Studying a Bachelor of Business degree as a mature student

Undergraduate courses

Things to consider before you start your Bachelor of Business degree as a mature student

Posted 12 August

Returning to education after being in work can be an exciting yet daunting prospect. At Galway Business School, we’re committed to helping you make the right choices when selecting your Bachelor of Business course, and supporting you at every stage of your journey.

Attending a level 8 business degree not only furthers your qualifications, it improves your job prospects, knowledge, skillset and confidence. But before you take the first step, it’s important to ask the right questions to make sure the course and delivery path are the right fit for you and your life.

I am a mature student and returning to college after a good few years is daunting. A lot of things were very new this time around in college but GBS were very understanding and helpful. It was also great to able to contact our lecturers if we had any queries. The staff in the school went above and beyond and even the smallest things like receiving a call to see if I was getting on ok meant a lot. Well done all. You have been very accommodating and supportive. It is much appreciated. Donna Byrne, Galway Business School student

Every year, Galway Business School welcomes around one hundred and fifty new mature students to its programmes, and there’s no upper age limit. Our current mature students range in age from twenty-three to fifty-six, and they bring with them a wealth of life and work experience, which enriches everyone’s learning.

Things to consider before you start your Bachelor of Business course as a mature student

Is this the right course for you?

Think about your reasons for doing the programme. You may be motivated by the love of learning, but most people look at furthering their education in order to advance their career prospects through upskilling. Staff and former students of Galway Business School attest to the fact that many employers won’t promote you beyond a certain point without a level 8 degree.

What is the best way for you to take the course?

Are you going to study full or part time? How is the programme going to fit in around your life? The level 8 Bachelor of Business degree with International Business from Galway Business School is delivered full or part time, giving you the flexibility to find a way to make it work for your unique circumstances.

Part time study takes place over two evenings per week (Tuesday and Thursday 18.30 - 21.30), and two semesters. Workshops, tutorials, company visits and guest speakers will be introduced throughout the course to enrich your learning experience.

Are your previous qualifications relevant?

Think about whether your first degree is relevant to the level 8 business degree. If you want to undertake the course as a second degree then it’s a four-year commitment (albeit part time). However, there are exemptions to save you studying for the first three years. If you are unsure whether your first level 7 degree is relevant, please contact us to find out. We’ll be more than happy to advise you according to your personal circumstances.

Who’s going to pay for your course?

Are you self-funded, receiving a grant, scholarship or bursary, or are your current employers paying for your study? If you can create a business case for how your degree with Galway Business School will help your organisation, then you may be able to get all of your fees covered.

What support does Galway Business School offer to mature students?

Returning to education after time in the workplace can seem overwhelming if it’s been a while since you sat in a classroom. You’ll benefit enormously from the small class sizes, and you’ll be given additional resources before the start of your programme.

The lecturers are patient, understanding, with vast knowledge and good attitude. Grainne Whiteside, GBS student
Excellent lecturers. Very knowledgeable and experienced. Michael Walsh, GBS student

Our staff are committed to supporting you on every step of your journey and the business degree support for mature students includes:

  • An induction programme to Galway Business School
  • Student handbook and module guides
  • On-going workshops & seminars
  • Library and learning resources available at Galway Business School
  • Academic writing guides and tutorials
  • Access to teaching and learning support services
  • Virtual learning environment (Moodle) and Turnitin
  • Provision of careers advice, interview and job hunt workshops
  • Pastoral support as required over the period of study
Galway Business School

Galway Business School

Tips and tricks for taking a business degree in Ireland as a mature student

Galway Business School offers information and support on how to create a study schedule and how to organise yourself, just because you may be a bit out of practice.

You’ll also receive a student handbook which contains tips on how to study effectively, and be efficient with your time and effort. You can access study materials anytime via GBS Moodle, our e-learning platform, which should help you to fit in study around family, the day job, and leave time for yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed by it all.

Here are some ideas you can consider now, when planning for the start of your bachelor of business course.

Set boundaries

Going back into full or part time education after a period of work is not only new for you, but also for those in your sphere, whether at home, work, or both. This new situation will require an adjustment as new parameters and expectations are set. You’re likely to be less available and expectations need to be managed from the start.

It’s helpful to block out set times in your diary, when friends, family and work colleagues know that you’re on your course or studying. Keeping these times consistent helps everyone adapt and keep you on track. Also set boundaries for yourself. No matter how stimulating your work is, make sure you keep on track with sleep and exercise or your long-term performance may suffer.

Create the best work environment

If you’re now spending more time studying from home, it’s important to find a quiet space to work. Setting up on the kitchen table as the rest of the family continues their lives around you isn’t great for concentration - or your posture! It’s important to invest time and money from the outset to create the most ideal work environment as this will pay off from day one.

Think about where you situate your desk. Are you more able to concentrate if you can see out of a window, or are you better facing a blank wall? Have you got enough space to lay out any books you might need? Is the screen far enough away from your face to prevent eyestrain and headaches?

Assess your setup from an ergonomic perspective. Make sure you have the correct height for your chair and desk, and potentially consider a configuration that allows you to work standing. The more time you spend getting this right, the more your back, neck and shoulders will thank you further down the line. Is anyone going to IKEA?

Critically examine your tech. Do you have an up-to-date computer? Would it be helpful to buy an extra monitor? A set of noise-cancelling headphones can also be an invaluable investment in helping create the right environment for your study. Many people can’t concentrate when listening to music, but playing white noise or the sound of rain can be very helpful. Maybe less of a requirement here in Ireland!

Create the right habits

As a mature student, you may be out of practice when it comes to learning new things on this scale. Be kind to yourself and accept it may take a bit of time to get into the habit of learning and the back to the sensation of stretching and challenging your brain. Embrace the unknown, feel the fear and keep taking the next step forwards. Give yourself achievable short, medium and long term goals and reward yourself when you reach them.

Find the right software or hardware to manage your diary and task list. You may prefer to manage your life online, but you may prefer the tactile feel of a pen and paper in your hands. A bullet journal can be a very useful tool for managing your ‘to-do’ list, and help keep it under control.

Make sure when you work, you concentrate on quality, not quantity. It can be helpful to set a timer on your desk and work with a twenty minute rule: Focus intently for twenty minutes, then get up and take a five-minute break. Repeat this three times, then take a fifteen minute break. When you’re rested and alert, you will be more productive, and your work more effective than if you’re tired and sit in front of a screen for hours.

Contextualise your study

As a mature student on the Bachelor of Business degree, you have a huge advantage, thanks to your experience to date. As you learn, take time to examine how your course applies to your current job.

This has to be the single biggest benefit from having worked before starting your business degree,... that you’ll have a really good feel for how some of the theories play out in the real world. Also, no one can discount the value of that experience, so when it comes to writing essays and assignments, always look at how you can pull in examples from your own work. Exchanging real-life examples is a really interesting part of the course.

Not only can this help keep you motivated and stimulate your study, you may also be able to add extra value at work. See if there are problems at an organisational level that you can help to solve. If you can identify in advance how your course could assist your organisation to improve, then this could also help you get sponsored. In any case, be sure to let your line manager or HR team know that you’re starting a bachelor of business degree. In bigger companies, there may be all sorts of benefits and opportunities open to you, such as sabbatical leave or flexible working.

Taking the next step

Embarking on the Galway Business School level 8 business degree may seem like a big step if you’ve been away from formal education for a while. However you’ll soon realise that there are huge benefits from having worked in business, as opposed to studying straight from school where you can’t easily contextualise what you’re learning.

All my lecturers were very good at teaching. They gave us an opportunity to ask for clarifications in anything we did not understand. We had great support and encouragement.

Solem Pakedou, GBS student

And as so many of our students attest, the lecturers and admin team really go out of their way to make sure you feel comfortable and succeed with us.

Get in touch to chat more about our Bachelor of Business degree with International Business programme, and we look forward to welcoming you to Galway Business School.