Head of Department

Mr J. BartlettBA

OVERVIEW

Business Studies is ultimately about decision-making and understanding what distinguishes one successful company from one which is less successful. Branson, Dyson, Gates, Zuckerberg – dynamic and rich people who have built successful firms. All these companies have in their time followed some of the many principles laid down by a typical Business Studies course. You will study these principles and learn from the examples of these firms as well as, importantly, from the failed ventures which have littered the business world too. On completion of the course pupils will have a whole host of theory and real-world examples from which to carve out a successful career – either as an entrepreneur or within an existing organisation.

Lower School (GCSE)

This subject is not offered at GCSE level.

Upper School (AS and A Level)

The Economics and Business Studies Department is one of the largest departments in the Sixth Form with over half of all the senior pupils studying one or other subject. There are five members in the department who all bring with them varying business and commercial experience. The department is well situated in the main Connaught block with dedicated classrooms which, in conjunction with the computer rooms, help to host a range of media which complements the delivery of these contemporary subjects.

Business Studies covers the life-cycle of a business – from start-up to multi-national company. Case-studies of a wide variety of businesses are used, ranging from the smallest business start-up (as may be seen on BBC2’s Dragon’s Den) to the largest plc’s, such as Tesco and Microsoft. It involves studying in some detail how today’s businesses carry out their various functions, including marketing, finance, operations management (production) and people (human resources).

Ultimately, Business Studies is about decision-making. What price for a can of new fizzy drink, where to sell it, where to make it, how to raise the money to fund its manufacture, how to motivate the staff, how to deal with customer complaints? The course you might embark on in Business Studies offers the opportunity to ask these and similar questions, sometimes by looking through the eyes of a corporate giant like Coca Cola and sometimes from the point of view of a relative minnow like a local brewery. The course also looks at how outside activities affect businesses and in turn how businesses react to these; for example, the effect of changes in Government policy (e.g., taxes or interest rates), levels of competition, demand, pressure groups and business ethics. In addition the A Level studies the objectives and strategies that businesses adopt e.g. recent merger activities and the outsourcing of production to Asia.

The specification offered is the Edexcel course, which is based around the following four key themes:

  1. Marketing and people
  2. Managing business activities
  3. Business decisions and strategy
  4. Global business

At A2 Level these themes will be tested across three papers, which will be a combination of multiple choice, short answers and essays. There is no coursework element in either year.

Business Studies is a practical and dynamic subject and the approach is less theoretical than that of Economics. The ability to analyse, evaluate and write good English is important. It suits students with a more creative mind who are interested in the hands-on practicalities of how businesses operate. Students should be excited by contemporary business affairs. Strong mathematical abilities are not required, but students should be prepared to analyse data and be able to apply and analyse simple financial ratios.

Do please note that we do not allow you to take Economics if you are also planning to take Business Studies.

Trips and events

There are numerous opportunities to extend pupils business understanding outside of the classroom. Activities pupils are encouraged to be involved in include: visiting a local ‘start-up’ business; attending in-house lectures; and investing virtual money in the Student Investor Challenge. In addition, we run a trip to Jaguar Land Rover where pupil’s eyes are fully opened to concepts such as: lean production; automation; total quality management; staff motivation; product design; and the impact of globalisation. Despite these events really helping stretch and challenge pupils, quite often there is no substitute for simply following contemporary economics and business related stories – the recent plight of Tata Steel for example.

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