Analysis of Postgraduate Qualifications in Business & Administrative Studies

This analysis of the postgraduate qualifications attained by students graduating from UK business schools is the first of its kind. The report provides detailed insights into postgraduate provision within the fields of Business and Management, and reveals significant changes at both subject and course level over three years.

Using national data on Master’s degrees, MBAs and Doctorates we have provided analysis on the graduate numbers from a range of business fields, including emerging specialist and niche subjects. The report also provides data on graduates by domicile, specifically from the UK, EU and non-EU countries.

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A total of 61,560 students obtained a postgraduate qualification in Business & Administrative Studies in 2017/18, more than for any other academic subject. In 2017/18 postgraduate qualifications in Business & Administrative Studies constituted nearly one-quarter of those completed across all academic subjects.

Master’s degrees are by far the most popular postgraduate course within Business & Administrative Studies, with nearly 141,000 students obtaining this form of qualification from UK business schools over the last three years, including 49,840 in 2017/18. The number of Master’s degree graduates in Business & Administrative Studies (excluding MBAs) has grown in each of the last two years. Growth was particularly strong for UK domiciled graduates, increasing from 8,790 in 2015/16 to 11,120 in 2017/18 (+27%).

The study shows that the Finance related field accounted for the largest total of Master’s degree graduates from UK business schools over the last three years with 21,000 graduates. Only narrowly behind is the category of ‘Combined Subjects’, which refers to courses which comprise two fairly distinct fields within Business & Administrative Studies in a single course (e.g. Finance & Management Studies) and feature a vast range of subject permutations.

Across all Master’s courses within Business & Administrative Studies total graduates increased by 12% since 2015/16. Most notably graduates with Master’s degrees in Entrepreneurship grew by 74% in the last two years and significant growth was also seen amongst Master’s graduates in Land & Property Management (+34%) and Finance (+22%).

The breadth of content available at the level of Master’s degrees is considerable, indicating the diverse nature of Business & Administrative Studies and students’ preferences for content tailored to their interests and future career aspirations. Over the last three years 9,340 students graduated with Master’s degrees in niche or specialised fields of Business & Administrative Studies. These include Security & Police Management, Energy Finance, Environment Management, and Maritime Operations.

The analysis highlights the crucial role played by international students within UK business schools and reinforces the need for an accommodating environment. Across all Master’s degrees in Business & Administrative Studies, non-EU international students accounted for 69% of total graduates over the last three years and there are only two subjects - Health & Care Management and Land & Property Management - where non-EU students comprised less than half of the graduates. The international nature of UK business schools is further underlined by the fact that over the last three years around one-quarter of students graduated with a Master’s degree that had an international focus.

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, MBAs accounted for only 11% of students leaving with a postgraduate qualification in Business & Administrative Studies over the last three years. Total MBA graduates have declined by 15% since 2015/16, largely driven by lower numbers from non-EU countries. As a result, the proportion of total MBA graduates from non-EU countries has declined from 57% in 2015/16 to 53% in 2017/18, whilst UK students have increased from 38% to 43%. There were around 7,000 MBA graduates from UK business schools in 2017/18.

MBA courses also exhibit a wide diversity of provision. In 2017/18 there were around 115 courses available that featured a subject specialisation, with those in Oil & Gas, Health & Care Management, International Marketing and Finance producing the highest number of graduates.

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