Why Study A level Business Studies?
At Rochester Independent College Business Studies is a fast growing real world A level with students increasingly looking to study Business related courses at university. RIC's Business Studies teacher Neal Layton explains why it's far from being a soft subject:
Have you ever heard a student say; “I don’t know why we do that in class as I’m never going to use it when I leave here?” Well, one thing I can guarantee is that it will never be the case in a Business lesson, its business that makes the world go around!!
I view students who come to business as those who are looking to learn about the real world, about how and why businesses start up, how they are managed and how they become successful. Because ultimately I want the students who study Business to go on and work for these successful companies, perhaps even running some of them and be good at it.
Having spend over 30 years in senior management roles being involved in mergers, acquisitions, turnarounds and senior consultancy projects I think I have a decent grasp on what goes on in the “real world”. You see, the simple fact is that there are no “correct answers” in business, just situations you deal with based on your experiences. What works in one business wont necessarily work in another and you certainly wont get the answers by reading all the textbooks out there – Business is a “contact sport” and it involves getting in there and getting your hands dirty.
So, if you want the easy A-Level don’t come to Business as I can promise you’ll be challenged, questioned and be expected to state your own views and be able to justify your actions and decisions within real-life business scenarios.
I sometimes use this phrase to explain Business “In maths its about knowing that 2+2 = 4, in business it’s about knowing why and being able to explain a situation when it might not be”.
Covering subject areas such as strategy, finance, operations, human resources and marketing but all from the context of “what would you do, and why?” Being able to justify your decision is sometimes just as important as the decision itself, using balanced arguments and evaluation to allow you to come to a conclusion is a life-skill that you will be able to carry with you.
Business Studies and related subjects (such as the FAME group – finance, accounting, management and economics) are also among the most popular fields of study at universities worldwide, particularly at graduate level.
Types of Degree (or Degree Level qualifications) that are typical for business students to pursue post A-Level
Quantitative techniques (mathematics)
Whichever level you study business at, and whatever field of specialisation you choose, you can expect all types of business degrees to have a strong emphasis on the practical application of theory, through the use of case studies, problem-solving tasks, project and team work, and often also internships and placement schemes both nationally and internationally. This is why the RIC business curriculum is structured in exactly the same way.
The combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the prospect of studying a business degree highly appealing for those attracted to the competitive, yet collaborative learning environment offered by RIC. But, for most people, the answer to the question “why study business?” is best answered by looking at the potential careers available:
Public relations officer
Distribution and logistics management
Combine these opportunities with the fact that Business is consistently ranked as one of the highest salaries available to a new graduate Average Graduate Salary Guide 2020 and I think you can see why Business shouldn’t be considered a “soft” A-Level.
Neal tweets about all things Business Studies related at: https://twitter.com/RICBusines...
Visiting speakers last year at RIC included:
Emma Skitt; Emma has owned and run Coaching and Change Ltd for 14 years and has worked with several global blue-chip organisations. She is currently running the Momentum Programme for L’Oréal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU7wyG-33Bg and has seen over 300 people trained over the last three years. Her specialities include;
Myers Briggs, FIRO-B, Strengthsfinder diagnostics and development
One-to-one and group coaching
Neurobehavioural modelling and practical applications in organisations
Emma’s talked focussed on the principle that “People perform better when they feel good about themselves and the role of Psychological Safety within work”
Paula Quazi; After 10+ years running her own marketing consultancy Paul returned to her chemistry roots and founded “smol” in 2018 https://smolproducts.com. Paula’s talk focussed on the role of an entrepreneur and also the smol business development story.
Becoming an entrepreneur.
1. Definition of an entrepreneur
2. First step…You need an idea that you believe in - the process to finding one, research etc
3. Next is setting up a business - what you need to get started, a business plan, a bank account, registered business, register your trademark, create a logo, VAT etc
4. Bravery - it’s an emotional rollercoaster, its expensive and you have no earnings, fear of failure, excitement of it working, etc
Our story - the last 24 months.
- My background,
- The genesis of the idea
- Making the product
- Creating the brand mix - what is a brand mix? Positioning, Price, Name, Design, Packaging, Website Advertising/Promotions, PR etc
- Setting our goals and financial planning - what happened in reality.
- Marketing in the digital world - show ads
- Marketing in the traditional world - show ads
- Launching in a new market.
- Next steps
Finally we had a talk from British Aerospace in Rochester which detailed the Bae story and opportunities for students.
Can I get into a good university if I study Business at A level?
Yes! In recent years RIC students have gone on to study degrees such as Modern Languages and Business at Newcastle, International Business at Loughborough, Finance at Durham, Economics at Edinburgh, Business and Management at Oxford Brookes, Business and Management at Cardiff and Fashion Marketing at Manchester. At all universities the most important thing with A level choices is subject combination. Combine Business with say Maths and Computer Science and you will be well placed for competitive top degrees. Combine Business with Graphic Design, Digital Media or Photography and a range of degrees including marketing those leading to the commercial side of the creative industries are open to you. Some RIC students also study Business as part of their preparation for degree level apprenticeships.