Studying Business Management at the University of Surrey

Author: Tom Bray.

First year

I was unsure when applying to Surrey, which strand I wanted to focus on hence I decided to study just the BSc Business Management. This aims to provide a suitable foundation of knowledge to ease you into your second and third year. You’ll be studying the following modules:

  • Financial accounting (have the option to expand in further years)
  • Operations management (developed in 3rd year)
  • Business Skills
  • Business decision making (developed in further years)
  • Business ethics
  • Organizational behavior (developed in further years)
  • Marketing principles (developed in further years)
  • Economics for business (developed in further years)

Almost all of the modules you study in first year can be developed on/taken in a more advanced format in your second and/or third years. This is to ensure you are capable of the content provided later on.

If you are looking to get a placement, most require a 2:1 or above (60%) in your first year otherwise your application will get immediately rejected.

First year does not count towards your final degree classification.

Second year

Counts 35% towards your final degree classification.

This is the first opportunity for students to pick and choose their modules. You’ll have 4 compulsory modules and 4 to pick. The aim if to build on the knowledge obtained during first year to make it more applicable to the working world you maybe facing during your placement year. The modules I undertook during my second year were:

  • Marketing communications (developed in 3rd year)
  • Business finance (developed in 3rd year)
  • Management accounting (development from financial accounting)
  • Human resource management (developed in 3rd year)
  • Managing retail locations
  • International fashion marketing
  • Consumer behavior
  • Business law (develop in 3rd year)

This set a fantastic foundation of marketing knowledge that I was able to apply during my placement year such as the halo affect when it came to launching new products to a highly clustered market. Other areas also became useful such as UK health and safety legislation and quality standards such as ISO9000 where very useful when managing group projects.

This is also the year you’ll be applying to placements which you’ll take in-between your second and third year if you’ve chosen the strand. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the CV workshops and draft assessment centers put on by the Employability services.

Placement Year

My favourite year. The opportunity to apply the wealth of knowledge you’ve gained during your first and second year and to apply it to the real working world. My placement was at Stanley Black and Decker working in the marketing team and in the finance team. I was responsible for:

  • Creating content for the sales team to enable them to successfully pitch our products to customers.
  • Analyzing our current market share to identify areas in which we could maximize it in relation to our competitors
  • Lead a team to reconstruct vehicles taken from new entities purchased
  • Release new power tool accessories for the UK and ROI division working the US team

The opportunity to be responsible for tasks and to work in a team that wasn’t just based on theory based on case studies in a classroom was so much more beneficial for my own development and my contribution felt far more significant.

Final year

This is worth 65% of your final degree classification.

Having conducted a placement, I have found final year much easier than those who haven’t gone on placement. My organizational skills improved tenfold along with my team working, decision making and leadership skills improving significantly over the year. I also found that I was naturally working a lot harder in my final year compared to second and first year because of the 9-5 routine I had picked up during my placement year.

The modules I studied during my final year:

  • Marketing strategy (via marketing communications)
  • International Business Strategy
  • Managerial decision making (via business decision making)
  • Global HR (via HRM)
  • Research in marketing (via marketing communications)
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Project Management
  • Marketing Analytics 

Top tips

  1. Get yourself a 2:1 in your first year, this will allow you to apply for all placements rather than limiting your opportunities
  2. Get a placement, I cannot emphasize the value enough of doing one. Looks great on your CV, paid experience and you may have the option of heading back to your placement company after you’ve graduated.

More information on modules can be found here!