Just a few minutes a day watching, reading or listening to the business news can significantly improve your grades. Here we explain how and why and where to find the most interesting business stories that will propel you to A* success in Cambridge Business Exams.
Cambridge International Examination Business qualifications have the following syllabus aims:
the capacity to analyse characteristics and activities of business organisations and how they respond to the changing demands of their environments
- an understanding of how effective managers and leaders develop successful organisations in terms of customer focus and the products/services they offer
- the opportunity to reflect on how successful business organisations engage in financial and accounting practices to maximise value for stakeholders value
- development of knowledge that relates to strategic planning and decision-making to ensure business survival, change, and sustainable success
Sounds complicated, but to put it more concisely – it is about looking at how businesses work successfully and being able to explain why. Furthermore, particularly in A-level Business Studies it’s about problem-solving in different fictional case studies. In other words – putting yourself “in the shoes of” the business owner or manager in the case study and choosing the best way forward for the business.
Learning the key content on the syllabus is essential for understanding the mechanics of business. But to understand how these concepts and processes work in reality we need to look at real world scenarios. Luckily for us as Business students – they are all around us! We just need to focus our attention in the right place.
Where to find the Business News
It could be as easy as clicking on the business section of a news website you regularly use, turning to the business section of the newspaper, or flicking to a business channel if you are watching TV.
National newspapers can give wonderful insight that you may not find elsewhere and let you know what is going on with business in your country. Remember, Cambridge prides itself on providing an truly international qualification – so business news from your country should be just as relevant as any other.
However, to make sure you are aware of global trends, it can be useful to particularly focus on international business stories.
The Economist (don’t be fooled by the name it covers Business, finance, and global politics too) has an excellent business section and is well worth following on Instagram.
Bloomberg and Businessweek are two excellent sources of business news which a US perspective on business.
You can also follow my Instagram: @cambridgebusinessessentials – where I link some of the most interesting business stories to what we are learning in A-level business. Be careful with Instagram though – there a lot of get rich quick Instagrammers out there trying to sell their sure fire way to make you a millionaire. The quotes may be inspirational and the posts entertaining, but they lack any of the analysis or insight that it takes to succeed in business – or do well in Business exams for that matter.
The most convenient way for me is to stay up to date with business news is to listen to podcasts. The great thing about podcasts is you can be learning while doing other stuff while listening and learning – driving to school, doing exercise, cleaning your room – as long as you can multitask a little, you can maximise your productivity and make boring tasks more interesting.
I regularly listen to the BBC Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service. How I Built This from NPR – has unparalleled access to billionaire unicorn entrepreneurs – so you can hear the story of Dyson, Airbnb, and Instagram, from the people who made their wildest business dreams come true.
Ok, so it’s not the most up to date business news, but watching movies based on successful business or the struggle of entrepreneurs to become successful can be hugely beneficial. I would recommend writing down some notes – so you can remember what you learned, and it always helps to discuss with a friend to put the concepts in context.
“The Founder” tells the story of Mc Donalds entrepreneur Ray Croc. You can find a summary of the key lessons for business students here.
“A Social Network” follows Mark Zuckerberg from getting dumped from his girlfriend at Harvard to becoming the global leader in social media
“Steve Jobs” tells the story of the rise of Steve Jobs and his tumultuous relationship with Apple – he was essentially booted out of the company before returning to rescue Apple by introducing the Ipod an Iphone
“The Big Short”, “Enron” and the “Corporation” tells the story of what can go wrong when companies lose their moral compass and behave unethically.
These are just some suggestions of where I get my business news or podcast or movies which have impacted me, but I want to hear from you!
Where do you go for business news, what movies or podcasts have inspired you in your studies or made you want to become an entrepreneur too.
How long should I spend reading the business news?
Even 15 minutes a day can really boost your grades. It’s all about putting the theory into action from what you see and hear around you.