The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Business Studies

Head of Department: Miss K Reid

Why Study Business Studies?

Business Studies provides students with a unique insight into the world of work. Through its study, students discover how businesses operate and learn about their key elements and essential business functions. Business Studies offers an excellent foundation for those wishing to pursue careers in management, marketing, project management, business accounting, management consultancy, human resources, and business journalism as well as those interested in continuing on to further study.

What do we offer?

Business Studies is offered at both GCSE and A-Level (CCEA courses are followed).

What will I do if I select GCSE Business Studies?

Unit 1

Students examine why businesses start and the resources required to maintain and grow them. Students explore business aims and the impact that various stakeholder groups may have on businesses. Students explore marketing options and consider the impact of e-business on potential growth strategies. They also consider why businesses conform to quality assurance standards and health and safety legislation. The unit is divided into three sections: Creating a Business, Marketing and Business Operations.

Unit 2

In this unit, students examine recruitment and selection practices and analyse the importance of a business having motivated and well-trained employees. They identify the signs of business success and failure and evaluate the different ways in which businesses grow. Students learn about business finance. They examine the sources of finance and complete basic cash flow forecasts as well as interpret simple financial statements. When analysing business performance, students consider concepts such as ratio analysis and break-even. The unit is divided into three sections: Human Resources, Business Growth and Finance.

The subject is assessed through both written examinations and a controlled assessment.

  • Unit 1 is worth 40% of the overall marks. It lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and it is likely that this module will be taken in Year 11.
  • Unit 2 lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and it is taken in the summer of Year 12. It is worth 40% of overall marks.
  • The final 20% of the marks are awarded through a controlled assessment. It involves the completion of a research booklet and this research is then used to help complete a business report. It will be undertaken in Year 12.

A-Level Business Studies

The A-Level Business Studies course contributes to an understanding of business and enterprise and helps students develop many of the skills and attitudes required for employment. This course can give valuable preparation for any career, not just in business and finance. Students develop skills such as research, decision-making, problem-solving and evaluation of information. These skills will assist students in any career path that they choose to follow

The revised GCE course contains 4 units of study. In Year 13, pupils study -

AS 1Introduction to Business: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship; Central Purpose of Business Activity; Forms of Business Ownership; Stakeholder Groups; Markets and Market Forces; Quality Management; Productivity and Investment; Organisational Design; Investing in People; Motivation and Principles of Management and Leadership.

AS 2 – Growing the Business: Spectrum of Competition; Market Research; Marketing Mix; Product Lifecycle; Market Planning and Strategy; E-Business/E-Commerce; Sources of Finance; Break-even Analysis; Cash Flow; Budgeting; Financial Statements and Final Accounts.

In both of these units, students must answer two compulsory, structured questions based on stimulus material. Each examination lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and these will account for 40% of the overall A Level.

In Year 14, pupils will study -

A2 1Strategic Decision-Making: Business Objectives; Organisational Culture; Stakeholder Objectives; Communication; Economies and Diseconomies of Scale; Business Strategy and Planning; Decision Tree Analysis; Risk Management; Company Accounts; Ratio Analysis and Investment Appraisal.

Students must answer one compulsory, structured question based on stimulus material. The exam last for 2 hours and contains 90 marks.

A2 2 – The Competitive Business Environment: Macroeconomic Framework; Government Policies; Globalisation; Business Ethics and Organisational Structure; Sustainability; Corporate Social Responsibility; Stakeholder Group Influence; Organisational Design; Monopolies, Mergers, Takeovers and Restrictive Practices and Managing Change.

Students answer one compulsory data response question – this will be split into 6 parts and pupils will have 2 hours to complete it.

A2 1 & A2 2 account for 60% of the overall GCE A Level Business Studies


The Business Studies Department works with Young Enterprise – the Young Enterprise Company Programme offers Sixth Form students the opportunity to set up and run their own company.

Throughout the year numerous competitions and seminars give boys the chance to delve further into the world of business and what it means to be entrepreneurial.

Year 10 pupils enjoy “Project Business”, a one day course where they get an opportunity to set up a business, pitch for investment, negotiate with buyers and sellers and try to make a profit!

Year 13 The Young Enterprise Company Programme gives pupils a chance to set up and run their own business.

Useful Resources for Business Studies

As well as the websites listed below, television now brings to life many of the topics covered in Business Studies. Programmes such as The Apprentice, Dragon’s Den, The Hotel Inspector, Panorama and Undercover Boss all provide a great insight into the world of business.

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Tel: 028 90 240461
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