Picking your way through business course jungle

So you want to study business? There’s a huge range of courses to choose from, from certificates to degrees to postgrads and MBAs, at universities, institutes of technology and private colleges. Here’s a selection of what’s on offer

Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 10:35

Business study comes with a health warning: the search for the right course can be more labour intensive than the course itself. There are hundreds of offerings, and since business lends itself to coupling with almost any other discipline you can think of – art, food, horses, geography, Japanese – there are more variations than in most subject areas.

The first decision you need to make is what level you want to study at and how much time can you give. In this regard, the breadth of options is a bonus because you should be able to find a course that fits in with your own schedule, whether it’s two mornings a week for a year or four years of full-time research.

The digital space is the most active at the moment, with many new courses coming on stream that offer the chance to operate confidently in online business and marketing. However, most general business and commerce courses also offer modules in this area, so examine the course content closely before making a decision.

The best first stop is qualifax.ie for information on the range of courses available, but the most comprehensive details are always on the individual institutions’ websites. Most universities, institutes of technology and private colleges (such as Griffith College, Independent Colleges, IBAT), and organisations such as Irish Management Institute, run business courses.

Another blooming corner of the business landscape is the area of entrepreneurship and innovation. Many of the courses in the selective highlights below feature modules on business start-ups and developing or managing early enterprises. If setting up a business is one of your goals, make sure that the course you choose has well developed tuition in this area, with personnel that have experience in innovation. Work placement and real world assignments are very important to those about to start a business.

Basic Business
LEVELS 5 and 6

All the local colleges of further education offer business studies in some guise, so if you’re coming to business or to third- level education for the first time, that’s a good place to start. Most Level 5 and 6 courses ladder to a higher qualification if you want to keep going, so investigate the options for further study. Level 5 and 6 courses are often structured to suit people in employment or those with family.

Pre-university Business
Dunboyne College of
Further Education

One year, full time
Ideal entry-level qualification in business, and a chance to study sales and marketing and progress to work or third level. Subjects include marketing, applied economics, business administration, business law, word processing, business law and accounting (manual and computerised), subject to availability and demand. There is a Fetac Level 6 Cert available in the subject too.

Business for Mature Students Institute of Technology, Cork
Two years, full time (mornings)
This course aims to provide a broad business education with opportunities to specialise. A variety of topics, with the option to progress to Level 7.

This qualification will equip mature students with the skills for opportunities in areas such as accounting, marketing, computing, banking and insurance. With family-friendly timetabling, usually 9am - 2pm Monday to Friday, the course will appeal to parents.

Business Studies
Senior College, Dú
n Laoghaire
Two years, full time

Featuring finance, marketing, human resources and management, this course is examined through continuous assessment, incorporating assignments and exams. With one further year of study, graduates can progress to a Level 8 honours business studies degree.

Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Two years, full time

Broad-based business diploma emphasising the development of personal and technical for a career in business. Subjects include accounting, management, marketing, business law, human resources, enterprise development, e-business and business ethics. Can be used to progress onto degree courses in higher level institutions including IT Tallaght and NCI.

Business and Computers/ Enterprise
iste Dhú laigh College of Further Education
Two years, full time

The course aims to prepare students for a job in business or start their own enterprise. Further studies are also an option. In first year, students can achieve a full Fetac Level 5 Award, progressing to Level 6 in the second year. Business administration, communications, work placement, spreadsheets, customer serv ices and payroll are all covered in the first year. Year two features subjects including entrepreneurial studies and marketing management.

Art and Business
Drogheda Institute of Further Education
One year, full time; two years part time

DIFE’s Art & Design Portfolio Preparation Course was set up by Simon Rainsford at DIFE in 1991 and, since then, 80 per cent of graduates go directly on to third - level colleges of art & design. Students have the option to plan their studies over two years. For those with an interest in art, craft or design as a business, this course introduces students to professional practice, working in a studio environment and following a self-directed tutor-led programme of study. Subjects include drawing, 3D design, printmaking, sculpture, exhibition organisation and exhibition techniques.

Advanced Certificate in Administration and Information Technology for Business
Cavan Institute
One year, full time

Prepares students for employment in the business, finance and ICT sector. Designed for those who wish to gain advanced skills in office administration, IT skills, payroll and book-keeping techniques. A wide range of computer packages are taught, as well as front office skills, banking and insurance studies, word processing, spreadsheet methods, payroll, book-keeping and communications; work experience is included.

Accounting and Finance
with IT
Limerick College of Further
One year, full time

This programme offers participants experience with computerised accounting systems. Successful programme participants can progress to Advance Accounting and Finance with IT QQI/Fetac Level 6. Subjects include accounting, applied economics, business administration skills, taxation and business law.

Higher Certificate in Business
Waterford Institute of
Two years, part time

Designed to provide participants with exposure to a wide range of business skills, the Higher Certificate in Business may be regarded as a terminal qualification or as a stepping stone for students towards more advanced studies in BBS (Honours) courses or professional qualifications. Subjects include management, mathematics, organisational behaviour, marketing, statistics, ICT skills and macroeconomics.

Higher Certificates

Level 7 is just one step below an honours degree and is a useful option for those who want to step up their qualification without embarking on a three- or four-year degree programme. Level 7 programmes can usually be converted quite readily to full honours degrees.

Athlone Institute of
One year, full time

This qualification builds on the Higher Certificate in Business (Level 6) course. Focus is on the role and functions of a modern business enterprise and includes high level general and specialised knowledge related to how industrial and commercial organisations function and critical exploration of the key elements of effective business management. Subjects include managerial finance, business information systems, business law, enterprise development, company law. Students also have the choice to study subjects such as taxation, retail planning and design, logistics and HR.

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