Masters degrees in Business & Finance
Are you considering an MBA? Check out our guide to MBAs and masters degrees in business & management, economics, accounting & finance.
Money makes the world go round, so the saying goes, and this discipline covers all the subjects that directly deal with the supply, control and spending of cash. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are more MBAs on offer here than in any other category: these cater for people who want to take leadership positions and make their mark at the top of the organisations where they work. The hundreds of other business and management courses train students for roles in all aspects of commercial life. Accounting courses train you to advise on how finances can be managed efficiently to pay less tax and make the most of your resources, auditors make sure accountants and the companies they advise stick to the rules when doing this. Financiers, bankers, stockbrokers and traders put up the capital that funds business and gamble on its success. They're not the most popular people in the world at the moment, but that doesn’t matter to them because they are among the richest.
Economists take a broader view, looking at the financial systems and policies of whole industries, countries or economic regions and using their analyses to advise banks, multinationals, governments and supranational organisations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Economists are the philosophers of the financial world, although tier theories usually have practical applications and are often tested in the real world. They are not as hated as bankers and while some are still pretty rich, many of them work on things like microfinance projects in developing nations and other worthwhile projects and consequently attract more modest salaries. A super-successful career in economics could land you a place in the history books: think of John Maynard Keynes or Adam Smith. A super-successful career in finance may also make you famous, but these days more likely infamous.
Looking to become the next Richard Branson? The thousands of courses on offer in this subject area cover every aspect of business and management. The courses range from Accounting and Finance, through Human Resource or Supply Chain Management to Consumer Psychology, Managerial Leadership and Intercultural Business Communication. There’s even an MSc in Luxury Management and Marketing which, if you play your cards right, you may one day have to apply to your own lifestyle as well as your business.
As well as hundreds of MBAs, there are thousands of MScs and MAs to choose from, but only a few options to do your masters by research (MRes or MPhil). Students without an undergraduate degree may be admitted to some courses if they can show they have significant professional experience instead. Career paths from here must surely include becoming a captain of industry or at least the winning contestant on The Apprentice.
This subject area is definitely where the money is. You’ll be studying it, you’ll be working with it and ultimately you’ll be earning loads of it. That’s why the number of debt-laden university graduates applying to work in the financial sector has been rising sharply of late. Of course you don’t have to opt for one of the hundreds of MAs in Accounting, Banking or Finance. Courses such as the MA in Development Economics or the MSc in Economics and Public Policy will educate you about micro-financing in developing countries or equip you with skills you can use for the public good as an economist for local or national government.
Several MBAs are available, or you could complete an MA, MSc, MRes and various postgraduate certificates and diplomas, either taught or by research. A first degree in mathematics, economics, management or business would probably be a good start but is often not a necessary requirement. Career paths from here include becoming an auditor, accountant, venture capitalist, civil servant working for HM Treasury, investment banker, stockbroker, economist and many other very well paid professions.
Essentially these courses teach you the theory and practise of how to ensure that other people have a good time. The courses are in large part vocational and designed to equip students with the practical skills needed to succeed in their chosen area of tourism, hospitality, recreation or sport. Among the course titles are: International Hospitality Management; Sport Business Management; Sustainable Tourism and International Festivals Management.
Several MBAs are available and a few research-based courses, but the majority of courses are taught masters, postgraduate certificates and diplomas. Career paths from here include a management role at a major festival like Glastonbury or setting up your own corporate events company or wedding planning service. The potential for overseas work is also high: you could be a hotel manager for an international chain, a travel representative for a tour operator, or even set up your own tourist business in the country of your choice. Sport-wise you could become a sports agent, a coach, work for a government body like Sport England or be a campaigner for a charity like the National Playing Fields Association.