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...»
"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...»
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...»
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...»
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.".
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...»
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...»
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.read more...»
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...»
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.
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
The Yes/ No Game
Thinking Skills Bingo
"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...»
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.
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...»
This streamed revision presentation examines the problems of takeovers and mergers including difficulties integrating businesses successfullyread more...»
This streamed revision presentation outlines some evidence of the impact on, and reaction of, stakeholders to takeovers and mergersread more...»
This streamed revision presentation looks at the impact of takeovers andmergers on the performance of the businesses involved.read more...»
This streamed revision presentation considers the factors influencing the success of takeovers and mergersread more...»
This streamed revision presentation considers the motives for takeovers and mergers and how these link with corporate strategyread more...»
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...»