Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 117

BUSINESS
EDUCATION

IS A BUSINESS COURSE
WORTH DOING?

PROFESSOR HEATHER MCGREGOR IS HEAD OF EDINBURGH BUSINESS
SCHOOL - HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY'S GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
- AND MRS MONEYPENNY COLUMNIST FOR THE FINANCIAL TIMES
If you're thinking of starting

of questions but also know what

a business there are

questions to ask. An MBA helps you to

different courses you can

become a better manager. It also gives

choose. For example, my

you the chance to see if being an

son Robert, a recent

entrepreneur is what you want to do.

graduate, decided he wanted to open a

You should think about doing an MBA

cocktail bar in the Oxfordshire area. He

if you are working in a job but you have a

found the premises but it took him a

medium-term plan to start up your own

year to get planning permission. In the

business. It's what I did 25 years ago.

meantime, he visited the government

Doing an MBA gave me time to think

website (gov.uk/set-up-business) to find

about what I wanted to do.

information on how to start up, and from

I finished my MBA and found a job in

that he went on courses through the

banking, worked there for a decade and

Prince's Trust. These gave him practical

established financial backing, then I

information on everything from how to

bought an executive search business

write a business plan, to marketing and

called Taylor Bennett, which I still own. I

forecasting. If you know what you want

expanded it around the world from a

to do but you are young and you have

nine-person office in London into a

no experience, a Prince's Trust course is

global business that has 60 people in

a really good way of learning the basics.

seven offices.

However, if you aspire to set up

At Edinburgh Business School we

something more complex than, say, a bar

run a distance learning programme

or a beauty salon and are looking for

that is flexible and modular. You can

outside funding, then a master's degree

take it unit by unit, sit the exam when

in business administration (MBA) will

you are ready and there's no time limit.

give you the ability to see the whole

You can also pay per course. The vast

spectrum of the business.

majority of students finish in two and a

An MBA is a management
qualification. It gives you the ability to

half years.
The ideal way of starting a business is

look right across the business. To run a

to get completely ready and then do it

business you have to do so many things

when you have the knowledge, and an

and not only be in a position to ask lots

MBA allows you to do that.

time MBA course is two years, but
there are part-time programmes
available if you are interested
in studying while you work.
Many MBA courses also offer
distance learning options, enabling
students to study from the comfort
of their own home or office. This
is a brilliant solution if you have
commitments that prevent you
studying full-time or in regular hours.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS MBA courses
usually require a combination of
previous degree-level study and
prior work experience in a business

environment, typically of at least three
years. This is essential so you can build
on your practical knowledge through
this type of business education.
DID YOU KNOW? An executive
master's degree in business (EMBA)
is available for business managers
and executives who typically have
10 or more years' experience in
business. It covers the same principle
subjects as an MBA but tailors
it to executive-level students.
WHERE NEXT? Check out the
Association of MBAs website for more
information at mbaworld.com.

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