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...»
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)
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...»
If there is one British brand that demonstrates the potential for successful trading with China it has to be Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). Ok, so JLR is now owned by Indian conglomerate Tata Group. But, to most consumers Jaguar and Land Rover are quintessentially British luxury brands – and brands which Chinese are demanding in increasing numbers.
Over 80% of JLR's sales are to overseas markets and in 2012 China overtook the UK as JLR's biggest market. In 2012 sales in China grew by 71% to nearly 72,000 vehicles. By 2013, that had risen to over 90,000 vehicle sales in China.
This is a phenomenal success story and is a great illustration of how a brand can exploit the opportunity presented by the emerging affluent middle class in China.read more...»
The new draft specifications for AQA Advanced Level in Business and Advanced Subsidiary in Business have now been made public by AQA. Download them from the links below:
Advanced Level GCE Business
Draft Specification (first teaching 2015) [includes AS]
tutor2u’s initial range of core teaching & learning resources to support the new specifications can now be pre-ordered here from our online store.
Don’t forget that you can also now book places on our resource-packed CPD course on Teaching the New AQA A Level Business. These courses are already experiencing a high level of bookings, so please contact us as soon as possible to secure one or more of the remaining places.
Here is a recording of the BUSS4 revision webinar on China which played live to 430 students this evening.read more...»
Harry has taken a quick break from 1D's world tour to talk to tutor2u about his top BUSS3 exam tips. Watch this exclusive video below!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...»
Has it all gone horribly wrong for UK-based global pharmaceutical giant GSK? Profits might be rising, but there still seems to be a nasty smell about the way GSK does business.
That’s bad news for GSK shareholders and stakeholders, but good news for business students. GSK has quickly become one of the very best examples of the potential costs and reputational damage that can arise when business ethics are seemingly ignored by parts of a complex multinational organisation.read more...»
iFunFace is a great little app that can be used to brighten up any lesson. I used it recently on a school visit.
iFunFace allows you to create humorous videos from a static image. Really simple to use. You obtain an image, create a mouth and then record what you want the image to say and the app does the rest!read more...»
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.read more...»
This image has been around a while but it would look great on the board as students entered the classroom especially if the topic was innovation or technology.
In the latest announcement about curriculum reform from Ofqual (they're busy, if nothing else) Applied Business appears in the list of qualifications to be scrapped, with the last teaching scheduled for 2015-16.
There is a "public consultation" to which I think it would be well worth interested colleagues contributing:
I know that many colleagues will feel that it is a great shame as this has helped over 6,000 students each year carry out an alternative type of A Level Business qualification that is more suited to their skills than the traditional GCE Business Studies. Please respond to the consultation if you would like to contribute to the debate.
My contacts in the awarding bodies tell me that the "consultation" is largely for-show rather than a genuine attempt to gauge opinion, and that the fate of Applied Business was probably sealed some time ago.
Gove's view is that there are only two kinds of legitimate Level 3 qualification - truly academic and truly vocational and that this leaves no room for the likes of Applied Business.
But, you never know what might be achieved through concerted lobbying.
Yesterday saw me 'tread the boards' once again at the amazing Cramlington Learning Village. Craig Knight (HOD) is a very good friend of mine and asked a while back if I could come in and help deliver some revision sessions on BUSS3. I was delighted!
Craig and I delivered 3 interactive and challenging sessions on investment appraisal, ratios and ratio analysis as well as general BUSS3 exam skills with a specific focus on writing a strong conclusion for the 34 mark question.
The investment appraisal session involved students looking at whether Morrisons could be taken over by calculating payback, ARR and NPV and it was really pleasing to see students looking beyond the financial data and looking at the qualitative factors that affect investment decisions.
After two quick games of 'ratio thinking skills bingo' and 'spiderman ratio's' we looked at what the results of ratios actually mean and then applied them to real businesses.
I had a great day and I would also like to thank one of the students (you know who you are!) for bringing in my favourite treat. Freddo's!
Good luck in the exam!
Interesting taking a brief look at the new AQA Business specification (for first teaching Sept 2015): highlights below. Full specs and sample assessment materials are out on 11 June 2014.
Don't forget to pre-order your free A Level Business Specification Comparison Report from tutor2u, where we'll compare and contrast ALL the new Business specs side-by-side.read more...»
This is one of my favourite I Love Lucy clips and is a great video to use in business studies lesson.
This short clip shows Lucy and Ethel working on a production line (trying) to wrap chocolates but struggling to keep up!
I used this video when introducing production and linked it to motivation by getting the students to think of what it would be like to actually perform this job but it also wonderful to introduce management styles by getting students to analyse the supervisors slightly 'autocratic' style of management.
Once again the BBC has come up trumps with this superb student friendly clip of the worlds first auto-balancing bicycle. The 'Jyrobike' was developed by a team of engineers which they say can teach people to cycle in an afternoon. The "Jyrobike" contains a patented control hub in the front wheel that uses gyroscopic technology to keep riders upright, even when they tip or wobble. The technology is specifically aimed at 3-8 year olds who are learning to cycle.
This would make a super starter activity to get students thinking about a number of different issues including:
- Protecting business ideas (patents)
- Factors determining the success of the Jyrobike
- Product lifecycle
and many, many more.......
Business Gold in under 3 minutes!
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.
Many thanks to our good friends in the Business department at Cardinal Wiseman for alerting us to this opportunity to join them from September 2014. Please mention you saw this on the tutor2u Business Blog!read more...»
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:read more...»
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.
I always recommend to my students that the last thing they look at before the exam is the Spec Sheet.
The examiners do this when they set questions, so seems logical to reverse the process, look at the question and relate back to the Spec Sheet.
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.
The key problems in changing organisational culture are outlined in this brief revision note:read more...»
In this revision note, we summarise some key points that students might consider when looking at ways of changing organisational culture:read more...»
We've summarised below some key points that students should consider when revising the reasons for changes in organisational culture:read more...»
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:read more...»
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:read more...»
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...»
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?read more...»
The exam board specifications for the new linear A Level in Business and new AS Level in Business will be published very soon.
Each exam board will publish the full specification for each qualification (A Level Business & AS Business) together with specimen assessment materials (exam papers and mark schemes) for each of the new units.
The new specifications are required to comply with the recently-published Ofqual subject content criteria which lay out the core content that must comprise at least 60% of each specification. Ofqual has also identified an extended range of quantitative skills which must also be included in the new specifications.
For all exam boards, the new A Level and AS in Business represents a significant change and we are aware that many centres are taking this opportunity to review which exam board will be most suitable for their students.
As a support to all centres intending to offer A Level Business and AS Business from September 2015, tutor2u is producing a comprehensive free report that analyses each of the new specifications. The report, published in early July, will include:
- A summary of the key changes for each exam board compared with their existing specifications;
- Comparison of the way in which the Ofqual 60% subject content is covered by the specifications;
- Analysis of how the extended requirement for quantitative techniques are incorporated
- An overview of how each new specification differs in terms of assessment, unit structure and content outside the Ofqual core;
- Analysis of extent to which the AS specification is co-teachable with the linear A Level
- Our overview of suggested ways in which existing teaching & learning resources can be adapted for effective use from September 2015
- Our overall opinion on the relative merits of each specification.
We have invited each of the exam boards to contribute to the briefing report by way of answers to a set of consistent Q&A which will further help centres inform their choices.
We will despatch the report to you as soon as it is complete
At the recent exam coaching workshops one of many case studies we looked at was Loake Shoes.
Loake was established in 1880 and are known for their range of fine, handmade shoes. A pair of Loake English Brogues takes around 8 weeks to make from start to finish and involves over 135 craftsmen. The average price of a pair of Loake brogues is around £200 which is justified given the reputation for fine, handmade shoes.
So, let us use the above information to look at how we can move from reasonable application and reasonable analysis to good.
Lets assume that in order to reduce the time it takes Loake to make a pair of shoes the business is considering introducing more technology into its operations, automating some of the shoe making process.
A typical question based around this might be:
Analyse the consequences to Loake of introducing more technology into its operations
'Introducing more technology into the business could damage the business as the business is known for producing a handmade product which will result in fewer units being sold if products are not produced this way'
From the above, we can see that this has been answered from a very theoretical perspective. There is no real application and the analysis is only reasonable in so much that the arguments aren't really developed and the argument doesn't really explain HOW or WHY fewer units will be sold.
'One consequence of introducing more technology into Loake is that Loake are known for producing fine, handmade shoes and as such have developed a unique selling point allowing the business to charge £200 for a pair of shoes (here, data has been combined). Consequently, the use of more technology may mean that the reputation that Loake has established since 1880 could be ruined which may result in Loake struggling to justify the £200 price tag in addition to the possibility of lower sales as fewer customers may want to buy their shoes if they aren't produced in the traditional way that Loake are famous for'
Here, we can see that the answer is completely in context, combines data and has a coherent and multi-stage argument.
BUSS2 is a challenging paper given that you have two case studies to tackle. In addition, with the paper being 80 marks and 90 minutes you are advised to spend no more than 5 minutes on each case study. Many students don't finish the last question and given that BUSS2 is worth 30% of your entire A level, this lapse in exam technique MUST be avoided.
So, what are my top tips? Here we go...read more...»
TBBLE (The Best Business Lesson Ever) 2014 returns in the Summer with dates in Birmingham (11th June), London (12th June), Belfast (24th June) and Manchester (27th June).
The format for the day is simple; a fantastic range of resources, ideas and teaching and learning strategies that can be immediately used within the Business Studies classroom - all with the aim of helping teachers deliver more creative and engaging Business Studies lessons
The feedback from the events so far has been fantastic and below are just a couple of the comments made by delegates who attended TBBLE 4 earlier in the year.
'The TBBLE course provided a great source of inspiration and ideas which I was keen to re-invent back in the classroom asap. Students have particularly benefited from the analysis/linking up of concepts material.' (Miss Anne Kirby)
'A fantastic course! Full of lots of useful ideas which I am now using in the classroom. The course was delivered by brilliant presenters who's enthusiasm was inspiring. The resources are great too. Highly recommended' (V. Garlick)
Details of how to book onto TBBLE can be found here
Below are some pictures of TBBLE in action
On Friday I was delighted to deliver two exam skills sessions to the AS and A2 Business Studies students at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington
I spent 90 minutes with the AS students and then after break a shorter 60 minute session with the A2 students.
The focus of both sessions was to look at techniques and strategies to develop application, analysis and evaluation in an exam context with a particular focus on BUSS3 with the A2 students.
Part of the AS session involves students completing a stepping stones activity in groups using the BLT with such as seasoning approach (a blog on this technique can be found here) to help achieve GOOD analysis and GOOD application. It worked!
I was made to feel extremely welcome and would like to wish the students every success in their forthcoming exams
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...»
A business has an acid test ratio of 0.2:1.
On the face of it this spells disaster. The business only has 20p of current assets minus stock for every £1 of current liabilities. The business may have difficulty meeting its short-term payments and may struggle to raise finance due to its inability to pay its debts. That's the theory anyway.
But this business is Wal-Mart. This information paints a completely different picture.
Wal-Mart is the worlds largest retailer and as such has most of its current assets tied up in its inventory (stock). High inventory is crucial for Wal-Mart because if they do not have an item in stock customers will simply go elsewhere. In addition to this Wal-Mart is a cash generating business and due to its size and scale able to negotiate extremely favourable credit terms.
For Wal-Mart, an acid test ratio of 0.2:1 poses no problems.
This example illustrates one of the key exam skills needed to succeed in BUSS3 which is application.
Look beyond the theory and apply your knowledge to the business you are writing about.
Yesterday I visited the Queen Elizabeth School in Hexham to deliver a couple of sessions on exam technique to the AS and A2 students. Both sessions were an hour and we looked at different techniques and strategies to help develop the key exam skills of application, analysis and evaluation.
Each session started with a quick game of Thinking Skills Bingo to re-cap core content with several A2 students getting a 'full house' in ratio bingo.
We then looked at some other key techniques such as stepping stones, a 'BLT with 'such as' seasoning', balloon analysis and some strategies to help ensure decisions within evaluation questions are well supported as well as a couple of other teaching and learning strategies.
I had a great day and I'm looking forward to another school visit in Darlington tomorrow
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...»
In true tutor2u style, here we have an adapted resource that asks students to decide whether the annual sales ($bn, 2013) of one major global brand is 'higher' or 'lower' than another. The original resource was an economics activity comparing the GDP growth of different countries (available from this link).
This resource has been compiled by Paul Hoang, using data from Fortunes Top 100 companies. It is an interactive Powerpoint game that asks students to string together as long a sequence of correct answers as possible (the highest possible score is 36). The screen shows one business and its annual sales revenue for last year and then shows the name of a second business. The student has to say whether they think the annual sales revenue of the second company is higher or lower then that of the first business. Answer correctly they are offered another business to compare. Answer incorrectly, the student is 'out' and someone else can be invited to play.
This is a fun, interactive resource that gives students an insight into the relative sales figures of some of the world's major companies.
Click this link to download the resource.
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