AQA BUSS4 Research Theme for 2015 - Manufacturing in the UK

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BUSS4 UK manufacturing

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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.

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AQA BUSS4 Section B Essays Volume 1

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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.

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UK Manufacturing - A Short Video Introduction to the UK Automotive Sector

Monday, September 22, 2014

The UK automotive manufacturing sector is one of the most successful and vibrant parts of manufacturing in the UK.

To get students excited to learn more about great case studies like JLR, Nissan, Honda and JCB, show them this short video. It's packed with useful research stats too - how many can they jot down on first viewing (and then show them again!)

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Choosing a Business Location: Manufacturing in South-east Asia?

Where should multinationals base their manufacturing operations? What are the risks involved in changing location? How can these risks be mitigated? 

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Technology & Manufacturing - Innovation in Diesel Engine Design & Production

Monday, September 08, 2014

A great video here from the Royal Institution which illustrates how technology and manufacturing move together through the process of new product development.

The location for the video is a JCB engine factory and our guide explains how technological change impacts on the development of the next generation of high-powered diesel engines.

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BUSS4 research theme and the impact of technological change on businesses manufacturing in the UK

Monday, September 01, 2014

With brilliant timing to coincide with the first bullet-point for the new AQA BUSS4 research theme, today's Deloitte Monday Briefing focuses on Technology and Human Welfare. The piece considers the paradox between the very considerable effect that communication technologies have had on our daily lives, and the far less noticeable effect on output; measured productivity – effectively the efficiency of production – has improved far more slowly than the capacity of computers.

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AQA A2 Business BUSS4 - Section A Research Theme 2015

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The research theme for AQA BUSS4 Section A has now been published. For June 2015 the theme is Manufacturing in the UK.

Download the AQA Research Theme here

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.

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What do you mean by ‘Business Class’?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Which airline boss has said for many years that “an airplane is nothing more than a bus with wings on”?

Of course, the answer is Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair - Europe's biggest budget airline. 

But, as Ryanair's passenger figures show that 25% of their customers are actually travelling on business, they have decided that now is the time to introduce a 'Business Class' service.

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Ikea in China - The Classic Long-term Success Story Built on Localisation

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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.

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BUSS4 Essay Technique - Signposting Analysis and Application

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.

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Revision Presentation - Problems of Takeovers and Mergers including Integration

Sunday, June 15, 2014

This streamed revision presentation examines the problems of takeovers and mergers including difficulties integrating businesses successfully

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Revision Presentation - Impact On and Reaction Of Stakeholders to Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation outlines some evidence of the impact on, and reaction of, stakeholders to takeovers and mergers

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Revision Presentation - Impact of Takeovers and Mergers on Business Performance

This streamed revision presentation looks at the impact of takeovers andmergers on the performance of the businesses involved.

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Revision Presentation - Factors Influencing the Success of Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation considers the factors influencing the success of takeovers and mergers

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Revision Presentation - Motives for Takeovers and Mergers

This streamed revision presentation considers the motives for takeovers and mergers and how these link with corporate strategy

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10 Features of the Chinese Economy You Could Use in a BUSS4 Essay

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The BUSS4 research theme requires students to be "aware of recent trends in key economic and demographic data for China such as national income, income per person, wage costs, exchange rates and population trends".

Here are a selection of key charts  (and a brief supporting commentary) that help students ensure they are up-to-date as they plan and write their BUSS4 China essay.

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Starbucks’ Long-term Investment in Leadership of the Chinese Coffee Shop Market

Friday, June 13, 2014

How on earth is Starbucks making a success of its push into China? China is a tea-drinking nation. In fact, China has the world's oldest and largest tea-drinking culture. Chinese people hate coffee – they say it tastes so bitter it is like tasting medicine.

But, look at the evidence. Starbucks has been in China for 13 years, with an initial presence in the major tier 1 cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Starbucks expects China to become its second-largest market by 2014 aiming to have 1,500 outlets throughout China by 2015. The number of staff employed by Starbucks in China is forecast to rise from 12,000 to 30,000.

According to the latest Euromonitor report, Starbucks has a 60 per cent share of China's emerging coffee house market, well above its closest competitor.

That sounds like a success story. So how has it done it?

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AQA BUSS4 Revision Webinar - BUSS4 China Lines of Analysis

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Here is a recording of the BUSS4 revision webinar on China which played live to 430 students this evening.

You can download the slides (pdf) of the materials from here

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From Startup to Global Competitor - Insights into Xiaomi

Saturday, June 07, 2014

This is a terrific article from BusinessWeek on the growth strategy of Xiaomi, a Chinese business that is fast-becoming one of the countries best-known global brands.

Lots in the article (and the related video which I have added further below) for business students to note - I have jotted down some of the things I spotted below.

We've written before about Xiaomi and it is certainly an important business to watch - take a look at the other business blog articles on Xiaomi.

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BUSS4 Exam Prep. Making Connections to Achieve 5 Levels of Analysis

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

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.

BUSS4 China - China-Britain Business Council

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) partners with UKTI to promote trade between the two countries. Their mission is “...to help UK companies of all sizes and sectors, whether new entrants or established operations, access the full potential of the fastest growing market in the world.”

They publish a regular magazine called Focus, and I have been through a few recent editions looking for nuggets of information to add to the files of research for BUSS4 Section A answers. Here is a summary of what I have found – I hope that some of it is useful:

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BUSS4 China - Selling TV to the Chinese consumers

Friday, May 30, 2014

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.

China no longer the land of opportunity?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

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
  • Pollution
  • Difficulties attracting and retaining staff

Pick one and develop the hell out of it!

Tesco in China “20% of something is better than 100% of nothing”

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.

Organisational Culture - Problems of Changing Organisational Culture

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The key problems in changing organisational culture are outlined in this brief revision note:

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Organisational Culture - Ways of Changing Organisational Culture

In this revision note, we summarise some key points that students might consider when looking at ways of changing organisational culture:

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Organisational Culture: The Reasons for Changes in Organisational Culture

We've summarised below some key points that students should consider when revising the reasons for changes in organisational culture:

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Organisational Culture: The Impact of Organisational Culture on Business Strategies and Performance

This revision note summarises some of the key points that students should consider when looking at the impact of organisational culture on business strategies and performance:

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Organisational Culture: Factors influencing the Culture of an Organisation and Cultural Differences

We've summarised below some key points that students should consider when revising the the factors influencing the culture of an organisation and cultural differences within an organisation:

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Organisational Culture: Tony Hsieh on Zappos, Core Values, Culture and Organisational Structure

If students are looking for a research example of a business that is truly built around a deliberate attempt to create and nurture a strong organisational culture, they need look no further than online shoe retailer Zappos.

Tony Hsieh - the founder of Zappos (bought by Amazon in 2009) wanted to build a business based around a simple idea. That it - if you get the organisational culture right - then everything else that you need to be successful will fall into place.

Is he right?

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Is China’s slowdown good news?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

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:

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BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 6 Overview

Sunday, May 04, 2014

This final research bullet overview focuses on the topic of how business strategy might be affected by developments in China.

We'll add to these notes over the coming days and weeks as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides- essential support for the final stages of revision.

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BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 5 Overview

This introduction to and overview of the fifth research bullet for AQA BUSS4 2014 on China might be useful for students as they practice essay planning. The research bullet is on the ethical and environmental issues involved in trading with or operating in China.

We'll add to these notes over the coming days as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

We also have a free online revision class for BUSS4 on our sister site Zondle - I've uploaded a series of revision quizzes on there which you can use to break up your revision and test your BUSS4 knowledge!

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides- essential support for the final stages of revision

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BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 4 Overview

These outline notes provide an overview of the fourth research bullet for BUSS4 China 2014 - the relative advantages and disadvantages of the ways in which businesses might operate in the Chinese market

We'll add to these notes over the coming days as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

We also have a free online revision class for BUSS4 on our sister site Zondle - I've uploaded a series of revision quizzes on there which you can use to break up your revision and test your BUSS4 knowledge!

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides- essential support for the final stages of revision

read more...»

BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 3 Overview

Here are some introductory notes that focus on the third research point for BUSS4 China in 2014 - namely the factors affecting the success or failure of businesses trading with or operating in China

We'll add to these notes over the coming days as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

We also have a free online revision class for BUSS4 on our sister site Zondle - I've uploaded a series of revision quizzes on there which you can use to break up your revision and test your BUSS4 knowledge!

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides - essential support for the final stages of revision

read more...»

BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 2 Overview

The notes below provide an introduction to the second research bullet for BUSS4 China 2014 - the risks and rewards involved in trading with or operating in China. 

We'll add to these notes over the coming days as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

We also have a free online revision class for BUSS4 on our sister site Zondle - I've uploaded a series of revision quizzes on there which you can use to break up your revision and test your BUSS4 knowledge!

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides - essential support for the final stages of revision

read more...»

BUSS4 2014: China Research Bullet 1 Overview

Here is an overview of some key points and examples relating to the first research bullet point for BUSS4 China (2014) - The extent to which China creates opportunities and threats for businesses.

We'll add to these notes over the coming days as we provide further support for BUSS4 here on the tutor2u Business Blog. Don't forget to follow tutor2u and tutor2u Business on Twitter so you can get first news of the latest resources to support your revision.

We also have a free online revision class for BUSS4 on our sister site Zondle - I've uploaded a series of revision quizzes on there which you can use to break up your revision and test your BUSS4 knowledge!

Also, don't forget to get hold of your BUSS4 and other AQA Business Revision Guides - essential support for the final stages of revision

read more...»

BUSS4 China - True / False Challenge (1)

Here are 15 true/false questions which provide a fun way for BUSS4 students to test their knowledge of key features of the BUSS4 China research theme

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China’s exports losing low-cost advantages

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Boston Consulting Group have produced a fascinating new report which investigates the competitiveness of the world's top 25 goods exporting nations. Their press release highlights significant changes in the world order over the last decade. The newly-minted BCG Global Manufacturing Cost-Competitiveness Index incorporates four factors: energy costs, productivity, wages and exchange rates. That analysis shows that Mexico now has lower manufacturing costs than China, while Brazil is now one of the highest-cost countries, and the UK is the cheapest location in western Europe.


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Musings on Moyes - leadership, culture and change management.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

So it seems two great passions - football and Business Studies - can be combined for Unit 4...at least something good came out of Moyes' reign!

 

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China V India - Who will “emerge” victorious?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hostile government, the threat of a financial meltdown, slowing growth, higher wages and an ageing population. Is China still the best option for foreign investment? 

Compare this to India's younger, cheaper workforce, more welcoming government and forecasted largest middle-class population by 2030.

To allow students to analyse and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of investment in China , I've attached a research task based on India that gives key economic and demographic information, and looks at the "Indian strategies" for the following Tutor2u BUSS4 Top Ten businesses: JLR, Starbucks, KFC, Apple, Samsung and Ikea.

Good luck with the revision this term!

Is Arrogance the Biggest Threat to Western Multinationals Succeeding in China?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What does it take for businesses outside China to now succeed in China given the substantial changes that have taken place in recent years in the competitive environment there?

This short opinion piece from Dr Edward Tse in the South China Morning Post suggests that arrogance (on behalf of Western multinationals) might be one of the most significant impediments to success.

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Xiaomi - An Essential Student Research Update from Bloomberg

This article on Bloomberg Business about Xiaomi is perfectly timed for teachers and students wanting to update and extend their research on one of the fastest-growing consumer electronics brands in the world.

Back in September 2013 we wrote at some length about the growth strategy at Xiaomi which many in the media have labelled the "Apple" of China (and its founder and CEO Lei Jun the "Steve Jobs of China"). That's a label he rejects, by the way

Earlier this year we reported on how Lei Jun had set quite a challenging new corporate objective for Xiaomi - to sell 40 million smartphones during 2014.

The Bloomberg article suggests that Xiaomi may already be well on the way to achieving and possibly exceeding the 40 million phone objective, particularly as it has started to sell very well outside of China (a recent launch in Singapore sold out in just minutes). There is talk of trying to sell 100 million phones in 2015! Now Lei Jun's sights are set on nearby emerging markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Why is Xiaomi succeeding against strong competition?

The article argues that the attraction of the Xiaomi product is both from a design AND price perspective:

"Xiaomi’s appeal: It offers the technology and style of Apple or Samsung at less than half the cost." it claims, and this is supported by some comments from Xiaomi customers.

The article also provides some important background information on Lei Jun who is described as being "a world-class entrepreneur with vision, leadership and ambition to really build up a global company".

The comparison towards the end of the article between Xiaomi and Apple is also well worth a read - top evidence for a compare and contrast point for BUSS4 students.

China’s focus on Innovation, not Imitation

Monday, April 07, 2014

A great BBC article and video highlighting why China’s domestic mobile phone companies are now the greatest threat to Apple and Samsung’s success.

The extracts below will add weight to any argument that foreign mobile companies will struggle to succeed in the Chinese market.

  • Shenzhen, once a fishing village is now referred to as China’s Silicon Valley. It is home to Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE (three of the five largest mobile handset companies in the world) and a further 6000 handset manufacturers.
  • China produces more than half of the 2.5 billion phones sold around the world annually.
  • China now spends around $300bn (£182bn) a year on R&D, compared with a US spend of $450bn, and it is estimated to surpass Europe by 2018 and the US by 2022.

In the interview with Shi Lirong, Global President of ZTE (now the most innovative company in the world, filing 50,000 international patents last year), he lays out his three-pronged strategy of customer-focused innovation, recruitment of the best staff from around the world and the development of business partnerships.

Very impressive stuff!

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Starbucks – Technology to order your Coffee… but Never to Serve it

Following on from Jim's blog updating us on Starbucks strategy, here is another great 4 minute CNN video interview with Howard Schultz in which he talks about his app that allows customers to order on-line. The factors leading to this are the rise in internet shopping and subsequent reduction in footfall in shopping centres, but will online-ordering reduce the impact of this? Schultz talks about the need for all retail businesses to completely transform the way they do business, and as always, Starbucks seem to be ahead of the curve.

He explains the benefit of technology and data to help him better meet the needs of the customers (and ultimately shareholders), but is adamant that robots will never serve the coffee as this will detract from the customer experience instead of enhance it.

Another gem of a video that covers strategic planning, innovation, technology and customer service.

Starbucks Update from Howard Schultz

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Starbucks - always one of the best BUSS4 research examples - continues to be a source of inspiration for business teachers and students. I picked up on this excellent Q&A interview between CEO Howard Schultz and Bloomberg Businessweek which is packed with useful research insights. 

Here is the article - well worth a read.

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Macroeconomic moves in China

Friday, March 28, 2014

I am cross-posting this from the Economics blog as I think it should be useful for BUSS4 students; in a rather low key report on the BBC website this week, I found the shock news that China had a trade deficit of $23bn in February. This is alongside the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which focuses on small privately owned businesses, and which gave a reading of 48.1 for March, compared to 48.5 in February - with any figure below 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. And today there is a forecast of the ‘official’ PMI, which looks at the larger state-owned factories; although this is slightly over the ‘expansion’ measure of 50, it is only predicted to come in at 50.3 - and is subject to a 0.3 downwards correction to allow for seasonal patterns, according to Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.


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Alibaba - Ali you need know!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A combination of excellent news articles from last week have helped my students and I to fully understand the size and scope of Alibaba. Former teacher (and self-confessed technophobe) Jack Ma’s online company has experienced exponential growth and led to fear and envy from some of China’s (and the world’s) biggest companies. However, in his modesty he has described himself as “a blind man riding on a blind tiger”, giving him instant legend-status in our eyes!

The attached presentation has videos, hyperlinks and infographics that allow students to focus on the various elements that have led to Alibaba’s potential $150bn valuation. Each slide focuses on a different section from the BUSS4 specification thus giving information on leadership, strategy, competition, diversification and the economic (electronic) environment.

Hope it helps.

Foxconn: Life away from the Factories in China

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sometimes it helps to understand a little more about the human dimension behind the products we take for granted.

So here, for a slightly different perspective to offer students, is a short insight from the NYT into the lives of Foxconn factory workers in China.  What happens when they clock off from the production lines churning out iPads, iPhones and other consumer electronic goods? Take a look.

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BUSS4 Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops to Prepare for 18 June 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We're all ready to go with our BUSS4 Exam Coaching Workshops for June 2014. It already looks like we already have several sold-out venues for intensive revision days dedicated to supporting students as the get ready for the BUSS4 exam on 18 June 2014. However, there are still places available in some locations - please check our online store for latest availability

The outline content of the five BUSS4 exam coaching sessions is shown further below together with some screenshots from the workshop booklet. Students attending the workshop also get a copy of my latest BUSS4 Revision Guide!

How to book places (subject to availability)

Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or

Order online (including private individual students / groups), or

Download and submit the booking form

Please note that we DO accept private bookings from individual students / student groups - although these must be ordered and paid for before the places are allocated. No places may be bought on the day - advanced bookings only!

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