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Private Business Schools in the UK and Europe

Private business school students If you're looking to study a postgraduate business course somewhere in UK or Europe then you should consider studying at a private university business school when weighing up your options. The distinction between a private and a public/state university in the UK and Europe can often be less clear than it is in USA, so this article will outline some of the differences to help you understand what a private business school is and why you should consider attending one when choosing where to study.

It can be hard to tell whether a university is private or public sometimes, since both can offer comparable courses at their business schools. Private does not necessarily mean 'for-profit' either, since some private institutions function as charities. Broadly, the biggest difference between a public and private institution is that a private institution does not receive government funding. University degrees are much more carefully regulated in UK and Europe compared to USA, so you do not have the issue of 'diploma mills' like you do in the USA. A university will usually advertise that it is privately owned, and there are relatively few around. One way to tell that a business school is privately owned is to check if the price of the course varies depending on student nationality – if it doesn’t, it's probably a private school.

A public/state university is one that is open to everybody and the attendance of the students is usually partly or fully subsidised by the government – particularly for home students. This means that, in effect, the state owns the university; however the administration of the university is usually left to the school administration. If you're from the UK you may consider this normal, because the overwhelming majority of universities are public/state universities. Very few private universities exist in the country so you may be unaware of the advantages of studying at a private university business school.

A privately owned university will depend on the students directly for its funding. Who is expected to pay for the cost of the course depends on where you are from and what you are studying, but in general because a private university is owned by private interests, governments will not pay or subsidise students' attendance, either in part or in full. This can mean that attending a private business school may cost you more than attending a state business school, but this extra cost is usually heavily invested in school facilities.

Cost of a private business school

The cost of a postgraduate business course at a state university will vary between institutions but a typical cost of around £6,000 per year should be expected. In contrast, studying at a private business school may cost you around £9,000-£10,000 per year, although again this price will fluctuate depending on the specific institution you choose to attend. Therefore the cost of attending a private business school is higher than attending a state business school, although not by as much as some people may think. This means that your choice to attend a state or private business school should also consider other factors, for example access to facilities, accreditation and the reputation of the business school.

Advantages of a private business school

At a private business school you will most likely have better access to the facilities on offer than at a state business school. Since university attendance has been rapidly increasing in the past few decades, space is at a premium and many state universities are letting in record numbers of new students. This puts a squeeze on university services and makes it more difficult for the individual student to access them. Typically private schools have lower student numbers than at state schools, so there is less competition to access the facilities on offer. This is not always a big deal but at crunch times around deadlines it can be a nice bonus.

The accreditation offered by a private business school is hugely important. Since you are mostly likely studying a postgraduate business course to help get a job at the end of it, it's important that you know the qualification you receive will be recognised and accepted by the companies you wish to work for. This is extremely important for those studying a business-related course, because it's highly dependent on the specific course and company. You will have to do your research on this and check out the sort of reputation that each university's business school has, because you don't want to wind up studying at an institution to come out with a degree that your employer does not consider credible.

Private or state?

Ultimately the choice to attend a private or state business school for your postgraduate program should come down to your specific situation. The course you wish to attend and the degree you wish to come out with should matter the most, regardless of whether it comes from a private or state-owned institution. Both will generally offer you superior employment prospects than if you had not studied a postgraduate business course at all, so it's worth studying regardless. You should thoroughly research all business schools before making your decision as to where you want to study, and don’t write off private schools because of the higher costs – the investment could be worth it. Similarly don’t write off public schools because of the higher student numbers – there could be better networking potential. In short, make sure you weigh up all your options and conclude which one works out best for you – and remember that it's always better to have more choice!


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