If you're looking to gain a recognised qualification to kick-start your business career, compare some of the best business schools in the UK and make an informed decision on the right place for you to study

Careers in business and management are characterised by high starting salaries, rapid progression and early responsibility. A Masters degree in a related subject can open up opportunities in a number of sectors, including:

However, deciding where to study is never easy and with so many options it's important to do your research. We'll take you through the key factors that can help you to identify the business school that's the ideal fit for you and your career aspirations.

Best universities for business and management

UK institutions consistently feature in prominent positions in university league tables.

To give you an idea of the best universities depending on your study interests, these rankings are often arranged by subject:

Institutions that regularly appear in the top 20 of 2024 business school rankings include:

Business and management courses

These top institutions offer a variety of programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. As well as the standard accounting, economics, finance and management courses, you can also study more specific Masters programmes, such as:

  • MSc Entrepreneurship and Management at University of Bath School of Management
  • MSc Business Psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School
  • MLitt International Business at University of St Andrews School of Management
  • MSc Business Analytics at University of Warwick Business School
  • MSc Economics and Strategy for Business at Imperial College Business School
  • MSc Global Strategy and Innovation Management at University of Leeds Business School.

Search postgraduate courses in business and management studies.

The majority of business courses are available to study on both a full and part-time basis, enabling you to tailor your timetable around work or family commitments. Each business school is responsible for administering its own scholarships and bursaries, so check what financial help is available.

You'll find that postgraduate loans can also help to lessen the financial burden. In 2024/25, you can borrow up to £12,471 to help towards tuition fees.

If you already have a job, consider employer sponsorship. Some business employers may be prepared to foot the bill for your course if there's a benefit to the company. However, you'll probably have to sign an agreement tying you to the organisation for a certain length of time once your programme is complete. Explore other postgraduate funding options.

As well as Bachelors and Masters degrees, business schools also offer the Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA is an advanced postgraduate qualification, which can be studied at general, executive and specialist level. An MBA is highly valued by business employers and can lead to promotion and increased salaries.

It's important to be aware that MBA courses are expensive and the cost of programmes varies considerably depending on where you study. Make sure you research the different courses on offer before committing to a programme. MBA courses typically have rankings of their own, so take a look at the best MBA programmes in the UK.

Choosing a business school

Studying for a postgraduate qualification requires a huge investment of time, effort and money, so it’s essential you make the right choice.

You've done some initial research and now have a list of top-rated institutions, but how do you narrow down your options? First, decide on a course and list all the institutions that provide it.

To help you reach a final decision, consider:

  • Location - would you prefer to study close to home or further afield? In a city or somewhere a little quieter? You also need to consider the living costs at different universities, and how you’ll cover them. Read more about comparing UK universities.
  • Reputation - to discover more about an institution’s reputation, speak to alumni, look at rankings and find out if the university has industry accreditation. Research its academic community. Is the faculty diverse? Are lecturers considered leaders in the business field? Does the faculty have industry connections? Does the faculty have global experience and business knowledge? Read more about benefitting from a university’s industry links.
  • Teaching methods - are class sizes big or small? Are they flexible enough to allow you to meet other commitments such as childcare or a job? Is the programme curriculum as broadly or narrowly focused as you’d like? Will you have access to one-on-one time with a mentor? Will you have the opportunity to complete an industry placement? How will you be assessed? Explore the pros and cons of working while studying.
  • Alumni - what is the school’s employment record like? Take a look at alumni networks to find out what past students are doing. What jobs, sectors and countries do they work in? Do any work for high-profile organisations? Also check out the reputation of the school's careers service. How long after graduation is help and advice available?

To find out as much as possible about an institution, explore their promotional material such as prospectuses and videos. It's also crucial to visit schools and, if possible, sit in on classes to get a real feel of the course. Attend open days and events such as study fairs to talk to admissions tutors, course leaders and current students and graduates. You can also connect with them via their social media channels.

Bear in mind that while gaining a business degree from a prestigious university might look impressive on your CV, it's in no way a guarantee of employment. Weigh up all the pros and cons of an institution before deciding on the right one for you.

How to apply

To apply for a Masters course at most UK business schools you'll complete an online application form. You'll need to create an account on the university website, answer set questions and submit supporting documentation.

Unlike undergraduate courses, you'll submit your application directly to the university, so be aware of application dates and deadlines (as these can vary slightly) to give yourself plenty of time to complete it to the best of your ability.

The documents that you need to submit include:

  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • two academic references
  • a personal statement (sometimes called a statement of purpose).

Some business schools may also ask you to submit samples of your work, plus a CV and cover letter.

Upon completion, you'll need to pay an application fee. Institutions set their own fees so costs differ, but they're typically in the region of £50 to £60.

Once your application has been processed you'll receive an offer of a place, or may in some instances be invited to attend a postgraduate interview. To secure your offer of a place you'll need to pay a course deposit.

Find out more

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