What is A-Level Business?

Essentially the Business A-Level at d’Overbroeck’s is about debating and decision-making in a business context and as such it develops invaluable skills whatever you want to do next. You need to learn and understand the theory but then apply it to a context. The “right” answer will depend on the problem in front of you and you need to be able to think issues through logically, put together well-reasoned arguments and make recommendations. It involves analysing situations and making choices.

You are expected to analyse the key factors involved in a given context and have to recommend the best course of action for a business given its existing position: should it launch a new product? Should managers increase staff pay or give more to investors? Should a business target more emerging economies? How should you raise the money need to fund expansion – should you borrow from a bank or friends and family?

What you'll do

The subject is based on the concept of choice and decision making. Students need to consider factors such as objectives, risk, costs, returns, constraints and ethics to decide what to do in any situation.

Decisions will include:

  • Marketing decision such as what markets to target, how best to position the business, how to communicate effectively and distribute in a digital world
  • Financial decisions such as how to raise finance, how to manage cash flow and how to increase profitability, operational decisions such as how to increase efficiency, how to improve quality and how to improve productivity, human resource decisions such as how to manage employees effectively, how to motivate and build employee engagement
  • Strategic decisions such as how to compete abroad, how to compete digitally, whether to act socially responsibly and how to manage growth

Students need to understand the theory, they need to know various studies and models and then they need to apply this knowledge to a particular situation.

Whom does this subject suit?

To do well on the course you need to be:

  • Flexible in your thinking. There is no set answer in Business: you need to weigh up a situation to make a decision.
  • Analytical, to identify the key issues in a situation.
  • Able to make supported judgements. Having an opinion is one thing but being able to put together a logical recommendation building on analysis is another.
  • Comfortable using numbers to support your arguments. The maths involved is not particularly demanding but clearly to make decisions you must be able to compare the likely returns with the investment, assess the value of different projects and interpret data to assess a situation
  • Able to appreciate that there are different perspectives to any decision. What might be good for investors may not be good for employees!

You may have some of these skills already but obviously we will hope to develop them during the course.

What might the subject lead to?

The A level provides a good ground in many subject areas and provides a breadth which enables students to go on to a range of degree courses including Marketing, Public Relations, Sociology and Law. Many of our students enjoy the subject so much they want to read it at university. Last year’s Business Studies students went on to a variety of courses including Business and Management at the universities of Aston, Cardiff, Exeter, Manchester and Nottingham. (Note however that you do not necessarily need Business A level to study Business at university)

Certain universities prefer students not to study A level Business and Economics (mainly Oxford, Cambridge, and Bristol) but students who have studied both have gone on to leading universities such as Exeter, London School of Economics and SOAS.