How can Nike justify a premium price for its products?
Why do UK businesses send their manufacturing overseas?
Why is it important to the ‘right’ source of finance for starting up a business?
What is the difference between a sole trader and a private limited company?
Why should businesses behave ethically, surely they should just be run to make profit for their owners?
Why did the UK government prevent Sainsbury and Asda from merging?
I’m thinking of setting up my own business, but I’m not sure I’m capable. Will A Level Business help me?
These are all questions that you might ask yourself now, that newspapers and social media discuss, and that you will certainly discuss in your studies of A Level Business.
You will cover a wide range of topics that can be broadly categorised in to the internal workings of the business: marketing, finance, human resources and operations. So things like pricing strategies, cash flow forecasting, employee motivation and engagement, and quality assurance. And then the second category are those factors that are ‘external’ to the business, like how they are affected by changes in the economy, by the level and nature of competition etc.
How will I study?
You will be taught by a single member of staff with over 15 years of Business teaching and an A Level examiner. You will need to be prepared to be asked questions, to ask questions, to take notes, and to write your own notes. You should also be prepared to read business case studies and news articles, in order to apply your learned knowledge. You will need to be prepared to undertake business calculations and write essays. You will sometimes work independently, and sometimes in pairs and in groups. You will certainly need to revisit your notes on a regular basis to ensure you can apply your prior knowledge to new theories and knowledge.
Is it mathematical?
Yes, in the sense that it is more than some students think, however, it is more about the application of number. You will need to use your GCSE Maths knowledge, and that’s it – from calculating averages and percentage changes, to interpreting business data and rearranging business formulas. Note though, there are over 40 formulas learn and memorise in Business, and you will not always be told in the exam which formulas you should use and when!
Business Course Details
The Business Department at Becket Sixth follows the AQA exam board specification in Business.
Year 1 (AS Level)
Business students will study business in a variety of contexts (eg large/small, UK focused/ global, service/manufacturing) and consider a range of topics
1. What is business?
2 Managers, leadership and decision making
3 Decision making to improve marketing performance
4 Decision making to improve operational performance
5 Decision making to improve financial performance
6 Decision making to improve human resource performance
Year 2 Strategic decision making (A-level only)
The study of strategic decision making will build on the study of decision making in the functional areas. You will learn about
7 Analysing the strategic position of a business (A-level only)
8 Choosing strategic direction (A-level only)
9 Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies (A-level only)
10 Managing strategic change (A-level only)
All of these topics lend themselves to studying and engaging with the business world. You will be encouraged and expected to follow business developments and think critically about contemporary business issues.
Most of the assessment material is based on real business situations. By examining and thinking critically about real business situations as you study the subject, you will gain an insight into different contexts which will help you to understand the key issues in any situation and compare and contrast this with other business situations and apply your understanding.
You will be assessed via two external papers at AS Level, and three external papers at A Level.
Careers and Higher Education
A regular flow of successful candidates continue their studies with degrees either in business or some related subject areas such as management, branding, accountancy or human resources. Similarly, the course is a good entry route into Higher Apprenticeships such as those offered by Rolls Royce in Derbyshire.
Alternatively, the course may get you started in business. All businesses (and other organisations like charities and hospitals) need sound business skills behind them. You could work for an existing multinational corporation, a local firm or even better if you run your own business.
Business related subjects are not taught in the lower school at the Becket. Studying GCSE level Business Studies would give a clear understanding of the nature of the subject but students without this background will not be at a disadvantage.
Be the next Branson? Fancy yourself at the head of a successful business? Got some great ideas for new products or services? Or maybe you want to work for a large company by working in marketing or management. No matter what your vision, the Business Studies A Level course gives you an incredibly powerful start to launch you on to becoming a business person. All the key topics of starting and running a business are covered. Armed with this knowledge, maybe you could be giving Richard Branson and Alan Sugar a run for their money in a few years’ time.
Or start a business from home? Not everybody wants a global corporation. A lot of people prefer small businesses offering individual service or set up their own business, working for themselves. Whether you’re selling homemade candles or starting your own e-company, you still need to know about business. Like how to get your products to market. How to price them. How to promote them. And how to get paid. It’s all here in A level Business Studies.
As one of the first wave of new-style A-Levels, Business is undergoing an exciting period of change. The new specifications are designed to be examined at the end of a two-year course, doing away with the necessity to take an AS before an A2. However, students may still opt to be examined at the end of one year and would thus gain an AS qualification.
The Becket Sixth has chosen to continue to follow the excellent AQA Business specification; this exam board is the market leader in the subject, holding around 75% market share – and for good reason. AQA is extremely well-supported in terms of resources, teacher development and, crucially, support for students.
The A Level specification is divided into ten topic areas:
- What is business?
- Managers, leadership and decision-making
- Decision-making to improve marketing performance
- Decision-making to improve operational performance
- Decision-making to improve financial performance
- Decision-making to improve human resource performance
- Analysing the strategic position of a business
- Choosing strategic direction
- Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies
10. Managing strategic change.
By the end of the course, students should come out with a strong understanding of how businesses are run from the perspective of different stakeholders, such as managers, owners and employees. Students may use A-Level Business as a stepping stone to pursue many options after Sixth Form, but would be especially suited to those who would like to study a Business-related degree or to enter into a related field such as an apprenticeship or an accounting qualification.
How Will I Study?
Lessons are varied in their approach but an emphasis is placed on student involvement. The teacher provides a basic framework of key points but students are confronted with exercises that challenge them to fully appreciate the importance of these ideas. Such exercises may require them to build up additional notes, or crucially, to apply these ideas to new areas. Group work is a central feature of most lessons. Discussing ideas with peers is a good test of understanding as well as being an opportunity to develop a questioning approach.
With such an approach it should be realised that the student is expected to make the best use of their time both inside and outside the classroom. Business stories are always around us and are frequently discussed in the media. At no stage should a business studies claim that they have no work to do.
The conscientious student will find study time consuming but links to the school’s learning gateway provide plenty of support.
The whole course is taught by just one member of staff. This means students can gain access to staff help at most break times; such enquiries are encouraged.
Careers and Higher Education
The course will get you started in business. All businesses (and other organisations like charities and hospitals) need sound business skills behind them. You could work for a corporation or perhaps run your own business. Even if you are yet some way off deciding upon your career path the course will give you the skills and knowledge needed to progress to higher education, whether to follow a business related course or not. Business fits well with most A levels whether you have interests in humanities, science and maths or languages.
Business related subjects are not taught in the lower school at the Becket. Studying GCSE level Business Studies would give a clear understanding of the nature of the subject but students without this background will not be at a disadvantage. There are no additional requirements to those GCSE grades needed for entry into the sixth form.