Everything Malaysian students need to know about applying to and studying in the UK.
If you are interested in business, you need knowledge on accounting and finance. No business in the world can grow or thrive without adequate and deep knowledge on finance – to read balance sheets and determine cashflows, and take calculate risks to increase profit margins. If you are interested in studying accounting and finance, then studying in the United Kingdom can be your best bet.
Why should you study Accounting and Finance in the United Kingdom?
The United Kingdom is well-known as having one of the most extensive and highly rated universities in the world. While the basics of accounting and finance are clear cut and well-defined, what separates one accounting student from another is exposure, experience and the ability to transfer accounting skills and financial literacy to any form of business in the world. Education in the United Kingdom definitely provides this advantage. Here’s why.
- Be accredited by major accountancy bodies. It is important not just to study accounting and finance, but to also hold an accredited license by the end of it. You will graduate not just with a degree, but typically with a license by ACCA, AIA, CIMA, CIPFA or ICAEW which is generally accepted worldwide.
- Translating numbers into words – clearly. There exists a different language with numbers altogether which is foreign for anyone without financial literacy. As a graduate in accounting and finance, it is your job to not just understand the numbers, but to explain it in layman terms to those from other fields. The United Kingdom, with its high emphasis on English language, can provide you with this valuable skill to translate numbers into meaningful words, making you a valuable asset to any company you enter after graduation.
- Participate in international exchange programs. Many universities in the United Kingdom offer its accounting and finance students international exposure by spending one semester abroad at one of their partner business schools. For international students, this is truly a wonderful experience as you will get exposure not only to the system in United Kingdom, but in another country as well.
- Choose to study for three or four years. Typically, a degree in accounting and finance comes with a personal choice of studying for three or four years. You can decide to finish sooner (and reduce costs) by completing your degree in three years, or you can choose a four-year degree which includes a one-year paid placement to put your skills into practice and obtain working experience. The choice is yours! Some universities have collaborated with over 300 companies of all sizes across all business sectors where you can choose to enter for placement.
- Work while you study and apply what you learn. International students are able to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week while during term and full-time during the holidays. After graduation, PhD students can also apply to stay a further 12 months sponsored by your university with full unrestricted work rights. This means high exposure and opportunities to put your studies into context with businesses that run in the United Kingdom.
Despite being a course that is offered everywhere, universities in the United Kingdom have given their signature touch of allowing you to personalize your experience as a student of accountancy and finance. You can choose which country to explore for their one-semester placement (depending on the university of choice), and you can choose whether to graduate within three or four years. Regardless, you will graduate with a license and can immediately apply to any business in any industry in the world.
What are tuition fees like for Accounting and Finance in the UK?
Regardless of degree, the costs of pursuing a degree is never cheap. However, the costs that come with a degree in accountancy and finance in the United Kingdom is well worth the experience, exposure and accreditation that they offer with the degree. The top universities which offer accountancy and finance courses in the United Kingdom, along with their tuition fees for international students, are:
- Bath University – £17,700/year (top university of choice for accounting and finance)
- Loughborough University – £17,500/year (second top university for accounting and finance)
- Leeds University – £17,500/year
- Strathclyde University, Scotland – £14,050/year
- Buckingham University – £15,400/year
On average, the cost of studying accounting and finance in United Kingdom is £17,000 a year. Duration of study is between three to four years depending on whether the university offers a work placement as part of the graduation requirements, along with your personal choice.
What about student accommodation and living expenses in the UK?
It is important for international students to study the prospectus and websites of their universities of choice, as most universities in the United Kingdom provide a basic breakdown of the living expenses for international students. While the expenses are mostly similar when studying in any country, expenses can also vary depending on the university’s location and facilities. The table below shows the breakdown of expenses, and the sub-sections below provides additional tips to save and live on a budget.
|Expense category||Amount in GBP||Amount in RM|
|Accommodation||£50 – £80 per week||RM270 – RM430 per week|
|Food||£20 – £35 per week||RM110 – RM200 per week|
|Transport||£60 for monthly pass||RM330 for monthly pass|
|Telephone & Internet||£5 – £10 per week||RM27 – RM55 per week|
|McDonald’s combo meal||£5||RM27|
Note: The amount in RM changes depending on the current currency exchange rate.
Compared to other countries in the east, the United Kingdom is one of the most expensive places to live in and the same applies for its international students. When looking at options for accommodation, universities in United Kingdom offer international students the option of accommodating the university residences, which start from £50 to £80 per week depending on the size of the university. The residences will come with a canteen to buy food, or a kitchen for you to cook your own meals.
Alternatively, one popular option is to find a group of six to eight people and find a house to rent close to the university. A typical house in the United Kingdom has two to three bedrooms and often comes with a spacious attic. Sharing a house between six to eight people brings the cost of rent down considerably to anything from £35 per week depending on the type of accommodation.
Like in any country, it is often cheaper to make your own meals than to dine out every day. Creating a set budget between £20 to £35 per week on food supplies can help you to save on food expenses. If you rent with friends, the shared cost to buy food supplies to make meals together can enable you to set the budget much lower.
Telephone, Internet and bills
The good news is that with social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype, it is possible to skip the need for a landline altogether, which has a base rate of £10/week. For a mobile phone, contracts start at £5/week for calls, and £5/week for standard DSL internet. If you are renting, bills can typically amount to £10/week for water, heating and electricity.
It is important to remember that there must always be additional budget for study materials, travel and fun. Depending on where you live, it is possible to thrive by walking and public transport alone – the weather in the United Kingdom is often pleasant for walking all year round.
How to save money while studying in the United Kingdom
For international students, make sure you request for your student NUS card which acts like an ID and gives you special discounts in many national stores. The United Kingdom is also active with large, weekly car boot sales where you can buy good quality clothing, old textbooks and household items. Finally, never skip visits to Poundland, Tesco and Asda to save more when buying items and make use of your rights to work part-time to generate some income.
How to apply
To study business and management in the United Kingdom, you will typically need to have STPM (equivalent to UK’s GCE Advanced [A-Level]), Foundation or Pre-University results. For Malaysian students, the Malaysian CGPA is equivalent to the UK CGPA with the highest being 4.0. You will also need to sit for the IELTS English proficiency test, with the standard passing rate at 6.5 and above out of 9.0 (with no individual test score below 5.5). For more information, visit our Guide to Study in the UK 2018.
To apply for a student visa to study in United Kingdom, you must:
- Have a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from your university for the full-time degree of choice.
- Have evidence of funding to pay for the tuition fees and monthly living costs.
Visa applications are made online at the UK Visa & Immigration website, and you will later be summoned to the visa application centre to have your fingerprints and photograph taken as part of your application. For more information, visit our Guide to Study in the UK 2018.
Opportunities after graduation in the United Kingdom
A degree from the United Kingdom is like waving a golden ticket. Any form of education from the UK is recognised worldwide as holding one of the highest academic standards in the world. With a degree in Accountancy and Finance, especially if you have opted for both international placement and a one-year working placement, it is unsurprising that top universities in the UK reported that their accountancy students obtained a job placement within six months of graduation, with an average salary that is £5000 (around RM26,600) higher than their national average.
Upon graduation, students may enter the following fields and positions among many more:
- Chartered accountant
- Company secretary
- Forensic accountant
- Business development
- Data analyst
- Management consultant
- Purchasing manager
Many students also opt to pursue for a master degree and build careers in academia after graduation.