Why do women still earn less than men?

In the nearly fifty years since the passing of the Equal Pay Act the gender pay gap in the UK has proved to be stubbornly resilient. What has changed is the way economists try to explain its existence and persistence. Fifty years ago economists used to explain differences in wages predominantly in terms of differences in experience, education and training, what collectively they termed ‘human capital’. Whilst they recognised that luck, nepotism and discrimination may be important, differences in human capital were thought to be the dominant determinant of wage differentials. It was, however, recognised that female workers were typically crowded into a narrower range of occupations and industries than males. Moreover, whilst glass-ceilings constrained many female employees’ ability to move up the job-ladder, it was also evident that employers tended to place a low premium on caring skills, which traditionally have been more associated with female workers.

More recently economists have established the importance of non-cognitive productivity-related characteristics, such as motivation, resilience and initiative, in explaining differences in wages. In terms of explaining the gender pay gap this opens up three intriguing possibilities. It may be that females are, on average, less endowed with those productivity-augmenting characteristics. This may be the result of nature or nurture and here the findings that single-sex schooling may be related to lower gender pay gaps is of interest. An alternative hypothesis is that females may have, on average, different preferences, placing a lower relative value on the monetary benefits from working. A third possibility is that employers do not reward males and females similarly for a given non-cognitive characteristic. Behaviour which is seen by employers as positive when undertaken by males, such a providing leadership in group discussion, may be viewed as indicative of a poor team-player when evident in a female employee.

If we are serious as a society about eliminating the 18 per cent gender pay gap then it may be time to pay less attention to altering the behaviour of female workers and spend more time creating more male homemakers.

Nick Adnett, Professor in Staffordshire Business School

The Economic and Social Impact of Stoke City FC

The English Premier League is a global brand. Stories abound of travellers from Stoke-on-Trent travelling to far flung corners of the earth, getting into a cab, pub, or conversation and being asked; “Where are you from?” the traveller responds; “I am from Stoke” only to be told; “I know Stoke FC!”, a list of players is usually reeled out including Peter Crouch and co, and from then onward, the conversation takes on a new dimension of familiarity and friendliness.

Peter Crouch Goal Celebration

 

English Premiership Clubs have fans in all corners of the world. Jerseys are sold in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Australia. Matches are watched on all sorts of devices and football players are household names with kids dreaming of growing up to be like their heroes or even just meeting them someday.

 

Beyond the pitch however, there is another dimension that is closer to home. Football clubs are generating huge revenues and investing these in a variety of ways with a huge impact to their local economies. For example, Stoke FC’s revenue was £11 million in the 2007/2008 football season and then Championship promotion boosted the Club’s revenue even more from commercial, match day and broadcast streams. In the 2015/2016 Stoke FC’s total revenues rose to £119 million, making them the 9th in the Premier League. The growth in the Club’s income since joining the Premier League has enabled it to significantly increase its investment in the region and grow the profile of the Club and the city at home and abroad.  Some key regional and social impact statistics for Stoke FC for the 2015/2016 season are shown in Table 1.

 

Table 1: Key Regional Economic and Social Impact of Stoke City FC Statistics (2015/2016 Season)
2,391 international visits
119,000+ domestic tourists
£7 million visitor spending
301 direct Club employees (FTEs)
£1.3 million spent on local community initiatives
£29 million spent on Club supply chains (some local)

 

In addition to the impact highlighted in Table 1, the Club has also expanded its stadium to boost match day attendance and attract more visitors to the region, invested in players from the UK and abroad to extend the reach of its fan base to other areas of the globe, invested around £4million into its academy providing local young people with opportunities to develop their football careers at the Club, and invested in the Community Trust to work with the wider community to target individuals who want to get back into education, employment or generally improve their health or mental well-being.

 

Not only does success on the pitch attract visitors to the region who spend on travel, accommodation and food and drink, there is the indirect effect from the supply chain and the induced impact from increased employee spending. Analysis from Ernst & Young LLP shows that Stoke City FC generated a total Gross Value Added contribution of 132 million to the region during the 2015/2016 season. £108 million was directly contributed via the club and its tourism, a further £13 million was generated via indirect effects in local supply chains and £10 million was generated via induced effects. This activity also attracts businesses to locate their operations within the area.

Staffordshire University students and staff with Tony Scholes (CEO of Stoke FC)

 

Granted that a lot of the players might not live in the region, the activities of Stoke City FC resulted in an estimated £66million total liability to the Exchequer in 2015/2016. The presence of Stoke City FC also supported many FTE jobs in the regional economy during that period. 301 people were directly employed by the club, 853 people were employed by relevant supply chains, 401 people were employed via tourism to watch Stoke FC, and a further 682 were employed because of induced effects.

 

Beyond these, the Club supports a variety of initiatives to improve the lives of individuals and communities, working with a number of stakeholders including schools, local government and wider supporting organisations (e.g. the premier league). Community activities are delivered by Stoke City FC’s Community Trust (SCCT) which was founded in 1989 and became a registered charity in 2004. Ernst & Young LLP estimate that around 10,900 people have participated in community and charitable programmes in 2015/2016. 119,600 day trips were organised and 304 people have gained at least one qualification as a result of the Clubs initiatives. During the period under review, 10,246 hours of volunteering community work was done with the result of £8.7 million savings for the local community on physical wellbeing and £2.9 million savings on mental well being from increased physical activity.

 

With these key statistics, it is not hard to cheer for our local team. The sporting and commercial success of the Club in recent years, which includes breaking their transfer record twice in the 2015/2016 season, has allowed Stoke FC to further embed itself as a key member of our local economy. We at Staffordshire University will continue to cheer for the club. You should do the same too 😊😊😊!!!

 

If the X is positive integer – how much should a new IPhone cost?

by Dr Andras Kenez

Several sites reported that Apple use different pricing for its different markets. While the US customers can get the new phone from $999 (£740), the UK prices starts from £999 ($1349). The new X costs only £754 in Japan, £813 in Hong Kong, £952 in China, but the customers in some countries pay even more than in the UK: it is £1027 in France, £1044 in Italy. The most expensive is Hungary with its £1073 price tag: it is cheaper to book a round trip flight to NY and pick up your new phone on your travels.

This difference in the final price is coming from the difference level of consumption taxes (VAT) mostly. The standard rate of VAT is 20% in the UK, 22% in Italy, 25% in Denmark and Sweden and world record 27% in Hungary. Some countries also have other taxes in the final price – therefore up to 25% of the price we pay will directly go to the exchequer of the country. The US prices are exclusive of sales taxes, which vary state-by-state (from 0% in Delaware to 7.25% in California). Without the taxes European prices would be about the same – around £830.

But this is still £90 more than in the US – why? The answer is the foreign exchange rates and channel distribution costs. The higher amount is the price of the exchange risk. Apple is not just calculating the Sterling (Euro etc.) cost of the product, because this value can change due to the changes in currency exchange rates. The stronger the dollar, the less Apple gets for the same price in Pounds (Euros). To avoid this risk, they must build in a buffer to the price against the exchange rate risks – otherwise they would have to amend the retail prices day by day.

Channel distribution costs means the costs of the logistics, all the costs of doing business in the country and the costs of transferring the money from an international market.

Apple Iphone Iphone X Technology Cell Phone

Apple Iphone X Technology Cell Phone

There is also a strategic element in pricing: they ask more here because they can. Companies want to maximise their profit, therefore the final price is not just a calculation of the costs. It is not just Apple – many tech companies ask more for their services in the UK from Amazon to Netflix, and the market verifies their pricing.

After explaining the difference between the prices worldwide, let’s take a look to the price itself. What is behind the $999 (£740)?

The retailers margin is also included in the price. When selling Apple products, resellers’ margin is lower than 10%, some estimate it to be 3-5% in case of the IPhones. Though some products have 40-70% margin, Apple have a pretty good bargaining power when we talk about IPhones. Do not expect price discounts from retailers.

Even if we calculate with 10%, it means that £666,  remains for Apple. Based on the previous financial reports of the company, the production costs less than a third of the phone’s price, while the profit rate is around 40%. It means that the production costs (processor, memory, touchscreen, sensors, cameras, battery, packaging and production) is around £222, the other costs (marketing, research and development, logistics, licences, software) is around £178, and profit of Apple is £266.

Could it be cheaper?

First, this is a strategic decision to keep the prices high. It is positioning: Apple price their products higher than their competition to create a so called perceived value. They want to express their exclusiveness and superior quality in the price. It differentiates the product: a meaningful difference that helps consumers justify spending more. Higher prices mean status and helps control the demand. This brand is not for everyone. You should feel the price.

And customers also pay the price premium for the brand. Customers values the quality, the credibility, the innovation, the social responsibility – and willing to pay for it. Brands can burnish the buyer’s reputation, increase confidence, and can form communities based on the attachment to a product. To build a strong brand is expensive – therefore you can see this not just in the profit rate but also in the marketing costs. So, no, I am afraid it could not be cheaper.

And why is it £999? The 99 ending is psychological pricing: the perception of the customers is different if they see the 9s at the end of the price. It creates the illusion that the phone is cheaper than it really is.

 

Sources: Apple, European Commission, Telegraph, Quora, Guardian, CNN, Business Insider, Digital Trends

Graduating with an award and a digital marketing business

By Andrew Dobson

My MSc in Digital Marketing Management at Staffordshire University includes the module ‘Managing a Digital Marketing Project’. This normally involves working with a company to create and implement a digital marketing strategy. I asked to take a different approach to the project and decided to create my own digital marketing agency: Track Digital Marketing. This, I reasoned, would allow me to develop my marketing and web design skills and gain an income by working with small businesses in Staffordshire.

Although I had not previously studied marketing, I felt optimistic that the skills I learned on the course and my previous experience in teaching English would provide me with the background needed to excel at digital marketing. However, the business management side of the project was something that I found more daunting.

Fortunately, Be Inspired at Staffordshire University offered business support in the way of training, a business grant and a mentor. I’ll be honest, when interviewed for the scheme I was sceptical about how much help they would actually provide (apart from the business grant). However, the combination of business training from Be Inspired, project management assistance from Professor Jon Fairburn, and business startup and digital marketing advice from my mentor Matt Clayton (owner of Build A UK Business) has been hugely beneficial.

After the initial setup of Track Digital Marketing I was ready for small businesses to queue up and bombard my email address with pleads for me to help them market themselves online. However, it only just occurred to me that my competition was vastly experienced at online marketing and probably had teams of experts in every digital marketing field. Whilst my knowledge and practical experience gleaned from the course made me an all-round professional marketer, I could not compete with huge established companies for the top Google searches. This left me with targeting a particular niche (small businesses in Staffordshire) and old-fashioned networking.

Luckily, I found that business owners (now including myself) love nothing more than telling everyone within a half-mile radius about their business. This is how Brereton Timber and I found each other: a good ol’ chin wag over a garden fence. To be more specific, a fence panel supplied and fitted by Edward Taylor from Brereton Timber.

A happy customer

A happy customer

Edward and business partner Craig Wardle had an expanding fence supplying and fitting business –  amongst a variety of other services. However, their old website did not reflect their current success, and their marketing consisted mainly of a 13ft wooden bear with ‘Brereton Timber’ plastered on it.

After discussing Craig and Edward’s digital marketing options and painstakingly explaining ‘long-tail keywords’, we agreed to complete the following:

  • An internal digital marketing and website audit.
  • Competitive research into the marketing activities of their main competitors, both regional and national.
  • Customer research and marketing preferences.
  • A comprehensive search engine and mobile optimised e-commerce website.
  • Keyword research and content marketing to bring customers in and guide them towards sales.

Although we are still in the process of designing the website and creating content, since we started working Brereton Timber’s online sales for July are higher than the rest of the year combined. The new website has a professional image befitting their professional work, has improved search engine rankings, and perhaps most importantly is customer-friendly.

Craig and Edward have expressed their gratitude in their own way (by promising me a free Christmas Tree in December) and had this to say: “Honestly, we can’t believe the change Track Digital Marketing has made to our business. Customers are always saying how good the website looks and we know that Andy is available anytime we have a query or want to change something on our website.” Despite their online success, Brereton Timber refuses to capture the Brereton Bear who continues to terrorise locals on the A50 between Holmes Chapel and Brereton.

Andrew Dobson

Enterprise training for 50 somethings and over

Are you aged 50 or over and are you thinking about setting up your own business? Or maybe you just fancy exploring a few ideas and getting some training?

Do you have a hobby or interest in an area you could turn into a business? Do you want a better work-life balance? Are you unemployed, facing redundancy or looking for a change? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then sign up now to this exciting new training course with the Business School at Staffordshire University.

We are offering you the opportunity to participate in a free face to face and online learning course that has been developed through identifying the needs of older workers. Through coaching, mentoring and training provided you will potentially be able to develop the entrepreneurial and enterprising knowledge and skills necessary to set up your own business.

Older woman facing camera behind flowers

We will look at areas such as how to obtain finance for your business and assess its viability. We even look at how to come up with a business idea in the first place, and once you know what you want to do we then guide you through the process of how to set it up. We help you to identify who your customers will be and how to promote your product to them. For those of you who feel you lack confidence we look at how to overcome some of the obstacles and barriers to ensure success.

The first of these courses will commence on 31st January 2018 and will include approximately 40 hours of face to face and online learning over a period of 1-3 months. The training is flexible so that you can choose to study the areas that best suit your needs. Following the training you will be signposted to a range of mentoring and support in the development of your business.

To register your interest in the course, please complete the application form using one of the links below. If you have completed the downloadable application form, please return it to Tom Ward at t.ward@staffs.ac.uk or the postal address detailed on the form. Should you require further information or a hard copy of the form, you can e-mail Tom or contact him on 01782 294902.

Online application form

Downloadable application form

Twitter: @silver_workers

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Funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and EU flag logo

Social Media and Marketing

Social media networks are incredible resources for businesses looking to promote their brands online and increase sale. The platforms themselves are free to use, but also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences. But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn’t mean you should be on every network. It’s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business, so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

Social media itself is a catch-all term for sites that may provide radically different social actions. For instance, Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages or “updates” with others. Facebook, in contrast is a full-blown social networking site that allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities.

Become a social media maestro and grow your business

If you want to create a successful social strategy, you should familiarize yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach on that network and how your business can best use each platform.

Social media can help you find prospective customer that are engaging in conversations relating to your business. Participating in those conversations can help you increase your business’s visibility and drive traffic to your website.  Especially when you are starting out, word-of mouth referrals on social media can be an effective way to direct prospective customers to your website and grow your business. Social media can help you receive feedback from your customers. Your quick and appropriate response through social media can help strengthen your brand, build trust, improve reputation and reinforce your credibility with current and prospective customers.

Why social media works

Social media fulfils a fundamental human need: to communicate. We are social animals. We like to communicate with each other. Social media facilitates this by helping us to communicate more easily, to more people, whenever we want. That is why social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and blogs are so successful. It simply lets customer communicate with each other and organisations communicate with customers (this incudes listening).

Use social media for your marketing

Nowadays, people use more and more TripAdvisor, Trivago, Instagram and other similar platforms as information sources when planning their trips, finding information on the destination, make decisions etc.  Social media platforms offer to small businesses a lot of opportunities to target and access markets at low cost, and achieve business sustainability goals.

Marketing doesn’t have to be left to the professionals charging large sums of money or commission for creative media. There are a few simple rules of how you market with extremely limited resources on social media.

You can create marketing strategies and select appropriate online and traditional marketing communications activities/customer groups, target markets and businesses, taking into consideration the size and type of that business.

We have created a free online tool to help you develop. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Marzena Reszka, Staffordshire Business School


Reference

Smith,P.R.; Zook, Z. (2012). Marketing communications integrating offline and online with social media. 5th edition.

Useful links

https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/business/2017/04/10/service-quality-in-tourism-the-road-less-travelled/

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The Importance of Employability Skills – Get Ready for Employability Challenge!

Without a doubt, one of the main challenges for students today is that different employers look for different sets of employability skills. However, it can be difficult for students to think about their employability skills whilst at university given busy schedules and pressure to meet assignment deadlines.

At Staffordshire University we take employability promise seriously. We want all of our students to graduate with the right employability skills and experience to enable them to follow their chosen career path. We promise our students to equip them with relevant employment skills and we deliver on our promise. We are proud about the fact that 97% of our graduates are in employment after graduating. When it comes to employability of our graduates, we are proud to be No. 1* in England for graduate employability. To achieve this, we work in partnership with many industry-leading organisations to help them tap into our home-grown graduate talent as well as helping students develop their employability skills through various initiatives and practices such as mentoring and work-shadowing. Global Entrepreneurial Week (GEW) event held at Staffordshire University every year plays the key role in equipping graduates with relevant work-related skills.

At Staffordshire University, we are committed to helping students maximise their employability and ultimately finding their dream graduate job, by offering a range of career-related events. In particular, GEW is an annual event at Staffordshire University that brings together a range of industry leading employers on campus during which students can meet and network with employers to find out about employment opportunities. Organised specifically for students, GEW and FutureFest event is designed to inform students about the future world-of-work. The Staffordshire University is committed to helping students maximise their employability, therefore the program is centred on topics that can help students succeed in every step of their career development process.

However, whilst we are committed to bringing leading business experts to share their expertise with students, there is also an expectation from students to actively participate in this event in order to get the most out of this unique opportunity for their career development. How to make the most out of this event? Network, network, network. Forward thinking students always have their CVs on hand to give out to potential employers. If you have never written a CV, you could get a professional help from the Career Office, who would assist you in writing a professionally looking CV, highlighting your transferable skills, and any work experience you have to date.

GEW and FutureFest event will provide students with an excellent opportunity to meet employers, discuss job opportunities, better understand career opportunities across various industries, get industry insights from recruiters, network with Industry leaders or simply get inspired. So, if you’re looking for your dream job or just looking to further enhance your employability skills, come along to GEW and FutureFest event held at Staffordshire University on November 13. We look forward to active participation of students in GEW and FutureFest 2017!

Dr Katerina Thomas, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

www.staffs.ac.uk

 

*Joint with Bishop Grosseteste University, excluding specialist institutions. Source: DLHE 2017

Can we trust what we see?

What is ‘quality’- standards, atmosphere, experience, reputation, education, consistency and doing it right no matter what. In a forever changing environment how are businesses meant to keep up with quality standards, changing standards and awarding bodies. Ford cited in Andersen (2013) stated ‘Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.’  Is looking the same as seeing? And who can we trust when it comes to quality?

We have to get it right no matter- what, who, how many staff have phoned in sick or when the tea spoon fairy paid you a visit.  Quality is based on opinion and expectation rather than star rating, price or quantity. We have brand reputation and businesses are forever trying to encourage staff to not just meet expectations but to exceed! To stay on top you must stand out, and one way is to exceed customer expectations.

We are now living in a very ‘personal age’ it’s not just a burger it’s your burger. Your name is on products and services are tailored to your individual needs. Businesses need to get staff to understand what guest expectations are and to understand it’s the personal touch that guest will remember and share.

It’s really hard on a busy shift when we have to serve a guest, answer the phone and close the fridge door all at the same time! This is why is it harder than ever to actually see rather than just look! Guest have their own expectations and we have to try and surpass these without even knowing what they are! When I see a restaurant that has dirty plates on the tables, I think wow they’ve been busy. But others might see- staff aren’t being very efficient. Expectations and perceptions are different and very hard to manage.

If you want to try and understand how to manage guest expectations and find out more about quality and exceeding customer expectations  register and complete a quality module for free using our on line training tool. There are 11 modules to choose from: – Quality, Seasonality, Training and Energy Controls. Click here to register and complete for free: – http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Tonia Barrett, Staffordshire Business School

 

Reference

Andersen, E. (2013) 21 Quotes from Henry Ford on Business, Leadership and Life. [Online] Available from: – https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2013/05/31/21-quotes-from-henry-ford-on-business-leadership-and-life/#5dd7a464293c [accessed 19.07.2017]

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Sustainable Food and Drink Tourism

‘Tourist choices are increasingly influenced by sustainability considerations’
(UN World Tourism Organisation – 2012)

The UN regards food as an ‘intangible cultural asset’

Food is part of a destinations ‘persona’

Source: World Food Travel Association, 2016 FoodTrekking Monitor

Food sustains life; without food, humans cannot survive. It is, therefore, important for our future to protect the natural resources that supply food. However, what people eat not only matters for individuals and their environment, but for the economy and society in general. At the same time, food is an important component of a holiday. For hotels and cruise ships, good food has the potential to become a competitive advantage while bad food can damage a hotel’s or cruise ship’s reputation for years. This is why it is of great importance for tourism businesses to manage food in a sustainable way.

Sustainable food consumption is a growing field of interest. One reason is the constantly and rapidly growing demand for food in a world whose population is expected to grow to over 9 billion people by 2050. At the same time, food producers around the world often do not get a fair share of global food trade and in many instances work under poor conditions. Additional pressure arises from the greenhouse-gas emissions caused by food production, which play a crucial role in climate change. Furthermore, the health aspect of food is a major concern, especially in modern societies. Finally, rapid socio-cultural changes in many countries raise the question of the protection of food cultures and traditions.

Food and drinks consumption is seen by most tourists as an important part of their trips and tourism often takes place in ecologically, socially and culturally sensitive destinations. Through food consumption, it is not only possible to support your health and well-being while on holiday, but also to interact directly with the ecological, social and cultural resources of a destination.

Some key facts

  1. For 44% of traveller’s food is one of the top three criteria they consider when deciding where to travel.
  2. 1 in 5 international visitors to Europe are involved in gastronomic activities on the trip.
  3. Food and drinks is the second largest spend by tourists (after accommodation) whilst on holiday. 

At the same time, unsustainable food consumption has the potential to cause harm for tourists, local inhabit- ants, and destinations in general. Over use of scarce resources, excessive food waste and poor labour conditions are some examples of areas, where touristic food consumption has negative consequences for a destination. Understanding and managing food in a holistic, sustainable way is therefore one key for the future success of tourism businesses around the world.

Dimension: Local Food

Local purchasing supports a destination’s economy both directly through payments and indirectly through the creation of jobs. Also, from an environmental point of view, local sourcing makes sense, since it lowers transport emissions and packaging waste. Local sourcing also helps protect local food cultures and might provide healthier options of less-processed and -preserved food.

The primary challenge to tourism businesses in holiday destinations is, therefore,
to find access to local produce and to build up a reliable food supply. However, there is no official definition of what local food actually means. For example, the Green Restaurant Association (USA) defines local food as food that comes from a distance of below 400 miles (643 km) away, while Viabono (Germany) regards food from less than 60 miles (96.5 km) away as local.

What is considered local also depends on the destination: for a hotel on a small island, the local radius is probably smaller than for a land-based hotel in extensively populated areas. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, you should look for the closest food supply you can get.

Local ingredients and food seem to play a key role, when it comes to customers attitudes. More than 60% of German package holiday travellers prefer local dishes to familiar ones and strongly agree that food and drink are a good way to become acquainted with other cultures.

So what can you do?

 You have to understand the growing importance of food and drink in the tourism industry and its importance to your customers. Than, identify and apply actions to address customer needs and promote your business using sustainability as the message.

We have created a free online tool to help you develop this area. Our training tool was developed by and with the tourism industry. This free online training covers 11 modules to complete with short quizzes at the end of each module. This tool helps you to design your own strategy in relation to your individual business needs.  All you need is an internet connection.

Click here to register and start your free online training today:  http://smartour.dcnet.eu/

Marzena Reszka, Staffordshire Business School.

Reference

UN World Tourism Organisation (2012). Annual Report. [Online] Available from: http://www2.unwto.org/publication/unwto-annual-report-2012

World Food Travel Association (2016). Food Trekking Monitor. [Online] Available from: http://www.worldfoodtravel.org/articles/world-food-travel-association-2016-annual-report

Useful links

https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/business/2017/04/10/service-quality-in-tourism-the-road-less-travelled/

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What Next After Graduation?

Now you have completed an important journey of your life! It is truly a milestone and whether you have done it for yourself or for parents’/partner’s sake, the dedication, commitments and challenges have been great and will live with you for a very long time to come. From now on, anything that you wish to set as a target or challenge is within your reach! Some of you will be looking for jobs and others will make a decision whether to set another educational goal. A master’s degree perhaps, a PGCE or professional qualifications? Any and all are within your sight and sky is the limit for you! Whatever you would like to do, you are now the expert to confirm to yourself, yes, I can and I will do it…

Just to let you know that Staffordshire Business School offers a wide range of Masters degrees, just to mention few: MSc Accounting and Finance, MSc Digital Marketing Management, MSc International Business Management, MA Human Resource Management and MA Strategic Human Resource Management. Most of which attract a student finance loan of £10,280 to pay for the fees and your living costs. Because the University wanted to make it easy for those who wish to further their study, it set the Masters fees so low! Therefore, the £10,280 student finance loan is more than enough to pay the fees and goes a long way to cover significant part of your living expenses. For example, the fees for the MSc Accounting and Finance is £6,200 (for Home and EU students). The recipients of £10,280 from student finance will be left with £4,080 after paying the fees which they can use towards their living expenses!

Remember, if you are still finding it difficult to make this strategic decision about your future, your ‘former’ personal tutor, course leader and all other staff who taught you are only too pleased to discuss this with you. Of course the Postgraduate course tutors are there too to provide further details about their particular course.

Being the Connected University, the message is simple, do not hesitate to get in touch!

Arshad Hussain, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School.

www.staffs.ac.uk