Get Summer 2014 Right First Time with tutor2u Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops
In 2012 Anthony Jenkins (nicknamed “Saint Anthony”) succeeded Bob Diamond and promised to clean up Barclays and eradicate the worst excesses of the banking industry. Speaking to those who received huge bonuses for unscrupulous behaviour, he said “my message is simple: Barclays is not the place for you. The rules have changed. You won’t feel comfortable at Barclays and, to be frank, we won’t feel comfortable with you as colleagues”.
Despite this, profit dropping 32% to £5.2bn, and making 3,700 jobs cuts last year:
- Jenkin’s himself pocketed just under £5m in shares
- Staff paid over £1m increased from 428 to 481.
- The bonus pool increased 10% to 2.4b
The justification for this? Many senior traders have left, or threatened to do so, and to keep hold of the top earners, he had to offer top pay. Had he not, the investment wing of Barclays would have plunged into a “death spiral”, with staff and high-value customers going elsewhere.
This is part of the bigger issue regarding European Commission’s rule to reduce banking bonuses, how George Osborne is fighting the decision and why, it would seem, he really didn’t need to as bosses of RBS (81% owned by tax payers) and HSBC also side-stepped the rule by giving large “fixed pay allowances” in the form of shares.
This story always provides great impetus for emotive debate on BUSS4 topics such as government intervention, culture, pay and leadership.
This article uncovers some of the current challenges and changes in the UK’s oligopolistic supermarket industry, following the recent milk-induced price war. Whilst the ‘big four’ of Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons are in direct competition, there is huge interdependence between them, which translates into a high level of reactivity where changes in pricing can lead to these all-out price wars.
Image source: www.thisismoney.co.ukread more...»
“students never really cognitively understand something until they can create a personal metaphor or model”
To help students understand how a business can overcome the many barriers to success in China, we used the metaphor of trying to gain the affections of a beautiful, foreign (but very high-maintenance) woman… called China! The analogy worked surprisingly well and we compiled the pros and cons on the attached PowerPoint.
To summarise, everybody loves China because…
- She’s beautiful
- She’s popular
- She’s rich (14% of global GDP in 2010)
- She has over 1 billion “things” to offer you
However, the problems are that…
- She’s very picky and discerning (48% of foreign businesses have failed within 2 years - WeberShandwick)
- She likes designer goods (“will purchase 20% of world’s luxury goods by 2015” - McKinsey)
- You don’t speak her language or know what she wants
- There are a lot of locals who do (35% of businesses feel comp from local is the 2nd biggest threat - The Economist )
- Her parents are strict and probably won’t like you (Hostile government - 32% see the Chinese government as the 3rd biggest threat)
- Her parents seem to prefer the locals (Protectionist approach – local businesses nurtured with fiscal and financial help)
So what do you do to succeed? The answer seems simple; learn why so many have failed, make sure you’re better than the rest, learn the language, culture and habits, give her what she wants and keep the parents happy!
This then led to application to businesses such as JLR, LinkedIn, KFC and Starbucks and what they did to build strong long-term relationships with the beautiful China.
This lesson worked as a nice way to consolidate students’ understanding of finance (and engaged the lads in the class more than ever). The Deloitte Football Money League ranks football’s top earning clubs and gives various infographics, reports and videos about their financial success. Very interesting in itself, but coupled with the fact that most of the teams listed are racking up millions in debt, it made for an interesting discussion about profit, loss, short term investment and long term success.
The PowerPoint (Football_finance_2013.ppt) is a research task and can be used as a lesson or homework. There are various extension questions and then a discussion about UEFAs Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule, which will supposedly "level the playing field" and stop the big clubs running up the kind of debts in the table below.
The Biz Quiz returns from the half-term break with 10 questions on the business & economics news from the last 7-10 days.
Does the inclusion of the image below breach copyright laws? Paramount Studios think so.
A young man (obviously with time on his hands) has had his Twitter account closed for tweeting individual frames of the film Top Gun, along with captions, every 20 minutes.
The BBC article explains that whilst it seems heavy-handed and mean-spirited, in terms of the law, even the frames are classed as the film. However, it does ask how the tweets could affect Paramount financially, and why YouTube accounts don’t face a similar fate.
In a previous blog I listed some other contentious copyright courtroom quarrels, could this be seen as the most absurd, as far from detracting from the studio finances, it potentially advertises and promotes the films further?
The attached PowerPoint (In_the_news_last_week_Gov_Int.ppt) links three current stories from sport, media and education and asks “should governing bodies intervene or should the invisible hand of free markets be left unchecked?”. In each case, students can discuss the merits and shortcomings of regulation in the respective industries, and explore the reasons for intervention in the first place.
The lesson works as a nice starting point and leads naturally to further research on Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.
Hope it helps!
There was a post a couple of days ago the linkedin discussion group about ideas to teach appraisal and exit interviews and I remembered this brilliant video.
It is a short clip of David Brent carrying out Keith's appraisal in the Office.
This was an activity I used with great succcess. Can be used in class but is also great for homework.
Students are given a question, needs to really be an extended answer question or an accounting and finance question, something like completing a cash flow forecast.
Then, students need to write a wrong answer. Not completely wrong, but some wrong elements or mistakes. This is where the teaching and learning comes in. In order to think of 'good' mistakes you really need to know the material. Its a sort of 'reverse' beat the teacher (link to that blog here)
After this, students swap their answers and they need to try and work out what the errors are.
This article about Mothercare asks whether it can be reborn, following a series of errors and decisions which have gone wrong. So it makes a very good case study from which students can identify decisions which were made, and turned out to be mistakes, and also actions which were not taken, and probably should have been. Their sales have been falling for years, they have restructured and reduced staffing, they issued a profits warning in January which led to £112mn being knocked off their share value, and now their Chief Executive has resigned - and yet they have a well-respected brand and the nature of their market means that their products are in constant demand.read more...»
My students were particularly interested in Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for the ridiculously high $19billion. We used the previous blog, then delved deeper and found a few great related articles; one explaining why it was a good price ($42 dollars for each of the 450m customers) but bad strategy and the other predicting that WhatsApp will not help them succeed in China. To summarise the two:
- WhatsApp is pro-privacy and data-free
- WhatsApp CEO Jan Kuom is sticking to his “ad-ban”
- WeChat – China’s domestic messenger service already has 300m customers and better functionality
- WeChat helps China’s economy and is subject to Chinese law (meaning “they” can keep tabs on the content).
- Chinese government banned Facebook, linked them with an act of terrorism and state media claimed that “80 percent of China’s net users felt Facebook should be punished”
- The government don’t want Facebook siphoning money and talent away from China’s domestic social media industry, most notably Weibo (China’s Twitter), whose profits have just jumped from $2.4m to $44.5m!
Segueing seamlessly to a social networking firm that seems to have secured a way into China; LinkedIn is trialing it’s Chinese language site via joint ventures with Sequoia China, China Broadband Capital and the aforementioned Weibo and WeChat!
Chief Executive Jeff Weiner said the deal has raised “difficult questions” for him, and has been forced to make various concessions in order to adhere to the Chinese Government’s censorship requirements, but believes that “LinkedIn's absence in China would deny Chinese professionals a means to connect with others on our global platform,"
Overall, these combined articles give students relevant ammunition for each of the research “bullets” as it covers success, failure, methods of operation and ethical implications of entering the Chinese market.
It would appear that social network firms need to network with Chinese social network firms if they want to become social network firms that operate in China. Simple really.
The airline Cathay Pacific has just announced their 9th annual business awards competition, for" British businesses which have successfully capitalised on opportunities to operate in China and Hong Kong". The scheme is run with the China-Britain Business Council and sponsored by HSBC and The Daily Telegraph - and is valuable for BUSS4 students as the Telegraph's information about it has a number of case studies and stories of businesses which are former winners of the awards.
You can find out a little about 2012 winners Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the business standards company BSI and the fair-trade Chinese tea producer Herbal Health, see why the CEO of Fired Up says that entering the Chinese market is essential for British business, and why the chief executive of the China-Britain Business Council says that he has his work cut out breaking down the misconceptions that surround doing business in the country, and bringing the real opportunities into the spotlight.
We've had some terrific HOD and other teaching vacancies notified to us over half-term. Take a look at those listed below to see if they are of interest to you:
After Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, I thought this made an interesting exam question. I've compiled a PowerPoint (Facebook_Whats_app.ppt) with graphs and hyper-links and asked students to research the facts behind the purchase. The main reasons seem to be:
- WhatsApp exponential growth was becoming a threat
- Facebook’s “determination to be the 'next' Facebook”!
- WhatsApp's comparative success in Europe
- Messaging companies becoming the social networks of choice for the young
- Google tried and failed
Whilst Facebook's share price fell and then recovered after the purchase, analyst Ian Maude stated "expensively buying every competitor does not feel like a long term strategy". Are Facebook, like Apple, losing their competitive edge?
Hope it helps.
Much has been shared in the news about China’s pollution levels, which broke records in December of last year. On days when it is bad, visibility is minimal, planes are grounded, you can taste it in the air and are advised not to go outside or do any exercise that might cause you to breathe more than normal.
In an attempt to convince the country that the pollution is not as bad as everyone thinks, Chinese State Media channel CCTV surprised and outraged the nation when they ran an online commentary highlighting ‘5 surprising benefits’ of the pollution, they were:
- It unifies Chinese people
- It makes China more equal (in terms of wealth)
- It raises citizen awareness
- Chinese people are funnier when they contend with deadly smog
- The haze makes Chinese people more knowledgeable
Did you know that most train operating companies will refund 50% of your ticket for a delay of 30 minutes or more, and will double that if the delay is for an hour or longer? And that, if you are travelling by tube, Transport for London offers refunds if your journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more (although you won’t get a refund if the delay is caused by a security alert, “third party action” such as a strike or bad weather)? Most probably you didn’t, as a survey by the Office of Rail Regulation has found that more than 75% of rail passengers know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about what they are entitled to when services are disrupted.
The report also found that 74% of passengers felt that train companies do “not very much” or “nothing at all” to proactively provide information about compensation when there are delays. As Simon Gompertz found in this video report, there are plenty of ways in which the train operating companies could make the information available, whether through instructions on the back of the tickets and announcements on trains to use of technology through their websites or apps.
This poor standard of information for customers is now to be improved. The ORR will now oversee the development of a code of practice on provision of ticket retail information, which will be in place by the end of 2014 and will provide clarity on what information passengers can expect from their train companies, including information on the different types of fares, restriction, and key terms and conditions, such as compensation and refund rights.
The government are also making compliance with these requirements part of their new franchising arrangements, to add to the regulation of the industry.
In the meantime, if you have had a journey delayed recently and want to claim compensation, here’s some guidance on what you might be entitled to.
We all know that the statistics about China's growth are awe-inspiring: a new power station every week, a new skyscraper every five days, and 30 new airports and 26,000 miles of motorways have been built in China in the last five years. Chinese outbound tourists are set to spend over £310bn on their travels this year - and that alone is a huge injection into the economies of other countries. A report last month showed Chinese investment in London real estate has risen more than 1,500 percent since 2010, increasing from 54 million pounds to more than 1 billion pounds at the end of the third quarter of 2013.
While Britain has been in the grip of the worst recession in a generation, China's economic miracle has surged forward.
Without this extraordinary growth, the depth of the slump in the developed economies would have been even worse; China's low cost output and their foreign exchange reserves have helped to keep the global economy growing at a time when any stimulus has been most welcome.
But, as Robert Peston explains in 'How China Fooled the World', the vast majority of this expansion has been built on credit from the 'shadow banking' system. There are huge developments of housing which have been built and bought up by investors at inflating prices, but which lie empty. As a result, the Chinese economy now has huge debts and there are doubts as to whether much of the money can ever be paid back. This sounds horribly reminscent of the bubble which built up immediately before the credit crunch in 2007-8 - but on an unimaginably bigger scale. What will happen to the rest of the global economy, if China is no longer there to support it?
There is only another 7 days to watch this excellent programme on i-player, and it is really worth devoting an hour to at the end of half term - could be very useful for several of the bullet points for June's BUSS4, particularly the second - the risks and rewards involved in trading with or operating in China - and last - how business strategy might be affected by developments in China.
Robert Peston's blog also has a supporting article. - which you can find here.
The rate at which China's economy has grown in recent years (as measured by the growth in GDP) is slowing. China's economy is still growing - but slower - and this has significant implications for both domestic and overseas businesses in China as well as the rest of the world trading with China.read more...»
Students who joined us in looking at successful organisational cultures in 2013 will remember Zappos. Now part of the Amazon.com empire, Zappos is a high-performing online retailer with a distinctive corporate culture.
Zappos has taken this unconventional approach to organisational design a step further in recent months through the introduction of a style of organisational structure called "holacracy".read more...»
Ever wondered what happened to that old Nokia mobile phone that used to be your pride and joy. Or that Nintendo portable console that was your companion on many a long journey? If you disposed of them rather than (like me - keep them in a box in the spare room) then chances are your e-waste found its way to China.
This video clip highlights the significant amount of recycling of e-waste that is conducted in China. For the operators themselves it is a significant business opportunity, However, there are some important social costs involved too.read more...»
I'd love to see the investment appraisal calculations on this investment project by Marks and Spencer. The Independent reports that M&S has invested around £150m as it relaunches its new website as part of a broader £1bn project to improve its logistics.read more...»
We’re busy working on brand new support resources for the BUSS4 Exam Coaching Workshops for June 2014. It already looks like we'll have packed houses for the intensive days dedicated to supporting students as the get ready for the BUSS4 exam on 18 June 2014.
The outline content of the five BUSS4 exam coaching sessions is shown further below.
How to book places (subject to availability)
Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or
Order online(including private individual students / groups), orread more...»
Ive just read Kate's blog about using the 'cake boss' to draw out the learning in relation to job production. Belting idea. I'm also a huge fan of the cake boss (and cake for that matter).
Anyway, this reminded me of a cracking activity I did with my GCSE class a while back and I think using Kates idea and then perhaps this activity would provide a nice thread to teach job and batch production.
One year I decided to do something different to teach batch production. I was in the baking aisle at Sainsbury's when I saw those boxes of cupcake mix, the ones that make about 12 mini cup cakes. They come complete with the little paper cases and some nice little decorations for the top . I bought two packs of these and took them into school. I spoke to the HE department and arranged a business lesson in one of the cookery rooms.
The activity was simple. I got the students to make cupcakes! I started off the lesson with a quick intro into batch production and then all the learning was delivered by the power of the cupcake. Once the cupcakes were baked we discussed the pro's and con's of batch production and for the plenary, we ate the cupcakes.
What do Kanye West, a Flappy Bird and American footballers have in common?
I had no idea either, but it was interesting to have a go. I saw these three news stories this week and they seemed to cover the full gamut from money, sport, culture, fashion, business and (most importantly for the students) trainers.read more...»
Valentine's Day and the significance of planning for known surges in demand, and how to avoid customer dissatisfaction.
Hat tip to Paul Waugh of Politics Home for the appalling or appealing pun.
I'm rather bitter that Eric Cantona one of Manchester United's best former players has been banned by The Advertising Standards Agency today.
Watch the clip and try to work out why this has happened.read more...»
Here are some practice BUSS4 Section B Essay Questions which could be used for revision / essay planning practice.
Here they are. If I come up with any more, I'll add them to this blog!read more...»
The final Biz Quiz before we all take a well-deserved half-term break!
My two kids and I love watching 'Cake Boss' on TV toogther - usually straight after we come home from school with a cuppa and a piece of cake! The programme follows Buddy Valastro - a cake shop owner and his family as they grow thier business in New Jersey, New York. They make the most amazing cakes to order and each one of them is uniuqe. I was watching this one particular episode where Buddy and his team were asked to make a cake based up on the Dr Seuss stories to encurage young children to read and made the most amazing cake - the perfect example of Job Production!read more...»
We are pleased to announce initial details of EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014 - our enrichment event that connects students with fantastic entrepreneurs - LIVE!
Our 2013 programme was a sell-out (twice-over) and our team of successful entrepreneurs had a fantastic time meeting over 3,000 students and teachers, telling their stories and answering some great questions!
The 2014 tour is going to be even bigger and better!
The dates and locations for EntrepreneurLIVE! 2014 are:
Manchester - 17 October 2014 (Vue Cinema, Salford Quays)
London - 21 October 2014 (Vue Cinema, Fulham Broadway)
Bristol 22 October 2014 (Vue Cinema, Cribbs Causeway)
Birmingham 23 October 2014 (Vue Cinema, Star City)
Edinburgh 4 November 2014 (RBS HQ Edinburgh) to be confirmed
Belfast 7 November 2014 - venue and date tbc
A booking form will be available on this blog link shortly once final details of locations and dates are confirmed.
To help get a feel for the event, Schools and colleges can request a FREE copy of the EntrepreneurLIVE 2013 Student Booklet - please order your copy here
We have blogged about Huawei several times recently. Huawei is a terrific, though controversial example, of a fast-growing Chinese business with global ambitions which poses an increasing competitive threat to established multinationals.
For example, in this blog entry we reported on how Huawei is investing heavily in innovation and new product development: 62,000 of its 140,000 staff work in research and development, and it has 23 R&D centres around the world.
Two recent news articles highlight how this investment in R&D is starting to bear fruit, even if (in the case of 5G the returns are still a few years away)
There has been much media attention recently about the roll-out of 4G mobile networks (thing Kevin Bacon strolling through the streets extolling the virtues of EE). However, Huawei already has its eyes on the next (5G) generation of mobile networks which offer the prospect of data speeds up to 1,000 times faster than the current performance. That's some prize for the successful developers and Huawei is investing over $600m into the research necessary.
5G mobile networks might be 5-6 years away, but a more short-term opportunity looks like the impending competitive battle for wearable technology. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on plans by Huawei to take on Samsung and (potentially) Apple by launching a smartwatch at an upcoming technology convention in Barcelona. Another example of Huawei's ambition to compete on the global stage, particularly in consumer electronics.
Our BUSS1 exam coaching workshops in January 2014 were a sell-out, with over 2,000 students working their way through a comprehensive series of exam-style questions to practice and improve their exam technique.
We have a couple of spare boxes of the full-colour printed booklets left after the workshop tour and we've made these available for sale in our online store (whilst stocks last) at just £5 (including P&P) each. There is a minimum order of 5 copies.read more...»
To develop students’ evaluation skill, I try to start most lessons with a question based on interesting news stories, from Miley Cyrus’ shock marketing techniques, to Google’s driverless cars. Attached is a PowerPoint with 20 headlines and pictures (some are sooo 2013) along with a business studies related question. Ideal for bellwork, or as a way of introducing a certain topic.
In my classroom, I have 4 pin boards (Finance, Marketing, Human Resources and Operations) and ask students where the specific question belongs; this then serves as a quick reference point to help students make the links between topics and businesses.
Hope it helps!
Whilst quoting Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is normally reserved for market traders and Gordon-Gekko-types, I’ve used the attached PowerPoint (Sun_Tzu_The_Art_of_Business.ppt) as a nice introduction to Strategic Planning (and, quite appropriately, expansion into China) with A2 students, and Business Planning with AS (a little tweaking may have to take place for the different year groups).
I’ve picked out a few choice quotes from the 2500 year old text and asked students to write down the business implications (or advice it gives) to businesses. Finally, students need to plot all of the factors a manager/general must take into account to ensure a strategy of success.
It can take as little or as long as required, but is an interesting way of getting students to understand that strategic planning is the key to success in war, competition, business and life.
Hope it helps.
It has arrived there somewhat later than its major competitors. However, McDonald's has finally open its first outlet in Vietnam. It is a significant moment for an icon of globalisation, not the least given the historical connection between the USA and Vietnam.read more...»
Sony’s embattled CEO Kazou Hirai and his Board have been reviewing their product portfolio in recent months and the result is a strategic choice to remove two “dogs”.read more...»
Here are 20 more multiple choice questions which have been selected from across the AQA BUSS1 specification. Our weekly BUSS1 revision quiz is designed to keep you on top of the BUSS1 content - even whilst you are studying other units.
Here is the third in our series of regular revision quizzes which test the whole of the AQA BUSS3 specification. This quiz has 20 multiple choice questions.
Hot on the heels of the Christmas PowerPoint Quiz, the tutor2u learning lab has been working flat out to product a new interactive lesson activity.
The A to Z Brands activity challenges students to identify the brand or business from the clues given. Just pick a letter and name the brand! Keep your own score; play in teams or table groups. Have fun!
(This resource is a PowerPoint macro-enabled activity)
Here's a fun link, showing a variety of firm's building up revenue in real time. The winner clocks up $1m in little over a minute. Of course, revenue isn't the same thing as profit - but you can track net profit too, showing up some interesting issues. Coca-Cola earns more than PepsiCo despite fewer sales. Boeing and Airbus enjoy about equal revenue, but the American firm is much more profitable.read more...»
A maternity cover teaching vacancy here for business studies at our friends at St Davids Catholic Sixth Form College.read more...»
There have been eight sittings of the BUSS4 exam now, based on the first five research briefings (Emerging Markets, UK Recession, Corporate Social Responsibility, Takeovers and Mergers, Corporate Culture).
Here is our AQA BUSS4 Exam Paper Topic Tracker which allows colleagues to see how the BUSS4 topics have been examined so far.
We also recommend that BUSS4 students make use of the following resources:
We've had quite a few BUSS4 exam papers now and it is always interesting looking back over the choice of essay titles for Section B to get a feel for the style and focus of what is on offer! It is also interesting to note which topics have been covered by the essay options in Section B!
Over the lifetime of the specification, you would hope that all the major topics in BUSS4 would feature in some way. After the June 2013 paper, there are still three core topics that have not yet been the focus of at least one of the three Section B essays, namely:
- Retrenchment (touched on briefly in the Section A research theme in 2010 on strategies in a recession)
- Takeovers and mergers (Section A research theme for 2012)
- European business (the forgotten child of BUSS4?)
10 more questions on the business news from the last seven days. Some tough ones here - you'll do well to get more than 7-8 right we reckon!
This article in Forbes is a useful example of a multinational that has decided that China is no longer an attractive business opportunity.read more...»
Does the combination of Apple’s falling sharing price and market share, their perceived lack of innovation post-Jobs and Samsung’s cross-licensing deal with Google spell trouble for Apple?
Attached is a 10 slide PowerPoint (Apple_V_Samsung_Research.ppt ) with infographics, hyperlinks, videos and questions that can be used to help students research the two tech giants.
As with the “Will Google rule the world” post, the lesson covers most of the following BUSS4 topics:
- Mission statements & corporate objectives
- Globalisation and emerging markets
- Technological change
Hope it helps!
A terrific opportunity here to lead the Business Team at Oakham School. Please mention you saw this on tutor2u if you apply.read more...»
Lenovo has agreed to buy smartphone manufacturer Motorola from Google for $2.9bn.
As Puneet Pal Singh from the BBC explains in his excellent analysis of the deal, this is not the first time that Lenovo has used an acquisition to accelerate its growth (a good example of "external growth).
Back in 2005 it acquired the desktop and laptop business of IBM which immediately catapulted it into the global top division of computer manufacturers. Now, Lenovo is the world's largest manufacturer of computers and it has set its sights on building global market share in mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets.
Overnight, the takeover of Motorola puts Lenovo into third place globally, overtaking Huawei, which itself also has global leadership ambitions. Regular readers of the business blog might also ask - where are Sony and Nokia? The answer, of course, is falling fast as competition intensifies.read more...»
Are the good old days over? Is the gold rush of multinationals into China at its end?
I think this is a very useful leader article in The Economist which ought to be part of the research notes for aspiring BUSS4 students looking at China.read more...»
The Year of the Snake proved a challenging one for major bureaucrats in China who had previously enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. However, a new focus on rooting out corruption amongst China's public servants, is catching up with corrupt officials. As senior public servants fall into line with the new, stricter regime, demand for certain luxury products is falling in China! In this video from the FT, Ben Marino examines the changes and the possible implications for businesses that have relied on lavish spending.
A great example of how a change in the political environment can impact directly on business!read more...»