National Student Survey 2020: Results for Business & Management Studies

We are pleased to provide you with our annual analysis of the Business & Management Studies results contained in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS). You can read and download the full data and our analysis here.

The 2020 results for the NSS were published on 15 July 2020. The survey contains 27 questions where final year students are asked to rate their institution on a number of themes including teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support and learning resources. The latest survey was completed by nearly 300,000 full-time first degree graduates.

This year’s NSS was open to students from 6 January 2020 to 30 April 2020 – overlapping with the outbreak of Covid-19 and the UK entering ‘lockdown’. However, additional analysis from the NSS shows that while there were some variations across the data compared to previous surveys, there was no evidence that the results have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Of the total responses from students, 21% came after 11 March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The total response rate to the NSS declined from 72% in 2019 to 69% in 2020 but the OfS has stated that it is difficult to determine the extent to which this is due to the pandemic.

A total of 161 institutions provided an NSS return for Business & Management, one fewer than in 2019. As with the response rate for all students, the response rate specifically for Business & Management students declined to 69% from 72% in 2019. The Chartered ABS has incorporated the NSS results for Business & Management into a single spreadsheet which can be filtered by institution and question. The spreadsheet contains drop-down menus for each question enabling users to easily view the average scores by provider mission group and region.

There is also a table which compares the results for Business & Management with the average score across all subject areas. A new addition to this year’s spreadsheet are the average scores for each question at the level of the constituent subjects within the field of Business & Management (e.g. Accounting, Finance, Marketing, etc).

Key findings

Our key findings from the results are outlined below.

Business & Management students remain largely satisfied with the quality of their courses:

  • The proportion of students agreeing that they are satisfied with the quality of their course is unchanged at 81%, and is again marginally below the average of 82% for all subject areas.

Business & Management students remain less likely to agree that staff have made the subject interesting but express high levels of agreement that there were opportunities to bring ideas together from different topics:

  • The proportion of Business & Management students agreeing that staff have made the subject interesting was 77% which is 6% lower than for students across all subjects. Similarly, 78% agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating which is below the 85% recorded across all subjects. Business & Management also has a lower proportion of students agreeing that their course has challenged them to achieve their best work.
  • A very high proportion of students perceive that Business & Management teachers are good at explaining things. The levels of agreement remain at 88% which is only 1% below the average score for all fields.
  • Across the whole category of questions related to ‘The teaching on the course’, the overall score of 80% for Business & Management is unchanged from last year and is 4% lower than the average for all subjects.
  • Within the theme of ‘Learning opportunities’ 85% of Business & Management students felt that their course had provided opportunities to bring together information and ideas from different topics, which is 1% higher than for students across all subjects.

Business & Management students report higher levels of satisfaction for clarity of marking criteria but lower levels for receiving helpful feedback:

  • The overall proportion of Business & Management students expressing agreement with the questions related to assessment is unchanged at 72% and remains marginally below the average across all subjects.
  • Since 2018/19 there has been a 1% decline in the share of Business & Management students agreeing that they had received helpful comments on their work and the percentage expressing agreement is 4% lower than for students across all subjects.
  • Business & Management students expressed a higher level of agreement than students across all subjects for the statement that the criteria used in marking was made clear in advance (74% compared to 72% across all subjects).
  • In the area of academic support, the proportion of Business & Management students agreeing that good advice was available when they needed to make study choices increased for the third year in a row, with 74% expressing agreement.

Satisfaction levels for the organisation and management of Business & Management courses declined slightly but remain above the averages for all subjects:

  • The percentage of Business & Management students agreeing that their course is well organised and running smoothly fell from 72% last year to 70% but is still 3% above the average for all subjects.
  • There were also very marginal declines in the proportion of Business & Management students expressing agreement with the statements that the timetable works efficiently and that changes in the course or teaching are communicated effectively.
  • Despite the declines in agreement for some of these questions, the overall level of agreement with the questions in this category was 75% for Business & Management students, compared to 73% for all students.

Business & Management students are less likely to report that they feel part of a learning community but are more likely to agree that they had the right opportunities for collaboration:

  • 67% of Business & Management students agreed that they felt part of a community of staff and students but this is 2% lower than for students across all subjects.
  • However, 86% agreed that they had received the right opportunities to work with other students as part of their course. This is 1% lower than in 2018/19 but remains 2% above the level of agreement expressed by students across all subjects.

Performance by constituent subjects within Business & Management

  • The NSS results are also available at the level of Common Aggregation Hierarchy 3 which provides a more detailed breakdown of results by constituent subjects.
  • Accounting students report the highest levels of overall satisfaction with the quality of their course (86%), followed by HRM students (85%) and Finance (83%). Students on Marketing and Management Studies courses expressed the lowest levels of satisfaction with their courses (79% for both).
  • Accounting students reported high levels of agreement with statements related to academic support and the accessibility of learning resources. The results for Finance students show high levels of agreement with the ability to contact staff when needed and for accessibility of learning resources.
  • Of all the constituent subjects within the field of Business & Management, students on Management Studies degrees are least likely to agree that their course provided them with opportunities to apply what they learned. Management Studies students also reported the lowest levels of agreement with the questions in the assessment and feedback and academic support categories. Relative to other Business & Management subjects, Marketing students reported the lowest levels of agreement with the questions related to learning community.

Read and download our analysis of the results in full (spreadsheet)