The professional opportunities created for graduates of business studies extend far beyond the obvious careers in banking and accountancy. Increasingly, as western economies begin their recovery, entrepreneurs and investors look at other forms of business and alternatives to the profit-driven companies that led to the crisis in the first place.

Social enterprises contribute to the strengthening of economies by putting profit back into society for the benefit of people, communities and the environment. The importance of these organisations is recognised in the UK as they have excellent potential for creating employment and supporting bottom-up initiatives. They also give some power back to the people.

Pic: Students at Swansea University

In 2013, there were around 70,000 social enterprises employing one million people in the UK. For people who want to go down the business route without sacrificing their desire to make the world a better place, social economy could be the way forward. Promoting sustainable economic models, using profits to improve situations and solve problems, and generally trying to bring solutions to societal issues are some of the benefits of running a social enterprise.

Business postgraduate courses are often said to open many doors and equip students with highly transferable skills that are valued by employers across sectors. What is sometimes overlooked is the wide range of interests and goals graduates may have. Whilst some may want to work in management, in accountancy or start up their own business, others may be more focused on the sector they want to work in or an issue they are passionate about.

Start-ups are a good way for graduates to get straight into employment, and many see entrepreneurship as a way to make an impact much sooner than they would in any other job. Today’s graduates can identify the issues that aren’t addressed and are much better trained and skilled to come up with ideas and businesses to fill those needs.

Many modules on MBA and business programmes now incorporate social entrepreneurship and values, and courses tend to introduce students to the ideas of alternatives. Since the 2008 crisis, alternative market ideas have emerged and, today, many business people look for a philanthropic model in their trade.

Pic: Newton Atrium at Nottingham Business School

Pic: Newton Atrium at Nottingham Business School

The direction students want to give their career after their postgraduate degrees is an important criteria to consider when choosing a course. Professionals with at least three years of work experience may consider MBAs, which are tailored and designed to further their qualifications and careers towards managerial positions. Some Master’s programmes offer highly specific modules, including Sports, Events or Human Resources Management, whilst others have a more general curriculum in Economics or Marketing, suitable for students looking for a broader base of skills and knowledge.

The location of the Business School is obviously an important criterion to consider, as well as the work experience and internship opportunities provided by the school, often through business links and partnerships, as well as through thriving alumni networks.

In light of this, here are some of the best postgraduate business programmes for international students:

ADAM SMITH BUSINESS SCHOOL – UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 and is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. Located in Scotland’s largest city, the institution welcomes more than 23,000 students from 120 countries. The University was ranked 51st in the world’s top 100 universities and 9th in the UK in the 2013 QS World University Rankings. The Adam Smith Business School offers postgraduate programmes in Accounting & Finance, Economics, and Management, as well as an MBA. Read the full profile here…

NOTTINGHAM BUSINESS SCHOOL – NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY
Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University is an international business school with a rich and vibrant postgraduate community. The School provides a challenging, hands-on and rewarding educational experience in a world class environment. Postgraduate programmes at the Nottingham Business School aim to enhance leadership with a global perspective. Nottingham Business School welcomes students from a variety of cultural, social and educational backgrounds and offers a limited number of scholarships. Read the full profile here…

MONACO BUSINESS SCHOOL – INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF MONACO
The Monaco Business School welcomes students from all over the world and develops successful and thoughtful leaders for tomorrow’s business world. The school provides tuition in small classes where students receive individual attention and can interact with their professors on a one-to-one basis. Creative thinking is encouraged for students to develop the analytical skills and the ambition needed to enter and succeed in the business world. Case studies and real world situations help students put their knowledge into practice. Read the full profile here…

Pic: Students at the University of the West of Scotland

SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT – SWANSEA UNIVERSITY
Swansea University was founded in 1920 and is a research-led university set in parkland and overlooking Swansea Bay, in the south of Wales. Its multicultural campus community provides a global perspective and many opportunities for students to gain skills, meet friends and lay the foundation for their career. The University is set in Grade II listed buildings, and the campus is now undergoing an expansion to modernise and make sure students have access to the latest facilities. Read the full profile here…

BUSINESS SCHOOL – UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF SCOTLAND
The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is Scotland’s largest modern university and aims to train the next generation to influence the economic, social and cultural development of the West of Scotland and beyond. UWS operates across four campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley and offers courses across three faculties and eight schools. The Business school’s programmes are adapted to the needs of businesses operating today and provide students with a sought-after skillset to increase their chances of employability and career success. Read the full profile here…

BANGOR BUSINESS SCHOOL – BANGOR UNIVERSITY
Bangor University, in North Wales, was founded in 1884 near the mountains of Snowdonia. Bangor is one of the most attractive study locations in the UK, offering a safe and cost effective learning environment to students from all over the world. Only 3 hours from London and 1.5 hours from Liverpool and Manchester, Bangor is well connected to major UK cities. The Bangor Business School at Bangor University offers a unique MBA in Banking and Finance as well as the country’s first combined MBA and Chartered Banker status. Read the full profile here…