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Combined Business Degrees: Is Doubling Up a Good Option?

Combined degrees have been growing in popularity steadily over the past few years, particularly within the field of business. As a subject, business mixes well with many other disciplines. In this article, we look at how a combined business degree can give you an edge when you want to fast-track your business career.

Studying a combined degree means you will effectively be working for two different university degrees at the same time. It’s also sometimes called a double degree or dual degree, although it’s not the same thing as a double major, as each degree you receive has it’s own field of study.

Undergraduate double degree programs are usually found in countries that follow the British model of higher education, such as Australia, Canada and the UK. In Europe, it is becoming more popular to study two different degrees from two different countries – providing valuable cultural and language skills alongside the core study discipline.

Popular undergraduate double degrees include combining business with engineering, computing, or arts, but there are many other specialist options too. Increasingly often, universities will let you combine any two degrees, allowing you to create your own programme of study, designed by you, for you.

The Benefits of Studying a Double Degree

It sounds like a lot of work, but actually you’ll get two degrees in far less time than if you complete them separately. If you studied two degrees one after the other, it could take you eight years before you leave the campus, but you’ll be in the workplace within four to five years with a combined degree. That can help you financially too, saving money on tuition fees and the cost of living, and you’ll start earning your graduate salary sooner.

Many universities give you a lot of flexibility to design the perfect double degree for your needs. This means you can tailor-make a qualification to suit your career, and get the specific skills and knowledge you need to land the perfect job. Popular combination subjects with business are engineering, law, marketing, and human resources, although there is nothing to stop you choosing completely different subjects. Social science subjects combine well, giving you a balanced education that, if applied correctly, can make you stand out in the job market.

In the UK, many universities offer joint honours degree programs that allow you to choose from a wide range of discipline combinations. One such combination you may opt for is to combine your business degree with another language. Pricewaterhouse Coopers looks for graduates who have spent time in other countries; “Part of the PwC experience for our clients is the ability to put ourselves in their shoes. Being able to do business with them in their language is part of that experience, particularly in emerging markets where we need to show we understand local business practice, cultural nuances and conventions.” These courses normally involve a year at a university in the country of the language you’re studying. This means that you can effectively gain a secondary study abroad opportunity in another country. What’s better than one study abroad experience? Two study abroad experiences! You’ll also benefit from increased employment opportunities as you may be able to find work in the other country after graduation as well.

Even if you’re already fluent in the global language of business, English, another foreign language is a great way to get ahead in multinational businesses of the future.

A recent survey indicated that 86 percent of employers believe that languages are an important skill. Almost three-quarter agreed that French, German, Spanish and Italian are the most useful, but in the financial services sector Mandarin was growing in demand.

What Subjects Should I Combine?

We have looked at the available combined business degree options to help you choose the subjects to combine with your business studies. Here are some combined business degrees that are available right now:

  • Joint honours degrees at the Nottingham University Business School include BSc joint honours degrees in Mathematics and Management Studies, and Computer Science and Management Studies.
  • Joint degrees at University of Edinburgh Business School include Business Studies and French, Business Studies and German, Business Studies and Spanish, Business Studies and Law and Business Studies and Geography
  • Loughborough Business School offers the combined honours Economics with Geography, Economics with Politics and Economics with Accounting.
  • The University of Huddersfield allow you to combine International Business English Language and Journalism, Drama and Music, and Sociology, Politics and Criminology, amongst others.

Remember these are just some of our suggestions, you can use our course search tool to search for you ideal business course.

Dangers of Combining Subjects

It’s not always plain sailing though. Whilst a combined degree is more attractive to some employers, others may be put off by the unrelated extra  expertise, especially if it is in an unrelated field. As such, it’s vital to think carefully about your combined subject. On the one hand, you should try to study something you will enjoy, but at the same time, you shouldn’t study something that will offer you no career prospects at the end. If you’re two subjects aren’t remotely connected, for example Business with Forensics, it may suggest to potential employers that you are indecisive about your career. The best way to solve this issue is to choose subjects that are broader in appeal and have a more obvious link.

Combined degrees often take a lot more effort to complete, after all, you’re studying two degrees in a similar amount of time. This can really take it’s toll on you, so you need to make sure you’re prepared for the more intense work load, as well as dealing with normal study abroad issues such as culture shock.

That being said, a combined degree can really help you to stand out from the graduate crowd, and that a little extra effort will usually pay off. Combining degrees therefore, gives you even more options when you graduate, as well as important problem-solving, creative thinking and time management skills. Perhaps the best thing about studying a combined degree though, is discovering how many doors it will open in different industries and countries. Where will your double degree take you?

Are you considering a combined business degree? Find out more about Business Degrees with our Business Directory.

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