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Interview with our Head of Undergraduate Business, Katy Lever

Head of Undergraduate Business, Katy Lever

This week, we’re interviewing our Head of Undergraduate Business, Katy Lever. Katy graduated from the University of Leeds and went on to complete her PG Cert in Education by distance learning at Edge Hill University. She has since started studying on the University of Essex Online MBA course alongside her full-time role, and her interests include operations management and business strategy.

Katy has worked for the University of Essex Online since 2009 and within the business department since 2014. She has been the Head of Undergraduate Business programmes since April 2016.

1. How would you describe a University of Essex Online undergraduate business degree to someone with no previous knowledge of the course?

Our undergraduate business degrees are accredited by the University of Essex but are delivered entirely online. Content is varied; the CertCE sets the scene and contains modules introducing the topics of management, marketing and HR as a taster of things to come on the full BA courses (where a wider range of business functions and topics, such as finance, business planning, operations and strategy are covered).


2. What kind of person would benefit from studying the course?

Our course would benefit a wide range of people, for instance someone who is looking to develop or change their career, expand their knowledge and experience of business matters, or simply feed an interest or passion for business – all would be well suited. Even if they’re busy with other commitments such as family or work, the course is part-time so it is flexible enough to fit alongside these.


3. What makes the University of Essex Online’s business programme so good?

One of the business department’s key objectives is to offer programmes of study that support working people and complement career development, and our modules provide students with a fantastic opportunity to learn while working – and vice versa. Our assessment model encourages the application of learning to work-based situations, and for those who are in work you’ll hopefully find yourself able to demonstrate and apply your learning in the workplace. If you are not currently in a business role, it is still possible to look to examples of how existing companies apply the concepts that you learn about. The knowledge you acquire can also help with future job applications.


4. Are there any benefits to studying for the CertCE level as a standalone qualification?

Absolutely. The CertCE is made up of the first 4 modules on our full BA programmes, so you not only come out with a certificate but you will also have gained 60 credits towards a full BA with us (should you wish to progress and top up your qualification).

Choosing the CertCE means you are committing to a shorter period of study, which can be a good option if you have been out of study for some time and feel nervous, or if you’d like to get a better sense of what to expect from the full BA. The CertCE modules follow the same structure as all other 15 credit modules, so you’ll know what you are in for should you progress onto the full BA, which you can do straight away or after a short break. Additionally, you will be able to show potential employers that you have studied at HE level on your CV and current employers should also be impressed too!


5. University of Essex Online has two undergraduate business degrees. What is the difference between the BA (Hons) Business and Management and the BA (Hons) Business and Marketing?

The BA in Business and Marketing is our latest course to be launched and it has proven to be hugely popular; numbers are growing. The differences between the courses are a way of allowing students to specialise in a way that could help their careers or interests, while still benefitting from our core business modules.

Many modules on these two programmes are shared, but there are some key differences. Modules specific to the Business and Management course include Leadership and Managing Teams, Financial Decision Making and Strategic HR Management, and if you opt for Business and Marketing, you’ll study Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Communications and e-Business and Marketing, for example.


6. Can you tell us about some of the modules students will study?

The modules taught on our programmes are developed by subject experts in their field and cover a broad range of business topics, from marketing and HR to finance and law. As well as the modules listed above, examples of some of our core business modules are Business and Management Skills, Core Skills and Employability, Project Management and Business Strategy. Within several modules, you will also find a case study which encourages you to put yourself in a hypothetical business role and apply your learning to a fictional scenario, strengthening and embedding your understanding further.


7. How is the course tailored to online learning?

Our modules run all year round, with a three-week break over Christmas, meaning students don’t have to delay their studies over summer when traditional universities will close. The majority of modules at undergraduate level are just 9 weeks long with a week’s break between modules, and are thus well-suited to online students who can plan their breaks accordingly and maintain a healthy study/life balance.


8. Do students need any practical experience before joining the course?

No, this is a common misconception. Our degree programme is designed for anyone, whether you are a recent school leaver, the Managing Director of a small business or working for a multinational corporation. Regardless of experience, our undergraduate courses are designed to develop your existing skills and experience, and add new transferable skills.


9. What can graduates do with a degree in business?

Business graduates are not limited to one professional field; the possibilities for business graduates really are endless. Of course, many graduates go on to work in some form of business role, perhaps starting their own business or working in operations, marketing, HR etc., but you would not be limited to this line of work at all. There really are many opportunities to use your degree.


10. What advice would you give to people thinking about starting an undergraduate business course?

My advice would be to ask yourself two questions: Do I want to study towards a degree? And am I interested in business? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, then I recommend you enquire today! Business is a subject with many opportunities and a stimulating syllabus. And if you’re still on the fence, at University of Essex Online you can always choose to study our shorter, entry-level CertCE before progressing onto a full Bachelor’s degree.


Are you inspired to start studying business? Download our prospectus today!