Course title Advanced GCE in Business

Examination board Edexcel

Subject codes A Level Award 9BS0


Businesses play a significant and far reaching role in shaping the way we live as consumers, citizens, entrepreneurs and employees. They also shape the relationships we in the UK have with other nations all over the globe both politically and economically. To understand, analyse and evaluate how businesses make their decisions and how they affect the lives of billions of people all over the world is to have a more meaningful appreciation of the world in which we live and work. From the smallest start-up enterprise to the largest multinational corporations, each and every decision made by owners and managers is examined carefully and critically. Students studying A Level Business are required to make judgements about those decisions using specialist business knowledge and skills. If you have an interest in these sorts of issues then Business will be an interesting and challenging option for you.

 Course content (summary)

The Advanced GCE in Business is structured into four themes and consists of three externally examined examination papers.

Students are introduced to business in Themes 1 and 2 through building knowledge of core business concepts and applying them to various business contexts to develop a broad understanding of how businesses work. Breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, with applications to a wider range of contexts and more complex business information, are developed in Themes 3 and 4, requiring students to take a more strategic view of business opportunities and issues. Students are encouraged to use an enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach to the study of business, to understand that business behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives and to challenge assumptions.

Theme 1: Marketing and people

Students will develop an understanding of:

  • Meeting customer needs
  • The market
  • Marketing mix and strategy
  • Managing people
  • Entrepreneurs and leaders

Theme 2: Managing business activities

Students will develop an understanding of:

  • Raising finance
  • Financial planning
  • Managing finance
  • Resource management
  • External influences

Theme 3: Business decisions and strategy

This theme develops the concepts introduced in Theme 2. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • Business objectives and strategy
  • Business growth
  • Decision-making techniques
  • Influences on business decisions
  • Assessing competitiveness
  • Managing change

Theme 4: Global business

This theme develops the concepts introduced in Theme 1. Students will develop an understanding of:

  • Globalisation
  • Global markets and business expansion
  • Global marketing
  • Global industries and companies (multinational corporations)


Paper 1: Marketing, people and global businesses

Written examination – 35% of the qualification

Paper 2: Business activities, decisions and strategy

Written examination – 35% of the qualification

Paper 3: Investigating business in a competitive environment

Written examination – 30% of the qualification

Future progression

Business Studies is offered at most leading universities. They will require a minimum of AAA or AAB for access to most degrees, usually with at least one other facilitating subject. Each university will have very specific entry requirements and it is worth checking these before choices are made. Business Studies can be combined in joint honours degrees with a very wide range of other subjects including Economics, Politics, Languages, Law, the Sciences and Humanities subjects.

The BA (Economics and Social Studies) degree programme has an excellent reputation for giving students the transferable and specific skills they need to move on from their undergraduate studies with 80% of Business Studies graduates at the University of Manchester in employment or further study within 6 months of graduation and 64% of those Business Studies graduates employed in graduate level jobs (Source: Manchester University; Unistats)

To succeed in Business

You will:

  • Have a genuine interest in UK and global business operations
  • Be willing to read extensively around the subject from a variety of sources
  • Have a genuine desire to understand businesses and how they shape our own lives
  • Be comfortable with all aspects of the assessment. They require data analysis, numeracy, extended writing and the willingness to work hard to master complex business language and concepts.

Students do not need a GCSE Business Studies qualification to join this course.