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AQA BUSS3 Revision Quizzes

Monday, April 14, 2014

The comprehensive collection of revision quizzes below are designed to support students preparing for AQA A2 Business Studies BUSS3 - Strategies for Success.

Don't forget that you can also top up your understanding and knowledge of BUSS3 topics by using our comprehensive series of BUSS3 revision presentations

Students can also improve their preparation for BUSS3 by getting hold of our AQA BUSS3 Revision Guide.

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AQA BUSS3 Revision Presentations

Links to the individual revision presentations for AQA A2 Business Studies BUSS3 are provided below.

Don't forget that you can also test your understanding and knowledge of BUSS3 topics by testing yourself against our comprehensive series of BUSS3 revision questions.

Students can also improve their preparation for BUSS3 by getting hold of our AQA BUSS3 Revision Guide.

read more...»

Revision Presentation - Customer Service

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This streamed revision presentation is designed to support students preparing for the customer service topic on AQA BUSS2 

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AQA BUSS2 Revision Presentations

We have a series of streamed revision presentations on tutor2u to help students preparing for AQA BUSS2. Follow the links below to view each individual presentation.

You can also test your understanding of the BUSS2 topics covered by these presentations by trying these BUSS2 Revision Quizzes.

Don't forget you can also buy our BUSS2 Revision Guide which provides easy-to-use revision essentials for the core BUSS2 topics - just £5 from our online store.

We also run one-day intensive exam coaching and revision workshops for BUSS2. Details of the upcoming workshops can be found here.

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Meet Britain’s Best Business Leader - Harriet Green

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Students attending our BUSS4 exam coaching workshops will know that I'm a big fan of Harriet Green, the CEO who has done so much to lead the turnaround of Thomas Cook. In fact, I'd almost go as far as to say that Harriet Green is my favourite CEO. Except, of course, that there is Howard Schultz of Starbucks who has long held that position in my mind!

Nevertheless I highly recommend that business students take some time to learn more about the leadership and management style of Harriet Green who was awarded the Leader of the Year accolade at the 2013 National Business Awards.

Here are two articles which I think are pretty accessible to students wanting to undertake this research.

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China’s focus on Innovation, not Imitation

Monday, April 07, 2014

A great BBC article and video highlighting why China’s domestic mobile phone companies are now the greatest threat to Apple and Samsung’s success.

The extracts below will add weight to any argument that foreign mobile companies will struggle to succeed in the Chinese market.

  • Shenzhen, once a fishing village is now referred to as China’s Silicon Valley. It is home to Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE (three of the five largest mobile handset companies in the world) and a further 6000 handset manufacturers.
  • China produces more than half of the 2.5 billion phones sold around the world annually.
  • China now spends around $300bn (£182bn) a year on R&D, compared with a US spend of $450bn, and it is estimated to surpass Europe by 2018 and the US by 2022.

In the interview with Shi Lirong, Global President of ZTE (now the most innovative company in the world, filing 50,000 international patents last year), he lays out his three-pronged strategy of customer-focused innovation, recruitment of the best staff from around the world and the development of business partnerships.

Very impressive stuff!

Starbucks – Technology to order your Coffee… but Never to Serve it

Following on from Jim's blog updating us on Starbucks strategy, here is another great 4 minute CNN video interview with Howard Schultz in which he talks about his app that allows customers to order on-line. The factors leading to this are the rise in internet shopping and subsequent reduction in footfall in shopping centres, but will online-ordering reduce the impact of this? Schultz talks about the need for all retail businesses to completely transform the way they do business, and as always, Starbucks seem to be ahead of the curve.

He explains the benefit of technology and data to help him better meet the needs of the customers (and ultimately shareholders), but is adamant that robots will never serve the coffee as this will detract from the customer experience instead of enhance it.

Another gem of a video that covers strategic planning, innovation, technology and customer service.

Starbucks Update from Howard Schultz

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Starbucks - always one of the best BUSS4 research examples - continues to be a source of inspiration for business teachers and students. I picked up on this excellent Q&A interview between CEO Howard Schultz and Bloomberg Businessweek which is packed with useful research insights. 

Here is the article - well worth a read.

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Technological Change and the Watchmakers

The global watch business is estimated to be worth around $22bn per year. It is still a big market, but the market leaders face some significant competitive threats from substitute products.

Can mechanical watchmakers compete effectively with the big smartphone brands? They need to find a way to do this soon unless their products are to be consigned to targeting a niche segment of older, wealthy customers.

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Google Glass, Geeks and Loons – Overcoming Barriers for Product and Market Development

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Two very interesting stories regarding Google’s intentions of world domination (in a nice way) via innovation, product and market development.

Firstly, in an effort to “de-dorkify” the Google-Glass and appeal to a wider audience, Google have struck a deal with Luxottica (the makers of Ray-Bans and Oakley sunglasses) to design the wearable device. The deal looks promising and Luxottica’s share price increased 4% after the deal. At the same time, Google founder Sergey Brin has been denigrating mobile phones saying that they are socially isolating, with “people walking around hunched up, looking down, rubbing a featureless piece of glass”. This is a great example of how Google are trying to push what they hope is their next rising star by challenging accepted norms about how we currently interact.

Secondly, to “connect the two-thirds of the world's population which does not have affordable net connections”, Google has launched Project Loons, which consists of floating balloons laden with 3G equipment into the skies over lesser developed countries. The driving force behind this is of course altruistic, with an ancillary benefit being that billions more people will use Google services. Moved by this act of philanthropy, Facebook intend to do the same, but using solar-powered drones instead!

Perfect stimulus for discussions for Ansoff’s Matrix, Boston Matrix, Innovation, Competition, Overcoming barriers, CSR and Strategic planning.

Retrenchment and the Rope-a-dope

Monday, March 31, 2014

A topic that is yet to be examined in the BUSS4 paper and one of the sections in the fantastic BUSS4 Revision Workshops is Retrenchment.

This 9 minute clip show the highlights of Ali and Foreman’s Rumble in the Jungle, and demonstrates the risks of over expansion, the necessity of retrenchment and the benefits of focus. It serves as a potential introduction to Retrenchment strategy and can be followed by research on Thomas Cook’s Harriot Green or Royal Mail’s Moya Green (two ladies who demonstrate Ali-esque strategic thinking). In the video, Muhammad Ali shows:

Aggressive Attack

Ali believed that he could beat the market leader with an aggressive attack in the first 2 round. He was wrong! It led only to him expending lots of energy (money) and aggrevating his more powerful opponent.

Retrenchment (the rope-a-dope)

Ali went against the rope for the subsequent 5 rounds. Whilst this was a risky strategy, it allowed him to refocus and conserve vital energy (whilst Foreman went on the attack and expended most of his energy/funds). Despite being on the defensive, Ali still used his marketing/mind games to get the crowd on side and frustrate Foreman.

Focus and Success

In the 8th round, having regained his stregth and knowing that his opponent had lost his, Ali invested in a short, focused but powerful attack that floored Foreman and allowed him to achieve his objective of Champion of the world/market leader!

Macroeconomic moves in China

Friday, March 28, 2014

I am cross-posting this from the Economics blog as I think it should be useful for BUSS4 students; in a rather low key report on the BBC website this week, I found the shock news that China had a trade deficit of $23bn in February. This is alongside the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which focuses on small privately owned businesses, and which gave a reading of 48.1 for March, compared to 48.5 in February - with any figure below 50 indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. And today there is a forecast of the ‘official’ PMI, which looks at the larger state-owned factories; although this is slightly over the ‘expansion’ measure of 50, it is only predicted to come in at 50.3 - and is subject to a 0.3 downwards correction to allow for seasonal patterns, according to Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.


read more...»

Market Segmentation for Politicians

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are you optimistically content or in long-term despair? This BBC article is a must for any students taking both Business Studies and Politics.

Pollsters Populous have created a test to tap into the mindset of voters, understanding that the traditional demographics such as age and postcode are too vague.

It segments the electorate into 6 categories and demonstrates the percentage of voters for each political party, stating that this will enable them to “craft TV ads, speeches and photo ops that appeal to the groups they need to win over."

Students can take the 3 minute test and evaluate the usefulness of this method of psychological market segmentation and suggest the messages that leaders must use to expand their voter/customer base.

Alibaba - Ali you need know!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A combination of excellent news articles from last week have helped my students and I to fully understand the size and scope of Alibaba. Former teacher (and self-confessed technophobe) Jack Ma’s online company has experienced exponential growth and led to fear and envy from some of China’s (and the world’s) biggest companies. However, in his modesty he has described himself as “a blind man riding on a blind tiger”, giving him instant legend-status in our eyes!

The attached presentation has videos, hyperlinks and infographics that allow students to focus on the various elements that have led to Alibaba’s potential $150bn valuation. Each slide focuses on a different section from the BUSS4 specification thus giving information on leadership, strategy, competition, diversification and the economic (electronic) environment.

Hope it helps.

Samsung target the selfie segment

Friday, March 21, 2014

Here’s a nice little example of Samsung’s customer-focus (no pun intended) and technological innovation.

Possibly inspired by 2013’s Word of the Year, Ellen DeGeneres’ most re-tweeted tweet, or just our general obsession with ourselves, the new Samsung NX mini camera has a rotating screen and is wink-activated, meaning the best selfie since the last selfie!

The Telegraph article

Does the UK Steel Industry Have a Future?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The FT produce some superb videos that are ideal for use in the Business & Economics classroom - and this new one on the UK steel industry is yet another ideal teaching resource. 

While global steel output has accelerated over the past four decades, the UK has been left behind. Tanya Powley, the FT's manufacturing correspondent, visits Celsa's plant in Cardiff to find out if UK steelmakers still have a future.

There is so much in the four minutes of the video. A good idea is to ask students to consider, as they watch, what is the most significant point made about the UK steel industry. 

They might mention:

The substantial reduction in scale of the industry over recent decades (from 200K workers to around 20k)

The significant overcapacity in the global steel industry

The lack of competitiveness of UK steel plants despite heavy investment (capital intensive!)

The changing relationship between employers and employees (the steel industry at its height had a pretty awful record of industrial relations)

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If you can’t think of anything inspirational to say, let Google do the work for you

Monday, March 17, 2014

I talk way too much in lessons, I can’t help it. So, to reduce my word emissions, my students and I collated a handful of concise quotes from artist, sportsman, writers, leaders and businessmen on the topics below. Some are great, many are cheesy, but they make for a good display and help students find links between business studies, entrepreneurship and the other subjects they are studying.

Risk Taking

Creative Thinking

Motivation

Planning & Preparation

Hard Work

OCR AS Business Studies F292 Toolkit – All About the Baby Ltd (AAB)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tom White's superb revision toolkit for OCR AS Business Studies Unit F292 is now available for colleagues to order from our online store. 

The F292 toolkit for All About the Baby Ltd contains:

Guided revision questions covering the key case study issues
Analysis and evaluation of all the key case study points, issues and data
Specification mapping against the pre-release

Order the OCR AS Business Studies F292 Toolkit

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Edexcel A2 Business Unit 4a - Greggs Case Study Analysis

Mark Tottman's superb in-depth analysis of the Edexcel Unit 4a Exam Case Study on Greggs plc is now available for purchase and immediate dispatch. Mark has continued to use the popular and successful format from previous case study analyses, dissecting the stimulus material on Greggs to provide students and teaching colleagues with unrivalled insights into the key features of the Greggs case.

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AQA BUSS2 Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops to Prepare for BUSS2 on 3 June 2014

We're all ready to go with our BUSS2 Exam Coaching Workshops for June 2014. It already looks like we already have several sold-out venues for intensive revision days dedicated to supporting students as the get ready for the BUSS2 exam on 3 June 2014. However, there are still places available in some locations - please check our online store for latest availability

Graham Prior and the BUSS2 team have been hard at work producing all-new materials for the day which focuses unrelentingly on improving exam technique for BUSS2 – which many students find is a much tougher challenge than BUSS1. And with the January resit window now closed, it is more essential than ever than BUSS2 candidates get it right first time!

Students attending the workshops will get our resource-packed workshop booklet together with a copy of tutor2u’s latest BUSS2 Revision Guide.

The outline content of the five BUSS2 exam coaching sessions is shown further below together with some screenshots from the workshop booklet.

How to book places (subject to availability)

Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or

Order online (including private individual students / groups), or

Download and submit the booking form

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BUSS4 Exam Coaching & Revision Workshops to Prepare for 18 June 2014

We're all ready to go with our BUSS4 Exam Coaching Workshops for June 2014. It already looks like we already have several sold-out venues for intensive revision days dedicated to supporting students as the get ready for the BUSS4 exam on 18 June 2014. However, there are still places available in some locations - please check our online store for latest availability

The outline content of the five BUSS4 exam coaching sessions is shown further below together with some screenshots from the workshop booklet. Students attending the workshop also get a copy of my latest BUSS4 Revision Guide!

How to book places (subject to availability)

Email Janet Cahill with your confirmed numbers , or

Order online (including private individual students / groups), or

Download and submit the booking form

Please note that we DO accept private bookings from individual students / student groups - although these must be ordered and paid for before the places are allocated. No places may be bought on the day - advanced bookings only!

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AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 4

Saturday, March 15, 2014

This is the fourth quiz containing 20 multiple choice questions which have been selected from across the AQA BUSS1 specification. This BUSS1 revision quiz is designed to keep you on top of the BUSS1 content - even whilst you are studying other units.

Launch AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 4

Download printable version (pdf)

Download solution (teachers only)

AQA BUSS3 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 4

Here is the fourth in our series of regular revision quizzes which test the whole of the AQA BUSS3 specification. This quiz has 20 multiple choice questions.

Launch AQA BUSS4 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 4

Download printable version (pdf)

Download solution (teachers only)

Change of strategy at Morrisons

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How can it be that the announcement from Morrisons today that they have made a £176m pre-tax loss for the year to February 2, has caused Tesco's share value to fall to its lowest level in almost a decade? 

There are a couple of articles here which give students a good opportunity to analyse the internal and external influences which are forcing Morrisons to change their strategy, and the effect of that change on their competitors. As this article in the Daily Telegraph explains, the problem for Tesco, and for Sainsbury as well, is in the change of strategy that Chief Executive Dalton Philips announced in order to try to turn this around. Morrisons intend to cut their costs aggressively, by £1bn, and to use those savings to cut their prices.

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China – has the “domino effect” begun?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Speaking at his annual address to parliament, premier Li Keqiang said “we are at a critical juncture where our path upwards is very steep… deep-seated problems are surfacing; painful structural adjustments need to be made”.

This comes at a time when there are reports of a potential sub-prime debt crisis in the “shadow banking” sector (worth between $604bn - $3.7 trillion, depending on the source).

Also, according to the Ministry of Human Resources, the number of job openings fell, with city jobs in Q4 falling 13.7% from the preceding quarter.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the first domestic corporate bond default happened last week. Energy company Shanghai Chaori Solar failed on a £9m interest payment. The state has previously bailed out Chaori and other such businesses, but chose not to this time, generating much speculation from analysts.

Many say it was a necessary move from the government to install a better risk culture, tackle China’s credit problems and starting with the “painful adjustments” necessary to decelerate growth.

However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated “We doubt that the financial system in China will experience a liquidity crunch immediately because of this default, but we think the chain reaction will probably start.”

This was echoed by Philip Li of China’s International Credit Rating, calling it “a domino effect”, and coupled with Robert Peston’s recent BBC article (and other sources below), should help students construct a strong case that the risks of operating in China now outweigh the rewards.

The Sunday Times - China faces it's Shadow Banks

Business Week - How Chaori will deal with the default

Forbes - Trouble for China?

The Telegraph - The value of the shadow banks

BBC - Is the shadow banking sector due to fall?

BBC - Robert Peston's How China fooled the world

OCR A2 F297 Toolkit – APSL June 2014

Very soon we'll be shipping the OCR A2 Business Studies F297 Toolkit for June 2014. This exam-support resource, written by Tom White, is once again packed with analysis and evaluation of the issues raised in this year’s OCR pre-release case study for F297 strategic management.

The toolkit gives a strategic overview of APSL’s position in the market, key stakeholders and the company’s objectives. There’s coverage of the impact of the economic forces on the company, and a discussion of the significance of the firm’s environmental policy. You can consider business culture at APSL, and the obstacles to achieving change. Since the case study contains a lot of financial data, there’s detailed coverage of this topic, taking you through all the relevant ratios – with the supporting commentary written to match the Guidance on Accounting Element OCR GCE Business Studies published by OCR in August 2012. The toolkit will be shipped with an Excel workbook showing you how all the relevant calculations for the case study can be performed.

With a SWOT summary and evaluation of the strategic choices facing APSL, students are well supported as they gear up for their final A2 exam – there’s even a mock exam paper included for practice!

You can order the OCR A2 F297 Toolkit – APSL June 2014 from our online store here or by downloading and sending us this printable booking form.

Even St Anthony can’t change the culture at Barclays

Monday, March 10, 2014

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.

China as the woman of your dreams… but is the feeling mutual?

Friday, March 07, 2014

“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.

Football Finance

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.

Maverick gets shot down

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

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?

Government (or governing body) Intervention: Man City, Benefits Streets & Universities

Sunday, March 02, 2014

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!

What’s gone wrong at Mothercare?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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.

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Can WhatsApp help Facebook get into China? No! But LinkedIn seems to have found a way.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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.



Why buy a business with $20mil revenue for $19 BILLION?!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

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.

Customer service in the rail industry

Saturday, February 22, 2014

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.

How China Fooled the World

Friday, February 21, 2014

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.

Connect the 3 stories using Business Studies terminology

Friday, February 14, 2014

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.

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Some BUSS4 Section B Essay Questions to Ponder and Plan

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Here are some practice BUSS4 Section B Essay Questions which could be used for revision / essay planning practice.

I've taken account of what has been asked in Section B up to now and also the current Section A research theme on China.

Here they are. If I come up with any more, I'll add them to this blog!

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Huawei Invests in Innovation to Fuel Growth

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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.

BUSS1 Exam Coaching Workshop Booklet from Jan 2014

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.

Visit our online store to grab some of these resource-packed BUSS1 booklets. 

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Business Board Questions

Monday, February 10, 2014

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!

Business_board_questions.ppt

Sun Tzu’s The Art of Business

Sunday, February 09, 2014

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.

AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 3

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.

Launch AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 3

Download printable version (pdf)

Download solution (teachers only)

AQA BUSS3 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 3

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.

Launch AQA BUSS3 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 3

Download printable version (pdf)

Download solution (teachers only)

AQA A2 Business (BUSS4) - Exam Topic Tracker

Friday, February 07, 2014

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. 

Download AQA GCE Business BUSS4 Topic Tracker

We also recommend that BUSS4 students make use of the following resources:

Ultimate Guide to BUSS4 Essay Writing

BUSS4 Revision Guide

Our BUSS4 blog on China

Our Scoop.it news boards for BUSS4 Section B and BUSS4 China

BUSS4 - The Section B Essay Questions So Far

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?)
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Apple v Samsung Research task

Monday, February 03, 2014

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
  • Leadership
  • Culture

Hope it helps!

BUSS4 - the tutor2u Ten for 2014

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Each year we attempt to pick a manageable selection of businesses which offer the potential for AQA BUSS4 students to combine some Section A (China) and Section B research.

Here are our suggestions for 10 firms to follow for BUSS4 students wanting to deepen their understanding of real businesses as they prepare for the two essay questions this summer. In a couple cases we’ve grouped firms together, so the total number of businesses is actually more than 10!

The tutor2u 10 is chosen entirely subjectively, based on the following criteria:

Each entrant should ideally have;

- Accessible media coverage

- Good mix of written, audio & visual research materials

- An international/global dimension

- Potential for “compare and contrast”

- Rich sources of relevant evidence for AQA BUSS4 research theme for 2014 (China)

- Reasonable expectation of examiner familiarity

The list is shown below, with a brief comment on the reason for selection.

read more...»

OUP, Youtube, ebooks and PDFs

OUP is one of the country's major academic book publishers, and naturally enough it has commissioned and published new studies on the outbreak of the First World War. A new book 'Saving the City', by Richard Roberts, covers the financial crisis which broke out in Britain, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914.  

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AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 2

Friday, January 31, 2014

It's time to try 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.

Launch AQA BUSS1 Weekly Revision Quiz - Week 2

Download printable version (pdf)

Download solution (teachers only)

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