National Student Survey 2021: Results for Business & Management Studies

We are pleased to publish our analysis of the 2021 National Student Survey (NSS) results for Business & Management Studies.

This year’s results were published on 15 July 2021. The NSS is completed by first degree students in their final year of study and contains 27 questions in which students are asked to rate their institution on several themes including teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support and learning resources. This year’s NSS included an additional six questions asking students about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their experiences, including the special arrangements universities and colleges have put in place for learning, teaching and well-being support. The 2021 NSS was completed by nearly 312,000 full-time first degree graduates and the response rate was 71% - a slight increase on the 69% recorded in 2020.

A total of 163 institutions submitted an NSS return for Business & Management, two more than in 2020. The response rate for Business & Management students fell to 66% in 2021 from 69% last year, which is contrary to the increased response rate observed across all subjects. The Chartered ABS has consolidated 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 affiliation and region.

The spreadsheet also contains a comparison of the results for Business & Management with the averages across all subject areas, and a breakdown of 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). There is also an analysis of the results for the six additional questions related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a comparison of the results for Business & Management students with those from all subjects.

Click here to view the spreadsheet

Satisfaction levels have declined across all NSS themes as the pandemic impacted upon students’ learning experiences

  • The Covid-19 pandemic had a prolonged impact on students’ learning experiences during the 2020/21 academic year and this appears to have resulted in significant declines in satisfaction levels for students in all subjects, including Business & Management.
  • The proportion of Business & Management students agreeing that they were satisfied with their course fell from 81% in 2020 to 75% in 2021. Across all subjects, the average proportion of students stating they were satisfied with their course was also 75%, down from 82% in 2020.

The learning resources theme has seen the largest decline in satisfaction levels over the last year

  • For the three questions related to the provision of learning resources, an average of 74% of Business & Management students expressed levels of agreement with the questions, which is a decline of 10% for this set of questions compared to 2020. The decline is slightly larger, however, for all subjects overall, where the proportion of students expressing agreement fell from 84% in 2020 to 72% this year.
  • The statements ‘the library resources have supported my learning well’ and ‘I have been able to access course-specific resources when I needed to’ saw the biggest declines among the questions related to learning resources. For Business & Management students the proportions expressing agreement with both statements fell by 11% since 2020, although approximately three-quarters remain in agreement. For all subjects overall the falls in the proportions of students expressing agreement were slightly larger.

Students are now less likely to report that they feel part of a community and have opportunities for collaboration

  • For Business & Management students 60% agreed that they felt part of a community of staff and students, down by 7% relative to the 2020 results, and 79% agreed that they had received the right opportunities to work with other students as part of their course, which is again a decline of 7% compared to last year.
  • This decline in satisfaction levels is again mirrored in the responses from students across all subjects, although for the statement on feeling part of a community of staff and students, the decline was slightly larger with the proportion of respondents expressing agreement falling from 69% to 60%.

Satisfaction levels have declined markedly in the area of academic support

  • For the three questions within the ‘Academic Support’ theme, the proportion of respondents on Business & Management courses expressing agreement fell by 5% to 74% in 2021. The question on receiving ‘sufficient advice and guidance in relation to my course’ saw the biggest decline with 72% expressing agreement this year compared to 78% in 2020.
  • For the questions ‘I have been able to contact staff when I needed to’ and ‘Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices on my course’ there were again declines of 5% in the percentages of Business & Management students agreeing with the statements. In the case of the former, the score of 80% for Business & Management is 2% below the average for students on all subjects, and for the latter the score of 69% is in line with the all-subject average.

For several of the NSS themes the decline in satisfaction levels is more limited

  • For the themes of ‘The teaching on the course’, ‘Learning opportunities’, ‘Assessment and feedback’, ‘Organisation and management’ and ‘Student voice’, the fall in the proportions of Business & Management students expressing agreement with the various questions is more modest with a 3-4% decline for each of these themes since 2020 which is consistent with the results across all subject areas.
  • Within the ‘Student voice’ theme, the proportions of Business & Management students stating agreement with the questions on ‘Staff value students’ views and opinions about the course’ and ‘It is clear how students’ feedback on the course has been acted on’ declined by 5% and 7%, respectively, in the last year with 70% and 54% now expressing agreement. For all subjects overall, the fall in the proportions of students agreeing was marginally greater.

Results for questions on the impact of Covid-19

  • For the six additional questions on the impact of Covid-19 on students’ learning experience, the percentage of Business & Management students expressing positive agreement with the statements was either higher or similar to that of students across all subjects. For Business & Management students and those from all subjects it is noticeable that non-UK students report higher levels of satisfaction for five of the six questions.
  • For the question ‘I have received useful information about changes to my course from my university or college during the Covid-19 pandemic’, 76% of UK and 82% of non-UK Business & Management students expressed agreement, compared to 73% and 77%, respectively, of students across all subjects.
  • For the question ‘I have received timely information about my course from my university or college during the Covid-19 pandemic’, the results for Business & Management are markedly better than for students across all subjects, with 70% of UK students and 77% of non-UK students on Business & Management courses expressing agreement compared to 63% and 68%, respectively, for UK and non-UK students from all subjects.
  • Less than half of UK Business & Management students agreed that their university or college had taken sufficient steps to support their mental well-being during the pandemic, although for non-UK students the proportion stating agreement was higher at 60%. For both student groups in Business & Management the proportions expressing agreement with this statement were higher than for students from all subjects.
  • Half of Business & Management students from the UK said they were content with the delivery of learning and teaching of their course during the pandemic, which is identical to the proportion stating agreement across all subject areas. For non-UK Business & Management students the levels of agreement (58%) were again higher than for Business & Management Students from the UK (49%) and is also higher than for non-UK students across all subjects.

Performance by constituent subjects within Business & Management

  • The NSS results are also published at the level of Common Aggregation Hierarchy 3 which provides a more detailed breakdown of results by constituent subjects. Consistent with the wider trend, the satisfaction levels within the constituent subjects of Business & Management also declined.
  • In 2021, Finance had the highest proportion of students agreeing that they were satisfied with their course (78%), followed by Accounting (77%), and HRM and Management Studies (both 76%). As with last year Marketing was among the Business & Management subjects with the lowest satisfaction rates (71%).

Find the full spreadsheet here