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    Key information

    Delivery type
    Graduate Apprenticeship
    4 years
    MA (Hons)


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    As the modern business world becomes increasingly dynamic, understanding the way businesses and organisations operate and how they make key decisions, is crucial.

    The graduate apprenticeship programme is open to new or existing employees in Scotland of all ages and consists of 20% academic learning and 80% work-based learning.

    In the Business Management graduate apprentice programme our objective is to develop the general management and business knowledge and skills of participants in the context of contemporary private and public sector organisations, large and small.

    Employees examine organisations, understand workings and relate theories to actual business practices. Throughout the programme we develop the management and business skills necessary for a professional organisation.

    Programme structure

    The programme is structured so that essential foundational knowledge is provided in the early stages and this can be built on during the learning that will take place in the workplace.

    The programme comprises a number of courses that are undertaken through a blend of University attendance and work-based learning. Attendance at University will normally be one day per week. Although each course has specific learning objectives, the learning and work-based project work associated with each course is tailored to meet each student’s individual work context.

    In the third semester (over the summer period) of each year, students will be working on assessments and projects which will be supervised by a tutor from the University, course instructors, and work-based mentors.

    Graduates' skillset

    The Business Management graduate apprenticeship is designed to produce graduates with the following high level skills and knowledge attributes:

    • An understanding of business/organisations and their key functions and processes
    • An understanding and consideration of environment, organisational strategy, markets and processes – and how these work together.
    • Knowledge and understanding of organisational strategy and models and how to apply them.
    • Understanding of approaches to project management and the ability to apply them
    • Knowledge of financial models and how to use them to analyse performance
    • Understanding of how technology can enhance business
    • Able to communicate effectively using a range of media
    • Knowledge and understanding of leadership styles and organisational culture
    • Knowledge and understanding of how to manage people and teams effectively
    • Understands how to build effective relationships internally and externally
    • Able to manage self effectively, use emotional intelligence and core values
    • Knowledge and understanding of how to plan effectively and undertake personal development
    • Able to make effective decisions and solve problems based on research

    Key areas of the programme

    The primary focus of the Business Management graduate apprenticeship programme is on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes sought by employers.

    Organisational performance

    • Organisational strategy and operations
    • Project management
    • Business finance
    • Digital business and new technologies

    Interpersonal excellence

    • Communication
    • Leading People
    • Managing People
    • Developing collaborative relationships

    Personal effectiveness

    • Awareness of self and others
    • Management of self
    • Decision making

    Course content

    Year 1

    During the first year, the apprentice will be provided the foundations of management that include: finance and economics; a knowledge of different management and business functions; the enterprise in the context of its environment. The apprentice will also develop business skills that include: questioning and interviewing techniques; presentation skills; and design thinking.

    At the end of year 1, the apprentice will be aware of the skills required within business and show an understanding of both the internal and external influences on the organisation. Additionally, they will have gained introductory organisational skills for working as managers.

    Year 2

    During year 2, building upon the basic business knowledge and skills gained in year 1, the apprentice will develop an understanding of human behaviour in the workplace, basic accounting, and understand themes, theories and concepts of organisational behaviour.

    Projects will be undertaken to consider improvements that can be made to an operational element within the organisation and taking greater responsibility for personal development.

    The apprentice will also learn about contemporary marketing issues and problems faced by organisations; intercultural issues in business and management; and legal principles within the context of public-, private-, and third-sector organisations.

    Year 3

    Year 3 will build up on the knowledge and skills gained in year 2. The apprentice will have had experience of project management and be able to discuss the theoretical and practical issues involved in the strategic and innovation management of organisations.

    After gaining an understanding of how to carry out research in the business context, the apprentice will carry out a business analysis and consultancy project and present findings within their organisation.

    The apprentice will also undertake a timely course in logistics and supply chain management and learn how to analyse and troubleshoot logistics chains and distribution networks in the context of industrial, commercial and public sector organisations.

    Year 4

    The final honours year will see the apprentice taking full responsibility for a major work-based Capstone Project throughout the year. This project will be supported by the workplace mentor and an academic supervisor matched with the chosen topic. The apprentice will also consider the impact of various global political, economic, social and technological trends on the way we manage organisations, leading to an increased global awareness for managing international business.

    Building on the operational excellence, quality management course, the apprentice will acquire the methods, tools and techniques for measuring and managing performance as well as analysing and troubleshooting existing performance measurement and management systems.

    Finally, the apprentice will gain and understanding of processes, techniques, challenges and opportunities associated with digital marketing.

    Entry requirements

    Year 1

    • SQA Highers at BBBB (over two sittings)​
    • A-Levels at BBC​
    • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points​
    • SQA HNC in a relevant subject (or a suitable Modern Apprenticeship) with B in the graded unit​
    • Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills in conjunction with other suitable qualifications

    Year 2

    • SQA Advanced Highers at BB in relevant subjects plus SQA Highers at BBBB​
    • A-Levels at ABB in relevant subjects​
    • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points;​
    • SQA HND Business (or a suitable Modern Apprenticeship) with A or BB in the graded unit
    David C Steinberg
    "GA students in our flagship Business Management programme work in forward-thinking organisations that recognise the future of higher education and understand the value of growing management talent from within, rather than acquiring talent from outside."
    David C Steinberg,
    PhD, Director of EBS GA Programmes

    Why Edinburgh Business School?

    Ranking (Business and Management, Complete University Guide 2023)

    We’re ranked in the top quartile for Business and Management by the Complete University Guide 2023

    Ranking (Overall, QS World University Rankings 2024)

    Heriot-Watt are ranked in the Top 250 universities in the world, 32nd in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2024

    Graduate apprenticeship success stories

    Read our graduate apprenticeship partners' success stories who are already seeing the benefits.

    Clubs and activities

    At Heriot-Watt we have an extensive programme of over 90 sports clubs and societies to get involved in. You can try as many as you like or start one of your own!

    Edinburgh Campus facilities

    At Heriot-Watt University, we offer a wide range of services to help you deal with all aspects of your life with us, whether these be academic, personal, technical, financial or just plain fun!

    Health and wellbeing

    Student Wellbeing Services aim to provide a range of support, guidance, activities and advice to help students to be their best, and get the most from their university experience. From counselling to coaching we'll sure you are fully supported.

    Heriot-Watt Student Union

    There's more to university life than simply getting your degree, and Heriot-Watt University Student Union is all about helping you to have the best possible experience while you study here.

    Living in Edinburgh

    Historic and beautiful, a cultural capital that fuels the senses whether you love the arts or nature, nightlife or study life, Edinburgh is stimulating and inspirational and never, ever boring.

    Sport facilities

    Oriam, Scotland Sports Performance Centre offers state-of-the-art sports facilities, for all levels of sport and ability

    Your career

    Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

    We are accredited by the following organisations

    We develop degrees that are relevant for the world of work. We work with Professional bodies and Institutes to gain appropriate Accreditations and Professional Memberships for your industry. Find out below how this degree aligns to industry.

    Chartered Management Institute (CMI) logo

    Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

    On successful completion of the programme, students will also be awarded the Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership by the CMI - the chartered body for management and leadership in the UK.

    Register your interest in Graduate Apprenticeships

    Places are in high demand, and offered on a first come, first served basis to qualified employees – so please register your interest right away.

    If you are an employer, please complete the contact form to our GA team and we will contact you to discuss a detailed plan for your company.

    If you are already working, ask your manager to get in touch with us by completing this web form.

    If you are looking for an employer who could employ you and put you forward for the GA programme, you can find vacancies with current partner companies.

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