Business Students Abroad: Getting Your Business Degree In The United Kingdom

U.K. business schools

The United Kingdom offers many options to do an undergraduate degree in business

What’s it like to live and study business as an undergraduate student in the United Kingdom if you’re from outside the country?

UK special reportWe asked that question and more current students at U.K. business schools from Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, and Malaysia. Their answers provide great context for prospective applicants who are considering a British university for an undergraduate business degree.

Students say the experience has broadened their outlook not only business but of culture as well. “Studying business in the United Kingdom has greatly broadened my horizons,” says Hong Kong native Sarah Tseung, a student at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford.The culture, strategy, and modes of businesses here are so different from my hometown; and there is a lot to learn from these differences.”

Adds Joey Yeoh who left her hometown of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to study business at Sheffield Hallam University: “Moving to the U.K. for my higher education has opened so many doors for myself professionally and personally,” she says. “Sheffield Hallam University has exposed me to an abundance of opportunities that I have learned many valuable skills from and still use in jobs today.”

When you ask students about the most challenging aspect of their transition to the U.K., they have different answers. For Rukiya Swaleh Ahmed from Kenya, it’s the weather. “I originate from a warm tropical country, Kenya,” she explains. “The coldest it will get would only require I jumper and that’s enough to keep you warm. UK on the other hand has the most unpredictable weather. All the seasons seem quite harsh as it’s either too windy, snowing, raining or too hot during summer. It’s easier to keep yourself warm during winter cause what I do is layer up, though the cold will still get through to me. I had to invest in proper clothing such as thermals, waterproof jackets, and gloves.”

Imperial College

Leonard Cornelius is studying business at Imperial College Business School

Leonard Cornelius
Imperial College Business School

Degree: BSc in Economics, Finance, and Data Science
Home City and Country: Düsseldorf, Germany

How has studying business in the United Kingdom enriched your learning experience?

Being situated in London, at the center heart of culture, business, and academic endeavors, significantly expanded my horizons. London showed me that the realm of possibilities is boundless. This encompassed a variety of experiences, from visiting universities such as LSE and renowned museums to attending conferences at Imperial and engaging in business talks.

What has been the toughest transition to living in the United Kingdom so far?

Arriving in the U.K. without knowing anyone presented an initial challenge, especially since I was accustomed to being in environments where I typically knew someone. While this experience is not unique to the U.K., living in London, a bustling city, means that the sense of community can quickly get lost.

What have you done to overcome this difficulty?

Imperial has a great offering of different communities to join, including sport, academic, charitable and cultural societies. It takes time to find out which people you should surround yourself with and to truly find your place at Imperial.

What school service has been the most helpful in transitioning to living in the United Kingdom? How has it helped you adapt?

The program team has helped to organize a wide array of activities, from arranging keynote speakers to orchestrating the Welcome Event at the Natural History Museum. The programme also ensures that we as a cohort connect and bond with one another, to foster a strong sense of community. This entails organising small events to socialise with others from the cohort in a setting outside of the lecture theatre.

What has been the most interesting cultural nuance of people living in the United Kingdom? Why has this struck you?

While everyone strives for excellence in their academic work, there is no cutthroat culture here. On the contrary, the expectation to collaborate and to reciprocally support each other is a defining feature of the working culture in the U.K. Contrasting this to a rather individualistic work ethic in Germany, I feel that I can grow both personally and academically alongside my peers. 

Are you seeking a Visa to work in the United Kingdom after graduation? If so, what obstacles have you faced and how did you overcome them?

As an undergraduate in my first year, I see myself working in London shortly, however applying for a graduate visa is not something I currently have on my mind.

What piece of advice would you give to an international student looking to study in a UK graduate business program?

Not only should you show your passion, but you should also truly feel your passion. For most individuals, passion is an intrinsic motivation to pursue a specific goal. This also shines through in every aspect of one’s work and life, also inspiring passion in those around them. People are naturally drawn towards individuals, who exude passion for their subject or their work, as these people are also more likely to develop novel ideas through deep thinking.

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