management for £1,500 which can be completed in as little as three months.

Think about your motivation

I have an English degree, something that costs even more per hour than a business management degree, but it’s something that I’m passionate about. Should your passion lie in business management, then a degree may be for you.

If, however, your motivation is to be able to start your own business rather than become an expert in the discipline, a degree may not be cost effective. Come up with a business idea, talk to someone who’s already done it, and just go for it.

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