AQA BUSS4 Research Theme for 2015 - Manufacturing in the UK

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The Biz Quiz - 4 September 2014

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Biz Quiz returns for the new academic year with 10 more questions on the recent business news!

Launch The Biz Quiz - 4 September 2014

Download printable worksheet

Download quiz answers (teachers only)

EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014 - Bin Business Challenge

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

This year's student challenge for EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014 is Bin Business. The first parts of Bin Business also make a cracking induction activity for all business students by getting them to use their imagination, teamwork and creativity to come up with new product idea. All you need for this to work well is a nice selection of recycled household items and lots of imagination. Enjoy!

To download Bin Business, please complete the following short online form

EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014

We are pleased to announce details of EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014 - our enrichment event that connects students with fantastic entrepreneurs - LIVE!

Download a booking form here or contact Janet Cahill in the tutor2u office with your required numbers

You can also download some promotional flyers to use to encourage your students to attend - details at the foot of this blog entry!

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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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Poor leadership examples!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This great BBC article looks at 'The worst CEOs of 2013'   Whilst this was written at the end of last year, it is a great starting point to consider some of the leadership issues that these businesses were suffering from, and then evaluate whether anything has changed for the positive since the start of 2014.

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AQA A2 Business BUSS4 - Section A Research Theme 2015

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.

read more...»

Using Laurel and Hardy in Business Lessons!

Friday, August 29, 2014

I was watching 'towed in a hole' last night which is a classic short by Laurel and Hardy. The opening 3 minutes are pure business gold.

Ollie's first lines are:

'For the first time in our lives we are a success. A nice little fish business and making money'

Stan then goes onto explain how the business can make even more money........

The opening few minutes would make a great little starter on adding value or methods of increasing profit.

The rest of the short film (22 minutes) also has some nuggets of business gold that could be used including quality. Another idea could be to show the entire short film and ask students to look out for the business studies issues and concepts.


Gallery of Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The first lesson of the year with any group is always difficult – usually by the time I get to know their names, hand out the textbooks and go over the course outline we are all in need of a fun activity.

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A Level Business New Specifications - Free Briefing

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our comparison of the three main exam board specifications for the new A Level Business is now available to download.

Download tutor2u A Level Business Specification Briefing

We have focused on comparing the teaching content and approach to assessment for the three main exam boards.

AQA comes out a clear winner followed by the new challenger Pearson Edexcel. OCR's Business specification looks one to avoid.

Of course this is all a matter of opinion and every colleague will have a view not just on the new teaching content & exam formats, but also the relationship they have with their existing exam board (trust in marking, communication etc) and whether swapping is an option from Sept 2015.

Don't forget that we have a resource-packed CPD course on the new specifications for all existing AQA centres and also centres considering swapping to the most popular specification.

The all-new WOW! Business 2015 also includes teaching & learning resources that are designed to support the new teaching content that ALL exam boards are required to include in their new specifications.

How some small British firms can break into the USA market

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Typically the success of UK firms in the USA has been mixed, Fresh and Easy the American Tesco, pulled out last year after making losses for 6 years. This ended up costing the company £1.2bn and affected their reputation.

Other firms who havent been successful -

  • HMV pulled out in 2004
  • Laura Ashley sold its US chain for a dollar in 1999
  • Marks & Spencer lost money when it sold US fashion chain Brooks Brothers  in 2001
  • Sainsbury's sold its Shaw's upmarket grocery chain in 2004

    This is a great article for looking at enterprise, marketing strategy and growth as well as other topics on the A Level syllabus.

    read more...»

    Business Logo cakes – continuous improvement.

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Two years ago, I blogged on the Great Business Logo Bake Off and while some fantastic cakes were produced, I raised the point that I was hoping to get more students involved, and would think of some strategies to do this.

    read more...»

    Amazon’s product portfolio

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Amazon yet again launch a new product!

    "Amazon has released a smartphone and  tablet add-on that can be used to swipe debit and credit cards to allow  payments. The Local Register device is targeted at small businesses as an alternative  to a cash-register system"

    read more...»

    Growth with Inflation

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Over the last couple of days I have been watching balloons take off at Bristol's Balloon Fiesta. An evening out with friends, and a few pints may have inspired Don Cameron to take a risk, but a love of aeronautics or flying helped.

    read more...»

    CSR - Unilever’s Strategy & Culture of Sustainability

    A superb article here from The Economist that should be essential reading for all students required to develop their understanding of corporate social responsibility (“CSR”) and, specifically, the concept of sustainability.

    read more...»

    AQA BUSS4 Research Theme Toolkit for June 2015

    Friday, August 08, 2014

    Our popular research theme toolkit for the June 2015 BUSS4 exam can now be pre-ordered here

    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. 

    Details of the BUSS4 Section A Briefings can be found here.

    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.

    Marketing Strategy - Twins Add Value to Humble Homewares Through Design Innovation

    Monday, August 04, 2014

    The use of innovative design as a source of competitive advantage lies at the heart of this entrepreneurial success story - detailed here in an excellent Guardian interview.

    It is always good to see twin brothers succeeding in business! And the Joseph twins seem to have combined their talents very effectively to help re-invigorate their family business.

    read more...»

    Takeovers: Morrison’s Disastrous Investment in Kiddicare

    If you are looking for a good recent example of how takeovers can destroy returns for shareholders (of the investing business), then add Morrison’s purchase of Kiddicare to the list!

    read more...»

    Strategy: Retrenchment for the Co-op Group to Reduce Gearing

    The Co-operative Group, which has endured a pretty horrific period recently, is now firmly on a path of retrenchment. It is starting to take some substantial steps to dispose of business units in order to reduce the group’s high level of debts (gearing) and to focus the group on core activities.

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    Revision Presentation - Business Ethics

    This updated and extended revision presentation introduces the concept of business ethics. The distinction between ethical and legal behaviour is examined as are the potential benefits and drawbacks of ethical behaviour. Some topical examples of business ethics in action are also provided.

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    WOW! Business 2015 - The UK’s Best Business Teacher CPD Course

    Sunday, August 03, 2014

    We're delighted to announce the initial programme of dates and locations for WOW! Business 2015 - our new flagship CPD course for ALL teachers of business.

    WOW! Business follows in the giant footsteps of TBBLE and builds on the phenomenal success of the resources provided over four years of TBBLE events!  The full course resource folder and CD from TBBLE 2014 can still be purchased from our online store, together with a selection of individual resources.

    We've expanded our business teaching contributor team even further to provide another resource-packed CPD day that we're sure you'll love.

    The confirmed dates and locations (so far) for WOW! Business 2015 are:

    11 November 2014: MANCHESTER

    12 November 2014: BIRMINGHAM

    13 November 2014: LONDON

    25 November 2014: GLASGOW

    28 November 2014: CARDIFF

    18 June 2015: LONDON

    19 June 2015: MANCHESTER

    Marketing Strategy - P&G Takes the Axe to its Brand Portfolio

    Are there too many brands chasing the available demand of households and other consumers? That's the view of AG Lafley, the CEO of Procter & Gamble ("P&G") - one of the world's leading multinationals in the fast-moving consumer goods ("FMCG") sector.

    P&G has announced that it will look to focus on a much smaller number of consumer brands and cull up to 100 brands from its extensive product portfolio. In a classic example of product portfolio management, P&G wants to focus on those 70-80 key brands that have existing strong market shares and/or fast growth prospects.

    read more...»

    Leadership & Change: Sergio Marchionne Drives Culture Change to Turnaround Chrysler and Fiat

    If business students are looking for a different example of how effective leadership can drive successful change, then they should add Sergio Marchionne to their research.

    Sergio Marchionne was initially best-known for leading the turnaround of the Italian automotive group Fiat. More recently, Marchionne has led the transformation of US automotive group Chrysler, taking Chrysler from the brink of bankruptcy at the lowest point of the financial crisis in 2008/9 to profitability.

    Marchionne took over as CEO of Fiat in 2004 and was able to return the struggling Italian car manufacturer to profitability with two years. He first connected with Chrysler when a strategic alliance was formed between Chrysler and Fiat (who took a 20% shareholding) as part of a US government-backed rescue of Chrysler as it tried to avoid bankruptcy. When Chrysler was able to pay off various US government loans in 2011, Fiat was left with a stake of over 50%. Since then, Fiat have been negotiating with a Chrysler employee trust in the US (which holds a substantial remainder of the shares in Chrysler) to complete a full takeover. A deal was finally agreed in early 2014 with the formalities now being completed. 

    read more...»

    Strategy – Multinationals Should Beware the “Local Dynamos”

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    The world’s largest multinationals are in a constant search for revenue and profit growth, with many targeting emerging markets as the best source of growth that will satisfy their shareholders.

    read more...»

    Strategy - Tata Group Sets out its Conglomerate Vision

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    The headline above from the FT really caught my eye this morning. Tata Group, perhaps best known in the UK for its ownership of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Corus, has set out ambitious plans to invest $35bn in capital spending over the next three years as part of its vision for the next 10 years.

    read more...»

    Marketing Mix - When the Whole Industry’s Prices are Too High

    There is a huge amount of business studies in this news story from the BBC in which a senior executive from private healthcare provider Bupa suggests that the whole industry in the UK has set its prices too high.

    read more...»

    Technology - Delays in Fast Broadband Threatens the Competitiveness of UK Business

    "Nowadays every business is a digital business" claims the FT's Jonathan Moules in this useful video clip about the importance of fast broadband speed for UK business.

    However, not every business has access to fast broadband and there is evidence presented here that the lack of acceptable bandwidth is reducing the competitiveness of businesses who rely on access to the Internet.

    read more...»

    Strategy: Foxconn Pursues Diversification as it Attempts to Move up the Value Chain

    Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer best known for building Apple products, is increasingly adopting a strategy of diversification in response to rising labour costs in China.

    read more...»

    Entrepreneurship - How Failure Drove the Success of Dropbox

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    We're all big fans and users of Dropbox here at tutor2u - and the story of how Dropbox has developed into a hugely valuable business is a great example of how failure can inform and inspire successful entrepreneurial activity.

    read more...»

    Vertical Integration - Benefits Street and Baking Bought by Sky

    Here is a small, but good example of vertical integration in action with a takeover by Sky of the production company behind the likes of Great British Bake-Off and Benefits Street.

    Vertical integration arises when a firm buys a business at an earlier or later stage of the supply chain. In this case, Sky is undertaking "backwards vertical integration" - by investing in a controlling stake in one of the many television production companies that provide programming for Sky and other channels.

    It looks like there may be some significant revenue synergies available to Sky as a result of its investment.  For example we are told that "Sky's distribution business, Sky Vision, will promote Love Production's formats and programmes to networks overseas.".

    New Leadership - Can the Soap Man Save Tesco?

    This will be a dynamic business story that will be essential for business students to follow closely over the coming months. Tesco has announced the appointment of Dave Lewis to replace Philip Clarke as CEO with effect from 1 October 2014.

    This decision is significant for many reasons, not the least that Dave Lewis has never been a retailer, nor has he ever been a CEO. Nevertheless, Lewis was the man that Tesco wanted (he was headhunted) and he has a superb track record at Unilever, one of the world’s leading multinationals in the FMCG sector (“fast-moving consumer goods”).

    read more...»

    Retrenchment - Nadella Axes Jobs in a Bid to Simplify Microsoft

    Satya Nadella, the new CEO of Microsoft who has taken over from Steve Ballmer, has announced that 18,000 jobs will be cut by 2015. These are the largest job losses in Microsoft's history and represents around 14% of Microsoft's total workforce. This is the classic action of a new CEO opting for a strategy of retrenchment as a way of imposing his/her views on the appropriate strategic direction.

    read more...»

    How did Aldi crack Tesco’s hold on the market?

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    Some news in the same week as Philip Clarke's high profile departure from Tesco, is that Karl Albrecht, who founded German discount supermarket chain Aldi  with his brother Theo, has died. The success and growth of Aldi (an abbreviation of Albrecht discount) is one of the thorns in the side of Tesco, and one reason for the profits warning that they announced yesterday, along with several other problems that Clarke inherited when he took over from Sir Terry Leahy three years ago. There is plenty to analyse in the criticism of Tesco's strategy, but also worth considering what it is that has enabled Aldi to break into the market, and how they have moved to a position of having 19% of those in the AB socio-economic catergory shopping in their stores.

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    The do’s and don’t's of pitching for business investment

    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...»

    Vending Machine Pizza

    Tuesday, July 08, 2014

    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...»

    World Cup glory: For country or cash?

    Monday, July 07, 2014

    We all know football is full of cash, and sometimes, where there is money, there is corruption (FIFA?). However, on the ‘fully’ transparent and above board side, everyone knows that players and coaches alike are well remunerated for their hard work! In line with Taylor’s thinking, bonuses tend to play a big role in football and with Cameroon’s bonus row and Ghana having $3 million in cash sent out to their players, it would be very interesting to have a look at the performance of the teams in relation to their financial incentives. No doubt, many would expect the biggest payouts to be promised to the teams who are likely to be the most successful.

    read more...»

    Six simple, engaging teaching and learning strategies for Business Studies

    Friday, July 04, 2014

    As we approach the end of another academic year I thought it might be useful to put together some of my all time favourite teaching and learning strategies for business studies.

    Below are '6 of the best' and what I like most about them is that they take very little (if no) preparation smile

    The Yes/ No Game


    Topic Tennis


    Thinking Skills Bingo


    Barbie, you’re hired

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    "Entering the entrepreneurial world, this independent professional is ready for the next big pitch. Her "smartphone," tablet and briefcase are always by her side."

    Sounds like one of the contestants to take part in the next series of The Apprentice? Actually no, it's the latest Barbie doll - Entrepreneur Barbie.

    read more...»

    Marketing, with a hint of Brazilian flavour

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    As far as I know, Pot Noodles don't usually feature as a typically Brazilian dish, but they are just one of the products jumping on the World Cup bandwagon.
    There are plenty of other examples to add - Domino's have new Fiesta and Rio pizzas, Tilda have 'sweet and spicy' rice and Lucozade have a new Brazilian variety. These and others all feature in an article about the range of Brazilian-themed products appearing in the supermarkets.

    read more...»

    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.

    read more...»

    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.

    read more...»

    AQA BUSS4 Revision Webinar - Section B Essays

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    Here is a recording of tonight's BUSS4 Section B webinar.

    The materials used during the session can be downloaded here

    read more...»

    Revision Presentation - Problems of Takeovers and Mergers including Integration

    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.

    read more...»

    The Return of the Best Business Lesson 4!

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    This week TBBLE 4 (The Best Business Lesson teaching and learning CPD) event return to Birmingham and London.

    Over 65 teachers attended over the two days and participated in a range of brand new, innovative business studies teaching and learning strategies to engage students in the classroom.

    Each delegate received a folder with over 40 resources in addition to a CD with an array of PowerPoint games that can be used immediately within the classroom but for me, one of the best parts of the day was the chance to speak with other teachers and share good practice within the classroom and coming away with even more ideas!

    TBBLE arrives in Belfast on the 24th June and Manchester on the 27th June. Details here

    (Teachers participating in the 'entrepreneur cards' teaching and learning strategy)

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

    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?

    read more...»

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