The race to produce the best driverless car is on! Most of the automotive “big boys” are working on their versions, but it’s interesting to see the varied approaches taken by Google and Audi. Attached is a PowerPoint task that ask students to watch the 2 car “adverts” and analyse the risks and rewards of the different strategies.
Google are playing it safe, perhaps heeding the Harris Poll of 2,039 adults, in which 88 percent said they would be worried about riding in an autonomous, driverless car. Their car is round, cute, friendly and slow.
Audi have chosen another path… a much faster path! Their “piloted” car achieved speeds of 149mph and completed a lap of the Hockenheim F1 track a few seconds faster than the manned car.
Intriguing stuff that is certain to create great debate.
Have a fantastic Christmas!
Studying this year's research theme really requires students to have a solid understanding of the macroeconomic factors which affect the demand for products made by UK manufacturers. Yesterday, the ONS released the latest figures for changes in UK industrial output, which are worth spending some time on. Below I have extracted the key points of the ONS's report, and added some analysis of the reasons for the changes.read more...»
The case of Premier Foods and the 'pay to stay' payments that they were extracting from their suppliers gives an opportunity to use the Porter's Five Forces model to analyse the food manufacturing industry in the UK. Last week, BBC's Newsnight carried a report about Premier Foods, who manufacture many key brands including Ambrosia, Mr Kipling, Oxo and Bisto.
The online report comes with a 5-minute video clip which sets up the topic nicely. Newsnight's Laura Kuenssberg interviews engineer Bob Horsely, who had a contract to supply maintenance services to Ambrosia's factory in Devon. He received a letter from Premier Foods saying that "We are aiming to work with a smaller number of strategic suppliers in the future that can better support and invest in our growth ideas. We will now require you to make an investment payment to support our growth." When he queried this, he received another letter: "We are looking to obtain an investment payment from our entire supply base and unfortunately those who do not participate will be nominated for de-list." In other words, pay up or we won't buy from you any more.read more...»
A fantastic documentary for the Section A Research Theme (bullets 2, 4 & 5), that also ticks a great many boxes for the BUSS1, 2 & 3 specifications.
Channel 4’s Inside Rolls Royce charts the production of the Celestial (a one-off showpiece car that has more bling than Liberace, as well as an optional £20,000 picnic hamper!). It covers many topics within Human Resources, Operations, and Marketing, but my highlights are as follows:
- The front of house manager who checks the length of the grass
- The relentless quality control that almost breaks a man
- The marketing of the new Rolls Royce Wraith in Abu Dhabi, which includes hand selected movers-and-shakers from the city getting to test drive it around the formula 1 track
The documentary is available via this link (if you don’t have a C4 account, it takes only 2 minutes to register) and I’ve created a worksheet with 29 questions (numbers correspond to the minutes) intended to promote discussion about a brand synonymous with British excellence.
Hope it helps
Would free food make you work harder? Google think that it would, and so do many other employers. Is it true that Google have a rule that no employee should ever be more than 150 feet from a food outlet in the office? There is the story in this article, of an employee in California who practically moved into the office, sleeping in his car just outside and living on the perks and extras available in the building, which he managed to do for a full 60 weeks.read more...»
Based on the Channel 4 programme by the same name, I created this worksheet that asks students to predict the wages of various professions, and where they fall on the income distribution chart. They can then watch this short clip which gives them the answers, leading to great discussions and potential research on any of the following:
- The taboo of wages and why we struggle to make accurate predictions
- The rich-poor divide and Pareto’s Law
- The importance of education
- The determinants of wages
- Taxes and benefits
- Money and happiness
Hope it helps.
The strategic challenges facing Royal Mail and its renowned CEO Moya Greene are explored in this superb FT video report (below) from Andrew Hill which takes a look at Royal Mail just a year after the business was privatised.read more...»
Prepare yourselves for a shock; Red Bull does NOT give you wings, and have had to pay over $13m in compensation for saying so. I would assume the latter statement caused more astonishment than the former, and so I looked into previous false advertising cases and compiled the attached game called Court Out.
There are 10 case of false advertising, students have to decide which businesses were “court out” and had to pay damages, which advertising campaigns “got away with it” and which one is an urban legend. On the final slide is Graham’s “Spectrum of Analysis” in which students must evaluate which ones they felt were the most or least culpable.
To prevent any class action law suits against me, I would say it is a relatively fun and engaging game that should promote discussion and evaluation and might help students understand the fine line between good marketing and mendacity*.
*learning not guaranteed but I hope it helps!
The dates and locations for our programme of intensive exam coaching & revision days for AQA BUSS1, BUSS2, BUSS3 and BUSS3 in Spring 2015 are now available.
To confirm your places on these highly popular days, please use these booking forms or contact Janet Cahill in the tutor2u office (email email@example.com)
To find out more about what goes on at these exam coaching & revision days, take a look at this introductory video!read more...»
As we all know, the mean streets of my adopted home town of Solihull share many similarities with Dr Dre’s Compton and Jay-Z’s Brooklyn, so I always take a keen interest in their progress.
This PowerPoint task asks students to research two of hip-hop’s biggest stars, use Ansoff’s Matrix to organise the many roles and businesses that they are involved in and then discuss how their contrasting strategies have impacted on their net worth.
Is Jay-Z’s “empire [building] state of mind” the best strategy, or is Dr Dre’s focus on music “still” the way to make the most money? Students can use the evidence that they have collated to complete the evaluation question on the final slide.
Hope it helps!
The FT produce some superb videos that are ideal for use in the Business & Economics classroom - and this one on the UK steel industry is another excellent teaching resource - particularly for students researching UK manufacturing.read more...»
As BUSS4 students start on their research into UK manufacturing, one piece of data that they should keep an eye on is the CIPS Purchasing Managers Index. This is produced monthly by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply by surveying managers responsible for purchasing materials in manufacturing industries, and so it gives an indication of the level of activity. A reading above 50 (shown by the red line on the graph above) shows growth in activity, below 50 shows a decline.read more...»
BBC Radio 4 has a 5-part series this week which follows eight budding entrepreneurs on a course in Leeds, specialising in how to run their very own Fish and Chip shop. I caught the first episode yesterday; with each episode only 15 minutes long, it seems like a very good set of programmes for students who are beginning a Business studies course, as it covers a wide range of the issues that they will be learning about.read more...»
The Chinese internet giant, ran by former English teacher Jack Ma, has become the biggest initial public offering (IPO) in History.
Having studied them last year, I considered buying shares in them, hemmed-and-harred, and didn’t. What a mistake! Shares started at $68 and rose to $92.70, an increase of 38%. Had I invested my spare £5mil (left-overs from the Apple shares I bought in 1999), I would have been up by a cool £1,900,000!
I used this as a way to introduce Public Limited Companies, but also linked it to risk and reward, raising finance and working out percentage increase.
Hope it helps
During the run-up to the previous sitting of BUSS4 (18 June 2014) we received numerous requests to provide a resource that illustrates how BUSS4 Section B essay titles can be answered effectively. So here it is! A collection of 20 Section B Essays covering a wide range of potential topics for the next BUSS4 exam in June 2015.read more...»
The time pressures created by two long case studies often contribute to students under-performing in the AQA AS Business BUSS2 exam. Students also occasionally let themselves down through poor response structure, not answering the question set and making best use of effective application and analysis methods. This new resource from tutor2u's experienced BUSS2 team is designed to support students as they prepare for the final BUSS2 exam in May 2015 and help them maximise their performance.read more...»
The AQA A2 BUSS3 examination is a tough challenge every sitting and student performance is to a large extent determined by their exam technique. This new resource from tutor2u's BUSS3 team, which we aim to have ready for dispatch in early December, aims to support teachers and students preparing for BUSS3 by illustrating just what is required to maximise performance.read more...»
BUSS1 Worked Answers is a new printed resource from the tutor2u BUSS1 team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.read more...»
News about Tesco's troubles comes thick and fast, today's bad news about overstating profits has wiped off 11.59% of the share price. It fell by 26 pence to £2.03.read more...»
An interesting and inspirational story for all AS Business Studies students. Nick d’Aloisio wrote an app called Summly at his parents’ home when he was 15. At 17 he sold it to Yahoo for £20million. He now works for the internet giant in California, project managing the rebranded app News Digest… whilst still sitting his A-level exams!
The young entrepreneur is now deliberating whether or not to go to University. Attached is a short research task with videos and articles that asks students to create a balanced, evaluative argument about the pros of cons of Nick going to university. They must then apply the same question to themselves to see how the reasons differ.
It works well to introduce the key skills of application, analysis and evaluation, whilst learning about one of the UK’s most successful young entrepreneur.
As an interesting way to introduce 3 of the 4 functional areas (and illustrate to students that business studies concepts are everywhere), I used these 3 news stories about how different religions have changed their strategies this year.
Pope Francis stamps out corruption in the Vatican Bank - By refusing to “do business” with certain unscrupulous customers, the profit at the Vatican Bank has dropped from £68m euros to just £2.3m. A strong move from Il Papa, but should a church make any profit at all?
Jehovah’s Witnesses change their marketing strategy - Instead of the door-to-door approach, Jehovah’s witnesses are trying to increase awareness of (and recruitment to) their “brand” by targeting train stations and shopping centres. Will this new tactic prove successful?
Church of England vote for women bishops - Traditionalist believed that as Jesus only “employed” male apostles, only men should lead the church. A recent vote has put an end to this misogyny, but one member of the church said “This is a show for the media. It's the end of the Church as we know it”. Should the church be exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act?
The lesson has now ended. All go in peace.
The story of Apple, from inception up until 2011, is told beautifully in this 50 minute BBC documentary (available on Netflix or via this link) and literally covers all 15 sections in the BUSS1 specification (and quite a few from BUSS2 too). As an added bonus, I’ve created this 30-question worksheet to keep students focused.
A fantastic insight into one of the biggest companies in the world, a ready-made lesson... and chance for you to put your feet up for an hour!
Hope it helps!
Try these multiple choice revision quizzes for key business studies topics! We've indicated in brackets where the revision quiz is particularly suitable for GCSE. All other quizzes are designed for AS & A2 business.read more...»
The research theme for AQA BUSS4 Section A has now been published. For June 2015 the theme is Manufacturing in the UK.
tutor2u is the leading provider of teacher and student support for BUSS4. Below we have outlined how you can fast-track your support for students taking BUSS4 in June 2015 with tutor2u’s unrivaled teacher and student resources.read more...»
The research theme for the exam on 17 June 2015 will be published by AQA at the start of September 2014 and our team of experienced BUSS4 teachers and examiners will set to work immediately. We'll aim to get the full toolkit completed by the end of October. The aim, as always, is to provide high quality, focused research support for the selected theme that will save you substantial time and enable your students to maximise the effectiveness of their time preparing for BUSS4.
The BUSS4 research theme toolkit can also be ordered using this printable order form.
We are once again running a programme of CPD days that provide further support to teaching colleagues wanting to kick-start their BUSS4 lesson planning and delivery. In 2014 these courses, which I will once again run with Graham Prior) were attended by over 400 colleagues and sold-out very early. If you would like to join us for what is always an enjoyable and useful course, please book your places as soon as possible. Due to the popularity of the BUSS4 course, we are only accepting confirmed bookings.
Thinking further ahead, the full programme of our BUSS4 Intensive Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops is now confirmed and we've already had a few advanced bookings from schools wanting to secure some of the places before and after Easter. All the details of the BUSS4 workshops here together with all our other revision workshops for BUSS1, BUSS2 and BUSS3.
Here is an article which might be worth hanging on to for the start of next term, when new students start on their Business Studies course. The BBC has spoken to three venture capitalists - not the well-know Dragons, but some different names: the founder of Google Ventures, and managing partners of two funds based in India and in New York. They compare what they look for in a startup, what they avoid, and the best way for businesses to approach them.read more...»
This could be an excellent starter activity for a group discussion September?
Ask students to consider whether this is a good idea? Is it worth the price? What is its USP? Wonderful for getting students who havent studied business before (and those who have) to start thinking about many business concepts. I find that students tend to engage well with the concept of enterprise when they find the idea interesting?! And who doesnt love pizza???read more...»
I suddenly realised that, whilst we've featured Ikea prominently in our exam coaching workshops for a couple of years, we haven't linked to the wealth of resources that are out there to help tell & explain Ikea's strategy!
Here is a selection of the best - certainly contains everything you need to gather relevant evidence for why Ikea is such a timeless case study.read more...»
A good structure is so important when it comes to writing high-scoring paragraphs in an essay. One thought I had last night was whether it might be possible to encourage the examiner with his/her marking by making it clear what each part of a paragraph is trying to do! Let's call it "signposting" for want of a better word.
I had a go at this below with a sample paragraph point where I was trying to achieve good analysis (GAn) and good application (GAp) in just one paragraph point.
See what you think and whether you believe it might help with the writing and/or structuring of a paragraph point. I've highlighted the attempted "signposting" in bold.read more...»
Here is a recording of tonight's BUSS4 Section B webinar.read more...»
Here is a recording of the BUSS4 revision webinar on China which played live to 430 students this evening.read more...»
Here is the recording of the 40 minute revision webinar that Graham Prior and I ran with approximately 250 BUSS3 students online this evening.read more...»
For students preparing to take AQA A2 Business Unit 3 (BUSS3) it is always worth remembering that the "case study is your friend". Indeed, all the answers to the four questions set are in the case study - you just need to draw them out.
It is well worth reading through the previous BUSS3 exam paper case studies to get a feel for the kinds of businesses featured and the strategic and functional issues they are trying to address.
Below, we've provided a brief synopsis of each exam case study so far. Can you spot some similarities?read more...»
In preparation for June 18th, my class and I did the follow PowerPoint activity which focuses on planning and analysis.
The premise is simple; the BUSS4 questions invariably ask students to analyse the causal relationship between 2 concepts, such as “does strong leadership lead to a successful business?” or “Is targeting emerging markets the best way to improve profit?”. Students therefore have to fill in the blanks and make the connections between these two concepts to achieve good analysis. More importantly, in doing so it forces students to answer the questions set without digression, deviation or departure from the subject.
The first example is given to get the ball rolling. There are 8 questions and some blank templates below to add additional questions. In terms of differentiation (if you like that sort of thing), they can obviously be made easier or more difficult by taking away or adding some “blanks”, and a natural extension strategy would be for students to then add a paragraph of application to support the answer.
I sincerely hope it helps and wish you all the very best for the upcoming exams.
There was a great radio programme on today, For all the TV in China. As Chinese consumers become TV owners, there is a vast market for entertainment shows, and as this is one of the UK's biggest exports (see this recent report from the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport which sets out how creative industries are worth a whopping £8million per hour to the UK economy), there are plenty of UK production companies who are keen to sell their products to China.
It turns out that the Chinese can't get enought of shows like Take Me Out, and there are plenty of ways of adapting their formats so that they reflect Chinese tastes and cultural sensitivities. The programme is 28 minutes of BUSS4 gold dust, with a good sprinkling of cultural awareness scattered over it as well.
With just under 3 weeks until the BUSS4 exam, this article in the Wall Street Journal is absolutely perfect for any student who wants to add up-to-date information to their argument about the dangers and difficulties of operating in China.
To sum up the article as briefly as possible, The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China spoke to over 500 European businesses based in China and found that many now view China as less attractive due to the following plethora of reasons:
- Rising labour costs
- Slowing economic growth
- Falling profits
- Regulatory hurdles
- Lack of confidence in economic reform
- Difficulties attracting and retaining staff
Pick one and develop the hell out of it!
My students and I invariably use Tesco as our shining example of failure in China (and failure after the departure of a long-term leader, and failure due to over-diversification, and failure due to neglect of their core market, and failure due to complacency over smaller competitors). However, Tesco today finalised the deal with China Resource Enterprise which gives them 20% of the largest food retailer in China. This BBC article could be used as a nice evaluation point to show that in the long term, Tesco could still be winners in China.
Tesco have kept a healthy foothold in the world’s largest food market, and due to China’s efforts to rebalance the economy towards consumption, the market is due to grow by 50% over the next three years.
More interestingly, Tesco appear to have learnt from their error and won’t try to “go it alone” in India. They have announced a joint venture with JLR’s parent company Tata Group to initially open 12 stores. From what we know of Tata (and the Indian market’s rapid growth forecast), it seems possible that Tesco may still recover from their recent slump.
There have been eight BUSS3 papers for the new specification, so it is possible to build a detailed profile of the topics in BUSS3 which have been examined so far, and in what way.
The link below is to the latest version of our BUSS3 topic tracker. Please note, this is not intended to encourage or condone question or topic spotting which is nearly always a recipe for exam failure. Remember that the questions in BUSS3 invite a variety of potential responses and are designed to reward students who make relevant connections between the functional areas/topics and the achievement of corporate objectives. We have allocated the exam questions to the most relevant section of the BUSS3 spec - but note that other aspects of the spec can be used as part of an effective answer.
...checkout our other BUSS3 resources here on the Business Studies Blog:read more...»
As each sitting of BUSS2 is completed, it is possible to build up a useful picture of the way in which the BUSS2 specification is examined. Which topics have been examined more than once? Are there key topics which have not yet been addressed in the BUSS2 exam? Where are the calculation marks earned?
Our AQA AS Business (BUSS2) Exam Topic Tracker is a free download which can help you keep track of the exams. The link is below. We’ll update the file (the link stays the same) after each exam sitting. The latest version includes all BUSS2 sittings up to and including June 2013.
Students may find it helpful to test their BUSS2 subject knowledge and understanding by trying our BUSS2 revision quizzes. We also have a full collection of BUSS2 revision questions available for our mobile app via Zondle.
We also recommend students getting hold of a copy of our BUSS2 Revision Guide.
Here are some “compare and contrast examples” that you might use as the basis for evidence to support the analysis developed in paragraph points in a BUSS4 Section B essay.
You'll need to dig just a little deeper into these examples to gain sufficient detail for your answers (though not too deep - beware storytelling!).
As you finalise your research, try to find some more pairs of examples that can be used to compare and contrast. And also consider how the evidence you gather can be used to help support the analysis you develop at the start of each paragraph point.read more...»
This short, simple revision presentation contains some summary thoughts about potential application, analysis and evaluation points which students might use effectively in their BUSS1 exam answers.
The critical thing to remember is that all answers to BUSS1 questions need to be in context - refer to the story and circumstances of the startup business in particular.
If you need to top up your BUSS1 subject knowledge:read more...»
2 perfectly contrasting and counter-intuitive articles that show how “the markets” can favour retrenchment over growth.
Barclays announced it was slashing 19,000 jobs and reducing the size of its Investment bank. The immediate result? Share price surged 8%.
Carphone Warehouse announce a £3.8bn merger with Dixons that will “create a seamless experience” for their customers. The result? Dixons share price closed 10% down and Carphone Warehouse’s dropped by 8%.
By comparing and contrasting the 2 strategies (and the reasons for the resultant change in share price) students can show good analysis of the benefits of retrenchment.
Anthony Jenkins, in an interview in the Sunday Times, said it best by echoing/paraphrasing/plagiarising Howard Schultz after he closed almost 1000 Starbucks stores in the US - “Growth is not a strategy, it’s the by-product of good strategy”.
I hope the revision is going well!
It's official - women are better at shopping than men. I have just finished listening to a brilliant edition of Peter Day's 'In Business' called Price Conscious, and one of the revelations was that men can be fooled into thinking they are getting a bargain simply by using red price stickers, whereas women are much more analytical about pricing and can look beyond the colour used on a label. Far be it from me to comment on this any further.....read more...»
There is plenty of concern about the slowdown in China's growth, and what this might mean for businesses looking at expansion via China. To what extent should those businesses be worried about slower growth? The issues here are very relevant to the external environment in China, and could be useful for bullet points 1 and 6:read more...»
It all started when one of my A2 students asked me today: “How do you get full marks for evaluation?” in relation to a BUSS3 Question 4 (the 34 marker)
It can be summed up in 2 words:
(Just a note that the examples given are BUSS3 related but could be applied to any evaluation question in BUSS1 or 2 also)read more...»
The strategy of retrenchment is covered in this revision quiz
To update your knowledge and understanding of retrenchment, have a look through this revision presentation
Test your knowledge and understanding of Porter's Five Forces model with this ten-question revision quiz:
You can update your studies of this important model by looking through these support resources:
Here are 15 multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge and understanding of the key strategy models used in A2 business
Try these revision questions on the environmental issues facing business
This revision quiz provides 10 questions on Business Ethics.