A Level Revision Secondary Secondary Business

Secondary Business – Revision for Unit 3

In order for students to do well on the AQA Unit 3 exam, they need to be able to apply their knowledge and theory from the course to the business that they are given in the exam case study. One of the challenges is actually getting them to USE the theory they know for the different cases.

I have asked my students to revise what they have learnt by using the following businesses:
•Apple
•Google

Here they are able to compare and contrast two similar, but in some ways very different, businesses.

Ask students to read the article that follows from ‘BusinessWeek.com’ and to watch the video clips attached.

When they have read this ask them to fill in the tables on the worksheets (available to download here) with as much information as they can, into the relevant boxes.

“On Jan. 5, Google (GOOG) did a very Apple-like thing. In a presentation at the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., the 11-year-old search behemoth unveiled Nexus One, a stylish touchscreen smartphone that runs on the company’s Android operating system, is sold through a Google-operated retail Web site, and greets the market with an advertising tagline (“Web meets phone”) as simple and optimistic as the one Apple used in 2007 to introduce its iPhone (“The Internet in your pocket”).

On the same day, Apple did a very Google-like thing. Steve Jobs, the king of splashy product launches and in-house development, announced a strategic acquisition. For $275 million, Apple purchased Quattro Wireless, an upstart advertising company that excels at targeting ads to mobile-phone users based on their behavior.

When companies start to imitate one another, it’s usually either an extreme case of flattery—or war. In the case of Google and Apple, it’s both.”


Note: Tim Cook is now the CEO of Apple.

See also:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7290322.stm – Google office, culture & headquarters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAdih-bnjBQ – Steve Jobs on Apple & Leadership

Once they have filled in as much as they can for the different functional areas from the information given, ask them to think about what ‘theory’ from the course they can apply to the businesses.

For example:
•Do the businesses use Ansoff’s Matrix for new product development?
•Do the businesses have a strategy of innovation?
•Did Steve Jobs use a Hard approach to HR? What will the new CEO bring?
•How does this differ with Google, where 20% of the employees time is given back for their own projects?

If you have time you could also allow students to do additonal research online – this would be especially useful for the AQA BUSS4 exam, which some students I know will be sitting in January.

Once they have completed this ask them to consider the following questions (you can think of your own as well!):
•To what extent do the two businesses differ?
•To what extent has differentiation been used by the two businesses?
•To what extent is innovation vital for Apple & Google?
•To what extent is the business’ choice of marketing strategy the key to success?

Remember to ask the students to include theory in their answers to support their arguments, this is vital for both the BUSS 3 & 4 exams.

In my experience asking students to talk about businesses they know, use and are familiar with will help them to link the theory much quicker!

Don’t forget to download the activity worksheet here.

Donna Jestin
Teacher of Business Studies Notre Dame College & Senior Examiner for AQA

Leave a Comment