What A-levels do you need?
It depends on where you’re looking. Higher-ranking institutions may ask for maths, but many don’t specify a subject (although the likes of economics and business studies may well help your chances). If you’re hoping to study on a combined honours course, bear in mind there may be additional requirements – studying on
Imperial College London’s chemistry with management BSc, for instance, will require AAA - A*AA (and you’ll need both chemistry and maths). If you’re hoping to do a straight management BA at Robert Gordon University, on the hand, you’ll need BCC (or 260 UCAS points) in any subjects.
What are your study options?
If you’re hoping to study management at university, you’ll be pleased to hear there are a whole range of HNCs, HNDs and full-time degree options available.Although most courses will cover the same core aspects of management, there will also be a number of optional modules available covering more specific areas (such as management accounting and project management), so you can tailor your degree programme to suit your own personal interests. Although some management degrees will be the usual three years in length, nowadays it’s more and more common for universities to offer sandwich courses. These are four years and include a placement year in between your second and final years, allowing you to get some hands-on business experience and apply what you’ve been learning in lectures and seminars to a real-world setting (they’re also a great way of boosting your CV and job prospects).There may also be the option to study management as part of a joint/combined honours programme with a related subject. Such options include management with a modern foreign language or even with another business-related subject such as finance or economics. If you’re studying management with a language you may also have the chance to travel abroad for your work placement.
Why study management?
Behind every successful business is an efficient team of management staff. They will play an essential role in ensuring the smooth running of a business on both a long-term and short-term scale, and because of this it is important to have graduates with strong skills within this specific area. If you’re interested in working within this sector and have strong communication skills and a passion for business, then studying management could be a good option (not forgetting the fact that managers tend to get paid well, of course).
After your management degree...
Upon graduation there are a number of different things you can do with your management qualification. If you’ve a particularly strong classification, you may wish to apply for some of the many graduate entry schemes run by larger businesses and companies (Deloitte and PWC, for instance). Salaries on such schemes can start anywhere between £18,000 - £30,000 (and upwards) depending on the specific scheme and the company, although they will most likely increase once the scheme has been completed.
On the other hand, you may choose to avoid graduate schemes altogether and find an entry level management job within a wide range of sectors – from arts and leisure to tourism or project development. Salaries in such roles will vary depending upon the sector and the size of the company.
There are also a wide range of postgraduate courses available for those with management qualifications. More vocational options of study include the Graduate Diploma in Law (for those wishing to retrain as a solicitor or barrister) and the PGCE (which would give you qualified teaching status and allow you to teach business and management at secondary school level).
Q&A with an events management student
Lisa Saunders studied an Events Management BA at Leeds Metropolitan University...
Why did you choose to study events management at university?
I had been working in licensed retail before deciding to go to university. I was supporting myself financially and felt it important to study something vocational. I had to work while studying and the fear of student debt left me wanting a decent job more than a good time indulging in my passions for art and the humanities. As it goes, now I am older I have gone back to uni to study more academic/arty subjects for pleasure now that I can afford it. It needn't be one or the other if you are concerned for your future career options.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of your course?
I loved my sandwich year where we had to go out into the event industry and get work placements. I had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having far more creative control and scope in my work than I had experienced in my job before. I got to run and structure my own special events for a large organisation. It really kick started my career through networking and sharp learning curves!
What was the least enjoyable aspect of your course?
If I am honest, it was some of my fellow students. The classes split into two categories: those who were from relevant industries and had work experience and the students who had zero experience. The latter group tended to be quite sarcastic and dismissive of anything those with experience said or did – they made group work horrendous. Funnily enough though, coping with the difficult students was also an excellent lesson in HR, so it’s all good! All that said, the friends I made there are still mates now and we are all still very supportive of each other and our respective careers.
How do you think a degree in events management will help graduates seeking employment?
Firstly it shows a commitment to a career, that you are a mature and responsible person who is keen to hit the ground running. It’s a lot easier, in my opinion, showing a vocational degree on your CV than trying to prove how an arts degree has transferable skills for a marketing department job. The course gives you a firm grounding in every element of intangible product services. Seeing as manufacture and secondary industry are all but dead in the UK, services is the main area of growth employment. The degree does not de facto guarantee a job in management, but it gives you a grounding in marketing, event logistics, basic accountancy, contract law and other relevant fields such as HR, PR, hospitality, organisational behaviour and structuring. It is a handy starter’s toolkit that has a wide range of transferable skills. This is especially important when you consider the high burnout factor in events careers.
How did the course prepare you for your job?
In pretty much every way. I had worked as an employee and it showed me how to be a decent employer, too. It taught me how to cope in a professional manner in a highly competitive market. It showed me that you can make positive changes in the workplace and not just accept received 'wisdoms' of how to do things. It also taught me when to shut up and listen to those with more experience and find a balance between innovation and traditional management techniques. It gave me the resources to cope with future problems that had I otherwise come up against might have become disastrous. The industry is very sink or swim, and you are only as good as your last event so you have no space for failure. Having a diverse range of knowledge and the sense and flexibility to apply it is a great advantage.
What would you like to do with your career in the future?
Well I continued in service sector management for a while, and then decided to diversify into public sector work and am now a qualified therapist hoping to train as a supervisor. Even though the role is quite different, the skills and qualities I developed on my event management course definitely play a part in my work now, helping me to run things smoothly, professionally and relatively stress free. The course teaches skills in multi-tasking and managing not only yourself, but also your team and your business. I went on to do an MSc in the subject; my tutor renamed the course Advanced Kitten Herding and it fits well. Although I am now moving into a different industry, the world of management studies has given me a boost that helped me excel beyond the pay grades I would have expected had I stayed in my pre-university career. The education I received allowed me to fast track myself out of the junior positions that I otherwise might have got stuck in, so it was well worth it.