Business Studies

Queen Anne's School offers GCSE (Edexcel) and A Level Business Studies.

GCSE Business Studies

Business is a fascinating subject which teaches you about how businesses are set up and managed within the constraints of external factors which can affect business activity. If you have ever wondered about how businesses successfully manage their marketing, operational, financial and human resources, then this may be the subject for you!

Checklist of skills you will develop by studying Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Business:

  • Communicating and explaining your ideas
  • Thinking creatively and making decisions
  • Working with numbers to solve business problems
  • Learning about the world of business through real and relevant local and international brands

What will I learn?

Theme 1 concentrates on the key business concepts, issues and skills involved in starting and running a small business. It gets students to explore concepts through the lens of an entrepreneur setting up a business.

Theme 1 topics: Investigating small business 1.1 Enterprise and entrepreneurship 1.2 Spotting a business opportunity 1.3 Putting a business idea into practice 1.4 Making the business effective 1.5 Understanding external influences on business

Theme 2 explores how a business develops beyond the start-up phase. It looks at how a business grows with a focus on aspects of marketing, operations, finance and human resources.

Theme 2 topics: Building a business 2.1 Growing the business 2.2 Making marketing decisions 2.3 Making product decisions 2.4 Making financial decisions 2.5 Making human resource decisions

How will I be assessed?

The qualification will be assessed in two equally weighted exam papers. There is no coursework.

  • Paper 1 will test topics from Theme 1
  • Paper 2 will test topics from Theme 2

Both exam papers are worth 90 marks with a duration of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The questions will be a mixture of multiple choice, calculation, short answer and extended writing questions.

What can I do after I’ve completed the course?

After this qualification you’ll understand the world of business and have developed skills in:

  • Making decisions and developing persuasive arguments
  • Creative and practical problem solving
  • Understanding and interpreting data and case studies

It’s also a great step preparing you for higher education such as A levels. A GCSE Business course could help prepare you for an entrepreneurial role and help you to gain an understanding of business-related professions such as accountancy, law, marketing or the leisure and tourism industry.

A Level Business Studies

Business plays a crucial role in our economy and society, providing us with wealth and affecting our quality of life. Innovation and the efficient management of resources, such as people and finance, are crucial for business success. This course explores the many factors and challenges facing commercial organisations and examines them in the context of real life business scenarios.

Students study leadership and management and in particular, how businesses develop strategies in relation to functional areas such as finance, operations, human resources and marketing.

Students will study leadership and management and in particular, how businesses develop strategies in relation to functional areas such as finance, operations, human resources and marketing. You will also learn to appreciate how important it is for businesses to analyse performance and to appreciate the wider external environment when drawing up future strategies. Business Studies is in many ways complementary to the study of economics, but tends to focus on the more detailed processes of what actual businesses do. The business environment, including the economy, is studied in detail. The skills required for success are very similar to those required in economics.


Our aim is to develop a spirit of enquiry that gives students the capacity to make critical judgments, as well as develop analytical and evaluative skills. We aim to develop a lifelong enthusiasm for the subject and for students to have high expectations of themselves. Through in-depth debating of current issues, case studies and visits, we aim to challenge and encourage our students to be strong and confident analytical thinkers.


The AQA specification is a two year course, divided into ten broad topic areas:

Year One

  • Unit 1 - What is business?
  • Unit 2 - Managers, leadership and decision-making
  • Unit 3 - Decision making to improve marketing performance
  • Unit 4 - Decision making to improve operational performance
  • Unit 5 - Decision making to improve financial performance
  • Unit 6 - Decision making to improve human resource performance

Year Two

  • Unit 7 - Analysing the strategic position of a business
  • Unit 8 - Choosing strategic direction
  • Unit 9 - Strategic methods: how to pursue strategies
  • Unit 10 - Managing strategic change


There are three 2 hour examination papers that include multiple choice, short answer questions, data response, case study and essay questions. All three papers will draw on material from the whole course and each paper can test any of the topics learnt throughout the two year course.

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Extra-Curricular Activities

Students have the opportunity to visit a factory to bring theory into life. Previous trips have gone to the Brompton factory to see the production techniques used to manufacture Brompton bicycles.

L6 students also have the opportunity to participate in Tycoon 2k by setting up their own enterprises to trade in the Lent term or participate in an internal 'Tenner Challenge' throughout the academic year.

There is also an opportunity to collaborate with other schools in enterprise activities to build leadership and mentoring skills.

Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices

Popular progression routes at university include: Accountancy, Business Administration, Business Economics, Business Management, Finance, International Business or joint courses with languages. Alternatively, students may consider direct entry into employment e.g. general business and administrative roles or higher-level apprenticeships or sponsored degree programmes. Many employers list the skills developed in Business Studies as essential; such as commercial awareness, communication, analytical and evaluative skills.

Academic Stretch

Reading list:

  • The Business Review
  • Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built (Duncan Clark) – The rise of the Chinese corporate giant
  • The Box - How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, (Levinson)
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Brad Stone) – a great page turner
  • The Upstarts: How Uber and Airbnb are changing the world (Brad Stone) Follow up to his work on Amazon
  • How I Made It: 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal How They Made Millions - Rachel Bridge An essential read for anyone that is thinking about starting their own business. Successful Entrepreneurs are interviewed about how the spotted a gap in a market, and developed a USP
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell A very readable and fascinating book, which looks into the reasons products become market leaders.
  • The Google Story - David A. Vise An interesting investigation into the culture at Google, includes insights into the four day working week and soft management styles. The questions is; are these the things that made Google the world’s number one search engine?
  • The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer - Jeffrey Liker Covers Japanese Management Techniques such as Kaizen and TQM.
  • Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours - Tarun Khanna An investigation into Asia’s two growing economic powers.
  • Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur - Sir Richard Branson The autobiography of Britain’s most famous entrepreneur.
  • Sun Tzu - The Art of War for Managers: 50 Strategic Rules Updated for Today's Business - Gerald A. Michaelson Applying the ancient Chinese rules of battle to modern day business.
  • The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham The classic book on stock market investment, as recommended by Warren Buffet.
  • No Logo - Naomi Klein Klein investigates the negative side to marketing and globalisation.
  • House of Cards: How Wall Street's Gamblers Broke Capitalism - William D Cohan Explains the reason behind the continuing global financial crisis, which started in September 2008.

Additional reading list:

  • The art of gathering - Priya Parker

  • Wilful Blindness: Why we ignore the obvious - Margaret Heffernan

  • Nine lies about work: A freethinking leader's guide to the real world - Marcus Buckingham

Listening - podcasts:


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