Business studies at GCSE, worth doing or choose something more academic?

(38 Posts)
NotMostPeople Tue 05-Feb-13 17:06:11

DD1 only gets two options, she knows she wants to do art, but isn't sure if she wants to do business studies or RS for the other. My initial reaction was to choose RS as it's more academic, but rather than dismissing it out of hand I thought perhaps I ought to do some research. Back in my day business studies was mostly about learning how to use carbon paper, so not really worth anything.

miggy Tue 05-Feb-13 17:09:21

I think its come on a bit smile but put it this way, my kids school is very up on what GCSEs universities like and they dont offer business studies but do offer RS if that helps!

Copthallresident Tue 05-Feb-13 17:16:54

Agree with miggy. RS good preparation for Philosophy A level and shows unis that they have had a chance to study other ways of thinking, ethics, and see both sides of an argument. Best preparation for business is actually managing things, you can't get a GCSE in common sense. The sort of Business Studies you benefit from studying comes at, at least, undergraduate level, if not postgraduate. And studying other subjects will almost certainly more effectively open the doors at both advanced levels.

WorriedTeenMum Tue 05-Feb-13 18:05:10

You say your DD only gets two options. If the 'givens' are mainstream academic then my advice would be for your DD to do what she wants to do. In a practical sense neither RS or BS are going to be particularly useful if she is already doing History/Geography as one of her 'givens'.

timidviper Tue 05-Feb-13 18:11:02

I have no experience of Business Studies as neither of mine took it (their school did tend to encourage the more academic children into other subjects, rightly or wrongly) but DD took RS and it is fantastically interesting. It's not the traditional stuff I did at school but really thought-provoking. It was so interesting I loved quizzing her on it and helping her revise!

Virgil Tue 05-Feb-13 18:13:47

Business studies would be helpful if she wanted to do economics though.

deleted203 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:19:30

Let her do whichever she wants. In my experience many pupils dislike RS and although they often find BS fairly dull they tend to get 'A's in it fairly easily. (Sits back and holds breath, waiting for lots of BS teachers to tell me indignantly how difficult it is as a subject)...

As an aside, Unis aren't generally very interested in what GCSEs candidates have, providing they have good grades and a reasonable breadth of subject. They only really look at A level results.

Greywacke Tue 05-Feb-13 18:21:55

If she wants to do Economics later she wouldn't need Business Studies, they are very different. A-level Economics assumes no prior knowledge as does degree level.

timidviper Tue 05-Feb-13 18:22:05

Virgil Although there is some overlap between Business Studies and Economics it is apparently not much and it gives no advantage at all in uni applications. In fact, because not all schools offer Economics A level, even that is not essential for an undergraduate degree. One of mine studied Economics at uni and went into what was and was not an advantage so, unless it has changed since then, I don't think it would really help.

Virgil Tue 05-Feb-13 18:25:19

Sorry I didn't mean helpful in terms of uni applications just helpful in that there is overlap with a level economics.

Coconutty Tue 05-Feb-13 18:25:31

DS really enjoyed RS, very interesting and thought provoking. He didnt put loads of work into it either and got an A*, as did quite a few of his year.

NotMostPeople Tue 05-Feb-13 21:40:57

I've had a chat with her and she says that she really enjoys RS and was only considering Business studies because she thought it might be useful. Her school is very academic and don't offer many light subjects which is why I thought there might more to business studies then back in my day. She'll be doing the E Bac as well as the two options subjects. I think RS is the way to go.

BackforGood Wed 06-Feb-13 00:16:40

My understanding is that they have to study some RE anyway, so, I've heard quite a few pupils say they might as well take the GCSE.
I've also been surprised how interesting so many youngsters find RE / RS. The whole philosophy and ethics stuff is not only interesting, but considered quite a rigorous and useful subject in lots of fields.... learning how to put your point across, persuade people, as well as considering things like medical ethics.

cricketballs Wed 06-Feb-13 00:35:02

Business teacher here so here is the flaming grin....

There is a huge preconception that business is a soft subject mainly mn however if you actually look at the spec there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The subject content has a huge range from ownership types, legal, finance, HR, motivation, basic economics, marketing amongst other things which gives students a insight into the world of work and a taste of the different aspects to a business which every working adult will face at some point in their careers.

The skills needed to achieve a high grade are on a par with the traditional academic subjects, for example there is a lot of analysis and evaluation skills needed; especially in the controlled assessment.

Business Studies enables students to understand the real world that is happening now; gives them an insight into what they will be facing (no matter what career path they follow) in the future; gives them a taste of several different aspects to a business and is one of the most popular subjects studied at degree level in either its pure business form or as an specialised aspect.

But my main defence of my subject is that this is basic common education that every young adult needs to make sense of the world we live in, to make sense of the decision that are made at work, to try and make sense of the decisions made by governments, to understand the implications of these decisions etc - in fact it should be compulsory wink

apologies for any rambling or incoherent sentences but been at pc working all night and can't get sleep

Madlizzy Wed 06-Feb-13 01:17:28

That gives me some comfort that one of my triplets wants to do business studies.

WMDinthekitchen Wed 06-Feb-13 01:46:05

Your DD might take to BS and want to study it at A or degree level. A large number of universities offer Business Studies or Business Management e.g. Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sussex, Kent, Cardiff, Exeter, York, Aberdeen etc

DD2 took BS at GCSE and A Level and also took RS at A level. She is now studying an academic subject at one of the above.

Narked Wed 06-Feb-13 01:51:52

RS every time.

Narked Wed 06-Feb-13 01:53:17

And you don't need it at GCSE or A Level to study it at Uni. Rather like Law, many Universities actively prefer you not to have studied it at a lower level.

Narked Wed 06-Feb-13 02:00:39

Scrap that blush. You don't need an A Level in it to do a degree in it but it isn't one they actively dislike and you don't need a GCSE in it either - just a B or better in maths at many Universities.

Narked Wed 06-Feb-13 02:03:22

This gives a lot of suggestions.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 07:43:59

You don't need a CGSE or an A level in BS to study business or management or economics or accounting or any allied subject at any university. You also don't need BS GCSE or A level to become any sort of accountant. Which says it all really. It's a completely useless subject. Sorry.

germyrabbit Wed 06-Feb-13 07:55:07

ds did a btec (horror) in business which enabled him to get into university to study business. it is a subject he absolutely loves though and wants to study and more importantly enjoys. hate they way business is shunned on mn.

cricketballs Wed 06-Feb-13 08:04:00

Of course you don't need BS for uni, just like a lot of other subjects, but read my post about the content and the skills and knowledge it gives students - education is not just about RG unis

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 08:38:21

Or, read my post about the fact that it is not regarded as a real subject by accountancy firms. And draw your own conclusions.

BIWI Wed 06-Feb-13 08:41:55

Oh, and just to add to the mix, some universities do look at GCSE results ...

Copthallresident Wed 06-Feb-13 08:48:41

I'm sorry, it isn't just on MN, it is also in the business world. A few graduate programmes now favour Business Studies degrees but most, and the best still want solid academic degrees from solid academic unis to demonstrate that you have developed your intellectual capabilities in studying challenging intellectual subjects, as well as of course having the personal qualities Once you are in a business and learning management skills then you will gain so much more from studying business skills through a postgraduate qualification.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 09:00:07

@BIWI many universities look at GCSE results. Many don't, but many do. None of them look favourably on BS AFAIA. They are either neutral (to be fair, the majority) or dislike it.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 09:07:21

Copthall The very top business degrees have always been well regarded. But none of them would be impressed by a BS GCSE.

BIWI Wed 06-Feb-13 11:18:12

Russians - I wasn't going to get into that debate!

NotMostPeople Wed 06-Feb-13 13:13:06

Thank you Cricketball that's great information, Dd's school is not one to offer 'useless' subjects (super selective grammar) it does sound like a great course. At this stage dd thinks she wants to do an art based degree, as a precautionary measure I think it's best that her second option is more academic so RS it is with BS as our backup option.

OneMoreMum Wed 06-Feb-13 13:15:00

You don't need any specific subjects to study accountancy, 2 A-levels I believe will get you onto most of the accountancy bodies training programmes I believe. Does that mean that all the other subjects are useless too?

OneMoreMum Wed 06-Feb-13 13:17:35

Sorry about the two 'believes' - not concentrating!

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 13:22:22

Onemoremum If we leave aside for a moment the fact that we are talking about GCSEs and not A levels, most of the other subjects are regarded as useful by someone. The so-called facilitating subjects are regarded as useful in and of themselves. Vocational subjects are regarded as vital to actually then follow the relevant degree (so, music, art. Possibly not drama). Business studies is one of the few subjects that I can think of (in common with law, economics (O level, not so much A level), accountancy) where nobody wants it or requires it not even the degrees or careers which it is supposed to lead on to. People are at best neutral. Many recruiters would be actively discouraged. Anyone looking for a career in business is far better advised to get solid academic GCSEs and A levels than to pursue business studies at those levels.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 13:25:20

Incidentally - I have taught (and continue to teach, and write) business related courses at post graduate level and I am involved in recruitment too some years. I'm not just making this up as I go along. smile

JenaiMorris Wed 06-Feb-13 13:43:59

If they're doing the best part of a dozen (or more!) GCSEs, does it matter if one or two aren't in traditional, MN-approved subjects?

That's not a rhetorical question btw.

OneMoreMum Wed 06-Feb-13 14:07:38

Russians I was just pointing out that the entry point is 2 A-levels in any subjects, I imagine you'll also need GCSE A- C maths and English too, but then you seem to need that for serving in McDonalds these days.

Jenai I love the idea of MN approved subjects, far more stringent than the Russell Group ones I think.

I absolutely think if you have a good core set of academic subjects then Business Studies would do you no harm, you may actually learn something that's useful to you in the real world...

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 06-Feb-13 14:11:52

If you're thinking of doing it purely to fill a timetable slot, then sure, why not. If you actively chose it because you think it will further a career in business or you want to do a business related degree or post graduate professional qualification then you are better advised to do something else. To be honest, the best thing would be a second mfl (and I personally hate, and am rubbish at, languages - but this doesn't change the truth of the matter which is that a well chosen mfl would be far better on paper and in practical terms for almost any career)

Copthallresident Wed 06-Feb-13 14:36:05

Russiansonthespree Good advice, DHs company actually screen out applicants for their graduate recruitment programme without two MFL at some level.

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