What business qualifications are available?

Business qualifications are by no means essential for starting up your own business, but some people find they really help. There are loads of different options out there, ranging from university degrees to hour-long seminars. This guide introduces to the most common and popular options and helps you decide whether a qualification is right for you:

  • The MBA
  • Alternatives to the MBA
  • Short courses
  • Finding a course


The MBA - Masters in Business Administration - is the most widely recognised business qualification worldwide. It's typically aimed at people who've had three or more years of experience working in business. It's a good way to get a broad understanding of all aspects of management, but requires hard work. You can study full or part-time, or in your spare time with someone such as Open University. Tuition cost varies widely - anything from £5,000 to £31,000 per year and the course usually takes a year full-time.

  • Three or more years in business necessary
  • Covers all aspects of management
  • Hard work and costly but very good for advancing managerial skills

Alternatives to the MBA

If you want a qualification that's on a par with the MBA, there are other forms of business masters. Look for institutions offering courses such as an MSc in Business Management or MSc in Entrepreneurship. Like the MBA, these qualifications will be hard work and costly, and you usually need prior experience in business. But you gain in-depth and advanced knowledge of business.

  • Try an MSc in a business-related area
  • Hard work and costly but very good for advancing business skills

Short courses

There are loads of short courses on offer for more specialised areas that you want to improve on or if you can't commit to a masters - accounting, business admin or bookkeeping, for example. You may also find 'Introduction to business' courses, if you need a general but more basic covering.

  • Short courses cover a wide range of business topics
  • Good for specialist knowledge
  • Good if you can't commit to a masters

Finding a course

Take a look at www.hotcourses.com for courses held near you, or check out www.learndirect.co.uk or the Open University for self-study courses. Call the government's careers advice line on 0800 100 900 if you need help deciding which course - if any - is right for you. Check out a site such as www.mbaworld.com if you're considering an MBA, and explore different institutions.

  • Look at sites featuring courses
  • Call government career advice line
  • Check out MBA help sites

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