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Top Business Topics | What Do Students Want To Study At Business School?

Find out which business topics students are most interested in and what other aspects of business school they also highly value

Fri Nov 10 2023

General Management, Strategy Execution, and Global Leadership are the most popular topics at business school, according to a recent global survey of business school students. 

The AMBA & BGA Student Survey 2023: Aspirations & Program Experiences surveyed 544 students currently enrolled at business schools across the globe. 

While the study revealed developing business skills was the most valued element of the experience to students, it was closely followed by networking opportunities, and international opportunities and outlook.

The survey results also showed a highly positive overall opinion of business school. Over half of respondents said their course had exceeded their expectations so far. A further 35% said their course was meeting their expectations.

What business topics are students most interested in?

When asked which core aspects of their business program interested them the most, developing business skills was the first choice for students–cited by 61% of participants.

The survey showed students have a wide spread of interests across the most common topics taught within management education. Every suggested area was of particular interest to at least one in five respondents to the survey. 

The top three were General Management (cited by 52%), Strategy Execution (49%) and Global Leadership (47%). 

Finance and Strategy Marketing came immediately after the first three with Finance cited by 46% and Strategy Marketing cited by 45% of students. 

After the first five there was a slight drop down in the subjects students were interested in. Three subjects all had 39% of interest from student respondents: Innovation, Operations Management, and Change Management.

Subjects that were of least interest to students were Accounting (21%), Strategic Human Resource Management (21%), Statistics (21%), and Supply Chain Management (20%).

Topics identified among the 3% who cited ‘other’ particular areas of interest included, Managing Corporate Reputation, Circular Economy, and Artificial Intelligence.

Which Topics Interests Business School Students The Most?

What other aspects of business school are valued by students?

Beyond core learning offered in-class, student respondents were also highly interested in various other aspects of the business education experience. 

Popular factors included networking opportunities (cited by 57%), international opportunities and outlook (55%), and career development prospects (53%).

Over half of the the respondents also cited developing people management skills (51%) and learning from industry experts (50%) as a draw for attending business school. 

These responses exemplify the multi-layered experience provided by business school education. 

Throughout a typical business school degree, students work and develop their skills with classmates and professors from an assortment of different backgrounds and levels of experiences. 

They are also given a range of networking opportunities ranging from career days, to guest lectures, to experiential learning opportunities and internships. 

In terms of the experiential aspects that least interested students, fewer respondents said they were most interested in their program’s coverage of emerging technologies (29%) and entrepreneurship (35%). L

earning about the wider world and business, with issues related to climate change and poverty, was also at the lower end of students’ interests (38%).

How does business education match up to students’ expectations? 

In general, the report indicates that participants’ feelings towards their chosen business programs are positive.

A significant 35% of respondents reported that their program completely exceeded their expectations, while 18% indicated that it partially exceeded their expectations. 

A further 35% said they found their chosen program to be in line with their expectations. This means almost 90% of respondents either had their expectations exceeded or met. 

Only a minority, 10%, felt their program was falling short of their expectations, with just 2% reporting that it was completely falling short of their expectations so far.

Those students who reported their program was exceeding their expectations made comments referencing international and experiential learning opportunities; entrepreneurial skills; and networking. 

Specific comments made by these students included: 

- "The program has offered valuable company visits, international residencies and guest speakers, enhancing the overall experience."

- "Skills attained from the program have enabled me to start a successful water bottle business and look into rental property ventures."

- "The program has facilitated networking opportunities and equipped myself and my fellow participants to solve real-life work problems effectively."

Those who felt their programs were falling short of their expectations voiced concerns that included: a lack of peer contribution; an overly academic approach; and a need for more international focus, rather than just regional.