HNC and HND in Business

The combined elements of these courses offer students a broad introduction to the subject area via a mandatory core of learning, while allowing for the acquisition of skills and experience through the selection of optional units across a range of occupational sectors at Level 4. The Level 5 offers students six specialist pathways designed to support progression into relevant occupational areas or on to degree-level study.

Module Details - How Will It Work?

To achieve the HNC you need to complete the six core units and then select two of the four optional units. To achieve the HND you need to study a further seven units, outlined below.

U1 Business and the Business Environment

The aim of this unit is to provide students with background knowledge and understanding of business, the functions of an organisation and the wider business environments in which organisations operate. Students will examine the different types of organisations (including for profit and not for profit), their size and scope (for instance, micro, SME, transnational and global) and how they operate.

The knowledge, understanding and skill sets gained in this unit will help students to choose their own preferred areas of specialism in future studies and in their professional career.

U2 Marketing Essentials

This unit is designed to introduce students to the principles of marketing, enabling them to develop a basic marketing plan and to employ elements of the marketing mix to achieve results. While they will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, they will also be able to relate these to real-world examples, including products/services that they encounter in their own daily lives.

The knowledge, understanding and skill sets that students will gain on successfully completing this unit will enhance their career opportunities; whether setting up their own business or being employed by an organisation.

U3 Human Resource Management

The aim of this unit is to enable students to appreciate and apply principles of effective Human Resource Management (HRM). This unit will explore the tools and techniques used in HRM to maximise the employee contribution and how to use HR methods to gain competitive advantage.

The unit investigates the importance of good employee relations and the ways in which employers engage with their staff and possibly with trade unions. Students will gain an understanding of the law governing HRM processes as well as the best practices which enable an employer to become an ‘employer of choice’ in their labour market.

U4 Management and Operations

The aim of this unit is to help students understand the difference between the function of a manager and the role of a leader. Students will consider the characteristics, behaviours and traits which support effective management and leadership. In addition, this unit will introduce the concept of operations as both a function and a process which all organisations must adopt to conduct business.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of how management and operations make a positive, efficient, and effective contribution to an organisation at a junior level. This could be in the role of a team leader or managing a specific aspect of an operation function and/or process.

U5 Management Accounting

The overall aim of this unit is to introduce the fundamentals of management accounting which apply to the wider business environment and the organisations which operate within that environment. Students will explore how management accounting uses financial data to aid planning decisions and the monitoring and control of finance within organisations.

On successful completion of this unit students will be in a position to present financial statements in a workplace context and be able to assist senior colleagues with financial business planning. In addition, students will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to progress onto a higher level of study.

U6 Managing a Successful Business Project

The aim of this unit is to offer students an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for managing and implementing a project. They will undertake independent research and investigation for carrying out and executing a business project which meets appropriate business aims and objectives.

On successful completion of this unit students will have the confidence to engage in decision-making, problem-solving and research activities using project management skills. They will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to enable them to investigate and examine relevant business concepts within a work-related context, determine appropriate outcomes, decisions or solutions and present evidence to various stakeholders in an acceptable and understandable format.

U7 Business Law

The aim of this unit is to enhance students’ understanding of how business law is applied to the running of a business organisation. Students will gain knowledge of business law and examine the impact of the law on business operations and decision- making. Throughout the unit students will identify legal solutions available to business owners and assess their suitability. Their experiences in this unit will help them better understand the different areas of law that apply.

U8 Innovation and Commercialisation

This unit aims to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of innovation and commercialisation. In this unit, we will look at a number of tools and techniques organisations use to drive innovation and become more commercial in their approach. The aim of the unit is to give students cutting-edge knowledge as well as practical application of the key ways organisations become more innovative while remaining commercially driven.

U9 Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management

This unit provides students with an understanding of the definition and scope of entrepreneurship and an understanding of the enablers and barriers to business start-up.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to explore and illustrate the range of venture types that might be considered entrepreneurial, assess the impact of small businesses on the economy, determine and assess the key aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset, and examine the different environments that foster or hinder entrepreneurship.

U10 Financial Accounting

The overall aim of this unit is to introduce students to essential financial accounting principles and techniques which will enable them to record and prepare basic final accounts. Students will learn how to prepare accounts for sole traders and partnerships as well as limited companies.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to contribute effectively to the accounting function of an organisation, or to understand how to record and prepare basic financial accounts for their own business. They will have the knowledge and skills required to progress to a higher level of study.

U11 Research Project

The aim of this unit is to offer students the opportunity to engage in sustained research in a specific field of study. The unit enables students to demonstrate the capacity and ability to identify a research theme, to develop research aims, objectives and outcomes, and to present the outcomes of such research in both written and verbal formats. The unit also encourages students to reflect on their engagement in the research process during which recommendations for future, personal development are key learning points.

On successful completion of this unit students will have the confidence to engage in problem-solving and research activities which are part of the function of a manager. Students will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to enable them to investigate workplace issues and problems, determine appropriate solutions and present evidence to various stakeholders in an acceptable and understandable format.

U12 Organisational Behaviour

The aim of this unit is to develop a student’s understanding of the influence culture, politics and power have on the behaviour of others in an organisational context. Students will be in a position to apply the principles of organisational behaviour to a variety of business situations.

On successful completion of this unit students will have an understanding and awareness of key influences which affect the behaviour of individuals, teams and organisations as a whole. They will be able to use this knowledge to make an immediate and positive contribution in the workplace, whether that role is as part of a team or as a team leader. This will be achieved through a strong appreciation of working in a team, having a more profound perspective of what makes people and organisations do what they do, and how to adjust one’s own behaviour to reflect the circumstances and situation.

U13 Financial Reporting

The overall aim of this unit is to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills which are required in the preparation of financial statements. Students will become aware of the appropriate financial standards which influence and inform the production of financial statements. They will also explore the conceptual frameworks for financial reporting and how they are related to the reporting of financial information.

On successful completion of this unit students will be in a position to prepare, analyse and audit financial statements in a workplace context and be able to assist senior colleagues in the interpretation of complex financial information. In addition, students will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to progress on to a higher level of study.

U14 Advanced Management Accounting

The overall aim of this unit is to develop students’ understanding of management accounting. The focus of this unit is on critiquing management accounting techniques and using management accounting to evaluate company performance. Students will explore how the decisions taken through the use of management accounting techniques influence managerial behaviour across an organisation.

On successful completion of this unit students will be in a position to support an organisation to create value through effective decision-making where management accounting is used, to some degree, to control members of an organisation. In addition, students will have the fundamental knowledge and skills to progress on to a higher level of study.

U15 Financial Management

The overall aim of this unit is to introduce students to basic financial management principles and strategies. Students will consider the importance of maximising shareholder wealth and long term growth. The main focus of this unit is to introduce students to, and develop their knowledge of, financial management decision-making and how this is used to support sustainable organisational performance. Students will also develop an appreciation of the role of a management accountant within a financial management system.

On successful completion of this unit students will be in a position to contribute effectively to the financial management function of an organisation. They will be able to support senior management accountants in reaching decisions which will impact on the financial performance of an organisation. In addition, they will have the fundamental knowledge and skills of financial management to progress onto a higher level of study.

U16 Operations and Project Management

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ understanding of contemporary operations theory as a function of a modern organisation. Students explore key benchmarks and processes which will enable effective critique of an operation function. Students will also consider the fundamentals of project management utilising the prescribed, but well established, project life cycle.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of operations and project management to make an effective and immediate contribution to the way in which an organisation conducts its business. Students will also be in a strong position to contribute to, as well as lead, small-scale projects.

Underpinning all aspects of the content for this unit will be the consideration of the strategic role of operations management and planning and control of resources, and project management theories and the project life cycle.

U17 Understanding and Leading Change

The aim of this unit is to prepare students to anticipate, plan and deliver organisational change. In addition students will be able to predetermine appropriate and timely interventions required to maximise the benefits and minimise the risk of organisational change.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of leadership in the context of organisational change to make an effective and immediate contribution to the way in which an organisation determines and responds to change drivers. Students will also be in a strong position to contribute to change initiatives as well as to consider the strategies required to change resistors.

U18 Global Business Environment

The aim of this unit is to explore the wider position some organisations have in the global environment. Students will appreciate the complexities of operating in a global environment, and this will enable them to offer greater breadth and depth to an organisation’s current or aspirational global presence.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed an understanding of the wider global environment in which organisations operate. This will enable students to add value to an organisation as they will be able to apply their knowledge in such a way that they could advise senior managers (in either large or small organisations) on global matters which they may not have ordinarily considered.

U19 Resource and Talent Planning

This unit offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding to ensure that an organisation has the skills it requires, at the time it requires them, to meet its strategic intent. Sustainable organisation performance and growth requires a constant reassessment of skills, requirements which will then inform the training and development of existing employees. However, there will always be the need to recruit new staff to support organisational growth, or to replace those who leave. This unit focuses on the latter, and students will engage in learning that provides fundamental knowledge relating to recruitment, selection, succession planning and talent management.

On successful completion of this unit students will have the knowledge and skills to make a positive contribution to the human resource function of an organisation. Students will appreciate the way different organisations are managed, thereby putting themselves in a position to contribute to effective resource and talent planning in the context of diverse and distributed locations.

U20 Employee Relations

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ understanding of the extent to which employee relationships impact on stakeholders who are internal and external to an organisation. Students will also be in a position to judge the possible outcome of employee relationship situations which will support an effective conflict avoidance intervention. Students will develop the skills required to understand the models, practice and process of employee relations in a broad context.

On successful completion of this unit students will have the confidence to contribute to the effective management of the employment relationship in a number of situations and context. Students will be in a strong position to advise employers on matters such as equality and diversity, contemporary developments in employee relations and conflict avoidance.

U21 Strategic Human Resources Management

The aim of this unit is to explore the contribution strategic Human Resource Management (HRM) makes towards the development and support of sustainable organisational strategies. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of seminal and contemporary models, theories and concepts which enable HR managers to make positive contributions to sustainable organisational change and growth from an HR perspective.

On successful completion of this unit students will have the confidence to contribute to strategic decision-making in an HR context. This will be based on strong theoretical and applied foundations which will add value to an organisation’s HR function and role.

U22 Product and Service Development

This unit explores the journey from ideas generation through to the launch of a new product or service. It examines the processes behind new product development (NPD) and it also considers the potential risks involved. Through the combination of theory and practice students will develop knowledge and understanding and be able to apply that knowledge within either an organisational or entrepreneurial context.

Almost every day we encounter new products and services through a variety of marketing promotions. But how do they get from a single idea to, in some cases, becoming a household item and brand? How did, for instance, the mobile phone, ebooks, 24/7 banking services and fast food become part of our lives? Moreover, why do some products enjoy a long and profitable life span, whilst others disappear almost overnight? What are the secrets to success?

U23 Integrated Marketing Communications

This unit is designed to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of marketing communications and the techniques used. While they will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, they will also be able to relate these to realworld examples, including promotions that they are likely to encounter in their daily lives.

An organisation may create and develop a revolutionary new product or service. However, they need to use the most appropriate methods of promoting it to their target audience – this is the role of marketing communications. We encounter hundreds of promotions every waking day of our lives and the challenge for marketers is to be able to cut through the multitude of communications to deliver and reinforce the association with the brand.

U24 Digital Marketing

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the major developments taking place in digital marketing. It will enable students to develop an understanding of how organisations use various digital tools and techniques to engage their customers and maintain a competitive advantage. This unit is designed to provide students with the knowledge and tools to work at part of a digital marketing team or go on to study more in this specific area.

Digital marketing is now a major component of all successful marketing organisations. However, with the landscape continually evolving, it is important for marketers to stay ahead of their competitors and deliver cutting-edge digital marketing approaches and strategies.

U25 Principles of Operations Management

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the role of the operations in an organisation and how it contributes to sustained competitive advantage. Students will understand the purpose and importance of operations and resource planning on an organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness and its impact on organisational strategy.

By the end of this unit students will be able to analyse and evaluate an operations environment and implement a strategic plan that allocates resources in terms of materials, labour and equipment.

U26 Supply Chain Management

The aim of this unit is to enhance a student’s understanding of the nature, role and contribution of supply chain management to a business. The growth of global business has led to organisations becoming increasingly reliant on logistics and supply chain management in order to keep up with the demands of a global economy.

Students will explore the purpose of supply chain management and its benefits to an organisation, their customers and their suppliers.

The unit will consider the design, development, implementation, control and future development stages of supply chain. There is an emphasis on practical employability skills throughout this unit.

U27 Identifying Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The role of the entrepreneur is to weigh up opportunities, threats and personal capacity to translate an opportunity into a business idea. This unit provides students with an understanding of where new venture ideas come from and gives them the opportunity to investigate and evaluate a new venture idea.

Students will explore concepts of innovation and creativity and develop creative abilities. They will learn about and use methods and frameworks to help develop and assess venture ideas, including defining product/service benefits, identifying target customers and understanding the industry and competitors from the perspective of a new entrant. They will learn about market research and apply primary and secondary research techniques to investigate a personal entrepreneurial idea and make an assessment of whether it is likely to be a commercially viable business or social enterprise proposition.

U28 Launching a New Venture

This unit provides students with a practical understanding of what is required to successfully launch a new venture. It gives students an opportunity to work within a small team to fully plan the launch of a specific new venture idea. They will learn about and work through the stages of planning to launch the venture culminating in a group presentation of a launch plan. This will include an explanation of the idea, how it will attract customers and have competitive advantage. Students will develop a promotional plan to get it started, preparing a budget for launch and a cash flow forecast for the first 12–18 months of operation for the chosen venture. Students will learn about the need for resourcefulness when starting a new venture, and will be able to identify and tap into personal networks which can offer a valuable source of knowledge, resources, advice and opportunities.

U29 Managing and Running a Small Business

This unit will provide students with a practical understanding of the key aspects of running a small business or social enterprise. Students will learn about the activities involved in running a small business, including developing good relationships with customers, planning and allocating operational resources, forecasting and budgeting, interpreting financial statements, recruitment and retention of staff, leadership and building a team, dealing with legislation and regulation and how to put together a business plan.

Students will be able to apply their learning to a simulated business of their choice that they will work on as part of a group. They will develop an understanding of how all of the different aspects of running a business interrelate to achieve success, and develop an appreciation of the benefits and importance of organisation and planning.

U30 Taxation

This unit introduces students to a range of taxation principles and many of the issues that organisations should consider to ensure that they comply with the taxation legislation of the country in which they operate. The unit also introduces students to the principles of personal and business taxation, the legal and ethical issues relating to taxation, the obligations of taxpayers, taxation systems and taxation planning.

An integral part of an organisation’s operations is managing its taxation responsibilities and liabilities. Having a fundamental understanding of these responsibilities and how to determine taxation liabilities is important for all those who are employed in a management role within an organisation.

Successful completion of this unit will enable students to positively contribute to an organisation’s responsibilities with regard to taxation as well as preparing them for progression onto a higher level of study.

U31 Statistics for Management

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of how management information and decision-making are enhanced by the application of statistical methods. Students will learn about a range of statistical techniques and how they can inform management thinking. While studying the unit they will develop their numerical abilities and increase their confidence in handling data in order to create information and knowledge.

U32 Business Strategy

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ awareness of the different kinds of strategy which could be used in an operational, tactical or strategic role for an organisation. This will be underpinned by a thorough knowledge and understanding of the theories, models and concepts which could significantly support an organisation’s strategic choice and direction.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of strategy to make a positive, efficient and effective contribution to the development of business plans and operational direction. This could be in the role of a junior manager responsible for having a specific input into an organisation’s decision-making and planning.

U33 Business Information Technology Systems

The aim of this unit is to enhance students’ understanding of contemporary business information technology (IT) systems and how organisations develop and continuously review their IT strategy in order to gain and maintain competitive advantage. Students will explore the areas of business that benefit from the support of IT systems and how organisations are using IT as a driver for business improvement.

By the end of this unit students will be able to critically analyse the application of current and future technologies and suggest best solutions for an organisation.

U34 Business Systems

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to the theoretical basis for business systems and their practical application. Students will understand and appreciate how business systems support the achievement of organisational objectives, particularly through the management of information and the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to gain a competitive advantage. Students will explore the role of systems within organisations, the management of business systems and analytical tools and techniques for monitoring and measuring control and delivery.

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of the practical application of a business system to be able to utilise this ‘tool’ as a more effective and efficient manager. Students will also be able to contribute to the design of a business system in a workplace context.

U35 Developing Individuals, Teams and Organisations

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to appreciate that developing knowledge and skills to achieve high performance is a crossorganisation activity. Students will recognise that their own professional development is just one route to improving the performance of those teams and organisations in which they work. They will also gain an awareness of the context in which learning takes place and how development needs are linked to learning interventions aimed at supporting an organisation’s strategy.

On successful completion of this unit, students will have laid the foundations for their own continuing professional development which will support their future engagement in lifelong learning. They will also be able to contribute to the development of others and make a positive contribution to the sustainable growth of an organisation.

U36 Human Resources - Value and Contribution to Organisational Success

This unit gives students the opportunity to make links between the role and function of HR and emerging HR developments. This will enable students to show an awareness of HR as a key contributor to organisational success.

On successful completion of this unit students will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the role played by HRM in adding value to activities which contribute to the success of an organisation. Students will understand typical aims and objectives of the HR function in a contemporary context, enabling them to make an effective contribution to the HR department of an organisation.

U37 Consumer Behaviour and Insight

This unit is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of the consumer’s decision-making processes, from needs recognition through research, the evaluation of alternatives, purchase and post-purchase evaluation. While students will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, they will also be expected to relate these to real-world examples, including their own personal experiences.

How do we buy products and services?

What motivates us to seek out a particular product or service?

What research do we undertake prior to making a decision?

Do we seek out other people’s opinions, perhaps through social media?

To what extent do other people’s opinions influence our own?

How do we feel after we have made the purchase?

These are the types of questions to which organisations seek to gain answers. An important part of marketing is understanding the processes behind how a consumer makes the decision to purchase a product and/or service. This is applicable as much to Business to Business (B2B) as it is to Business to Consumer (B2C).

The knowledge, understanding and skill sets that students will gain on successfully completing this unit will enhance their career opportunities; whether setting up in business independently or being employed by an organisation.

U38 Customer Value Management

This unit is designed to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of why it is important for marketers to enhance and manage the value of the customer interactions. Students will learn the underpinning theories and frameworks, and will also be expected to relate these to real-world examples, including their own personal experiences.

Organisations ideally seek a mutually beneficial relationship between themselves and their customers. This is particularly important when considering the costs associated with acquiring a new customer. It has been suggested that it can cost five times as much to gain a new customer as it is to retain an existing one. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a new customer will be as loyal as a current one. Any organisation, whether for profit, NGO or a charity, seeks ways of retaining customers through enhanced customer experiences.

In order to retain loyal (and profitable) customers, organisations seek to understand them better. By understanding customers through the capture of relevant data, organisations can enhance a customer’s lifetime value. They then aim to build a relationship with the customers where they remain loyal and continue to purchase a range of products/services.

The knowledge, understanding and skill sets that students will gain on successfully completing this unit will enhance their career opportunities; whether setting up in business independently or being employed by an organisation.

U39 Sales Management

This unit introduces students to the discipline of sales management for the 21st century. Changing dynamics between buyers and sellers, driven by the fast-paced evolution of e-commerce and globalisation, has led organisations to review and adapt their sales management approach in response to a customer driven culture.

This unit gives a comprehensive overview of sales management and equips students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s increasingly complex and fast-paced sales environment.

U40 International Marketing

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to a variety of methods organisations use to coordinate their international marketing efforts. Students will critically evaluate the various challenges that organisations face when doing so. This unit will give students the knowledge and ability to work with marketing teams internationally and to study marketing at a higher level.

In today’s globalised economy it is essential that marketing efforts are able to transcend international borders. To do this, marketers must gain an appreciation of the various cultural, regulatory and political issues that exist in transferring marketing strategies into different countries and the impact it can have on both consumers and the organisation.

U41 Brand Management

This unit gives students a comprehensive overview of brand management - starting with why brands are so important and how they are formed, through to measuring brand value and managing a portfolio of brands over time.

The unit is designed and structured to give students an end-to-end understanding of brand management. It explores a range of tools and techniques that can be employed to maximise brand value, while looking at a number of case studies that contextualise information within real-world examples to aid understanding of how effective brand management can be achieved.

U42 Planning for Growth

This unit provides students with an appreciation of how small and medium enterprises (SMEs) develop and grow. Students will learn about and apply techniques for identifying opportunities for growth, and appraise options for achieving growth, including via collaboration. Students will also learn about the sources of investment finance and consider how an SME attracts investors. They will gain an understanding of the options for SMEs in terms of exit or, for family businesses, succession, and be able to appreciate the importance of making informed choices when choosing routes to growth and have an understanding of the potential risks vs rewards involved with growth.

U43 Tapping into New and International Markets

In today’s global environment, organisations are constantly looking at new ways to expand internationally. With the rise of digital technology and the reduction of barriers to entry this is easier than ever before, but all organisations must consider a range of options when making the decision to expand internationally. In this unit students will explore how organisations are able to move into international markets, assessing the opportunities and threats of them doing so. The unit aims to provide students with the key tools and techniques to aid organisations to evaluate whether they should tap into international markets and assess the various implications of doing so.

U44 Pitching Negotiation Skills

This unit gives students a comprehensive overview of the essential pitching and negotiation skills required to win new contracts on agreeable terms. These skills are essential for the managing and running of a small business or being part of a dynamic and innovative workforce. Good pitching skills for a new product or service will generate sales and networking opportunities, while negotiating with different people and in different business transactions will secure more favourable deals. This unit aims to provide students with the knowledge base and tools that will help them to develop these skills.

Entry Requirements - How Do I Apply?

Candidates will normally possess level 3 qualifications in this field. However, mature candidates who do not possess such qualifications, but have experience in the field, can also be accepted onto the course. Please check with our admissions team.

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Progression - What Can I Do After My Course?

Achieving this Level 4 and Level 5 will allow you to possibly progress to year 3 of a BA(Hons) degree with the Open University. Many campus-based universities will accept this qualification as an entry requirement to year three of their degree programmes (please check with the university you have in mind).

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