Business

Monmouth School for Girls business course

As the name suggests, the course studies how businesses function and looks at the work that various departments, such as marketing, finance, human resources, and production carry out.  The course also looks at how outside activities affect businesses, and in turn, how businesses react to these; for example, the effect of changes in government policy, competition and demand, and also ethical issues – such as ‘green trading’.   In addition, the A level draws together the business functions and the external environment to study the objectives and strategies that businesses adopt.

You will learn about the important decisions that businesses face in modern, competitive, and often global, environments.  Topics such as:

  • ‘How businesses advertise and price their goods’
  • ‘The production method that best suits the product’
  • ‘Why a call centre may relocate to China’
  • ‘Marketing strategies a company should use’
  • ‘Why firms might merge’
  • ‘The characteristics of a good manager’
  • ‘How a firm’s final accounts are compiled’
  • ‘How a firm could increase its cash flow’

Although the course is very broad it does not teach you how to run your own business or to become the next Richard Branson!  However, it will equip you with the knowledge to appreciate how modern, successful companies operate.

Why study Business?

The subject content enables learners to investigate different types and sizes of organisations in various business sectors and environments, drawing on local, national and global contexts, including data which relates to the Welsh business environment. Learners will develop a holistic understanding of business and enterprise and be aware of the opportunities and threats of operating in a global marketplace. Learners will also be expected to be familiar with current issues in business and be able to investigate, analyse and evaluate contemporary business opportunities and problems in a wide range of contexts, whilst recognising how businesses adapt to operate in a dynamic business environment.

They will gain an understanding of the important role played by small businesses in the economy of Wales and the rest of the UK. In addition, learners will identify the opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs, as well as the importance of established business and not-for-profit organisations in providing goods and services. As well as broadening knowledge and understanding, learners will be required to apply a number of analytical techniques, including decision-making models, investment appraisal tools and ratio analysis, to investigate business opportunities and problems to determine business strategy in a range of contexts.

There is also a numeracy element in which learners will be expected to use a range of numerical skills and make justifiable decisions using both quantitative and qualitative methods and applying them in a business context.

Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls currently follow a different specification.

Head of Department: Ms M Attrill

Course content

Board: Eduqas  A level syllabus code: A510QS

Business planning Market research Business structure
Marketing Finance People in organisations (human resources)
Operations management Sales forecasting Analysing financial performance
Strategy and implementation Decision-making models Risk management
International trade Globalisation The European Union

Method of assessment

Assessment in Business is structured through four main types of questions:

  • Structured Short Answer Questions
  • Data Response Questions
  • Case Studies
  • Essay Questions

A comparison of Economics and Business studies

Economics is a social science that attempts to explain how the actions and decisions of firms, consumers and workers and governments affect the operation of the economy.  It plays a huge role in our daily lives; it has links to international affairs and politics and is a subject that is often debated and discussed.  It requires a fair deal of analysis and includes topics such as supply and demand, growth, inflation, globalisation and exchange rates.

Business studies are more concerned with the actions and decisions taken by firms and focuses on topics such as marketing, staff in the organisation, accounting and finance, management, strategy and production methods.   Business students will also have to cover some Economics, as it affects how businesses operate in their external environments.

Although Business is not free from theory, it is less theoretical than Economics.  Out of the two subjects Economics is considered to be the more academic by employers and universities.  Business requires less understanding than Economics, but it by no means an easy subject; instead it involves more learning and therefore has more work to cover, and a great deal of new terminology to grapple with. Therefore you might say that Economics course has more depth, with the Business course having more breadth. 

You do not need to be great at maths for either of these courses.  However, for Economics, being comfortable with numbers is desirable due to the need to study graphs and economic data; the Business course actually requires a greater use of numbers – through the Accounting and Finance module – and therefore being comfortable with numbers is essential.  Given the nature of the topics covered, a degree in Economics or Business can take you into almost any occupation.  According to a recent survey, although Business is the most popular degree course in the UK, Economics students are the second highest paid graduates in the country!