One of the appeals of the degree is that it requires no management knowhow, unlike an MBA which asks for typically around five years’ professional experience. Students fresh out of university learn the nuts and bolts of business and gain a leg up on graduate career programmes. “It’s for those who want to move into business managerial positions – it gives them an overview of all the functions involved such as marketing, operations management, finance etc,” says Michael Synnott, head of the master’s in management at Warwick Business School. “Typically they go on to a graduate job at somewhere like KPMG or PwC.”
If some students flinch at prices charged by the likes of prestigious courses at London Business School (LBS) or the the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), there are cheaper and more flexible options. A part-time MSc in management at the University of Liverpool Online costs just under £16,000 and is spread over two and a half years; Henley Business School’s full-time course launching next year will cost £12,500.
And it’s an appealing degree for employers. Younger management postgraduates are cheaper than their MBA peers and companies can train them in-house. Postgraduates generally compete with recent graduates for positions. Roughly a third of global companies say they plan to hire management postgraduates this year, and half of those firms are based in Europe, according to the latest survey from business school body GMAC. Some 96% of graduates from the top-ranked programme at LBS are employed three months after graduating earning nearly £38,000 on average.
For Chinese student Yue Chen, 25, it was the support she received from the careers department at University College London (UCL) that made her master’s in management worth the journey. She’s secured a job at healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), visa pending. This was largely down, she says, to professional guidance, one-to-one interviews and guidance, help preparing her CV and a chance to hear HR staff from GSK speak in person when they came to visit the university.
“Once you are in London, it’s so convenient – you have access to all the networking events in the city.” She chose UCL because it offered a route specifically for students with no business background – her first degree was in English.
And growing demand for management courses has prompted many institutions to launch or revamp their existing degrees. Next year, Henley Business School will launch a new master’s in management to replace its current international management qualification. “It’s for students who may have just graduated or have been floating around in the job market for a year and realise they need more strings to their bow,” says Prof Peter Miskell, head of master’s programmes at Henley.
At the LSE, students next year will be able to opt for a one-year management programme, though the current flagship two-year global MA in management, with a more international focus, will still be available. Fees are steep at about £26,000 a year and in the second year, postgraduates have the option to travel and study abroad or join the prestigious CEMS master’s in international management. This is a collaboration between international business schools and companies, offering graduates healthy job prospects across Europe.
Once the basics of business are covered, students can pick and choose – at Warwick, Henley and other schools, they can opt to focus on digital business, or marketing, for instance.
Henley students will work with businesses to complete a practical project; Warwick students perfect their teamwork by completing a joint dissertation “which really tests their group work, project management and negotiating skills,” says Synnott.