Economics & Business Studies

The fundamental ethos within the Department is to enthuse our young people with the pursuit of business knowledge and an understanding of the economy in which businesses operate. Economics studies the processes that govern the creation, distribution and consumption of wealth. The subject provides a fascinating insight into some of the most important forces that shape the modern world. It is an intellectually demanding subject that requires and develops a wide range of skills. It is a lively subject, full of debate, opinion and conjecture. The discipline is continuously evolving, making it an intriguing prospect for the intellectually curious. It is not surprising that the largest proportion of FTSE 100 corporate executives have degrees in Economics, followed by Business.

Business is complementary to the study of economics but focuses on the functional processes of a business: accounting and finance, human resource management, marketing and operations management. The business environment and corporate strategy are studied in detail. There is an emphasis on case studies exploring how businesses deal with management problems in the real world. Marlborough pioneered the teaching of Business Studies in the late 1960s, and that innovative approach has witnessed the growth of the subject to one of the most popular A levels nationally.

The modern business world is a vibrant and dynamic place and the solutions to humanity’s problems lie in the creation and distribution of the solutions our businesses find. To instil a passion for entrepreneurship early in our pupils, we now offer an off-curriculum programme to Lower School pupils which has the potential to lead to the kidsMBA award.

The Department delivers the Pearson Edexcel Advanced GCE in Economics A and A level in Business. The Economics course aims to cultivate a deep interest and enthusiasm in the subject and an appreciation of economics in relation to the wider social landscape. We introduce a range of concepts and teach pupils how to apply them in different contexts, developing their own enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach and the ability to think as an economist. It is important that pupils understand that economic behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives and we encourage challenging debate. Pupils will rapidly acquire analytical and quantitative skills, together with qualities and attitudes that will equip them for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult and working life. The GCE in Economics covers an introduction to markets and market failure, the UK economy (performance and policies), business behaviour and the labour market, and a global perspective.

The A level in Business develops a critical understanding of organisations and their ability to meet society’s needs and wants as well as knowledge of business behaviour from a range of perspectives. Pupils will learn to generate enterprising and creative approaches to business opportunities, problems and issues and develop an awareness of the ethical dilemmas and responsibilities faced by organisations and individuals. Alongside a range of relevant business skills, including decision making and problem solving, pupils will learn to challenge assumptions and execute critical analysis as well as applying numerical skills in a range of business contexts. The course modules include leadership and decision making (in terms of improving performance in marketing, operations, finance and human resource), analysing the strategic position of a business, choosing strategic direction, pursuing strategies and managing strategic change.

Alongside academic studies, the Department offers a healthy programme of enrichment activities throughout the year. Economists can participate in a number of nationally run competitions to deepen subject understanding, such as the Royal Economic Society essay competition. We travel to London to attend events hosted by Old Marlburian entrepreneurs at least once per term. These are popular with pupils because of the networking opportunities created.

Visiting speakers are invited in the Michaelmas and Lent Terms offering an equal balance of topics between Economics and Business. We have previously welcomed Jo Bertram, former North European General Manager of Uber; Charles Rolls, founder of Fever-Tree; Charlie Vaughan-Lee, CEO of Student Cribbs and a successful entrepreneur; and Lucy Cotterell, Vice President of Mars UK.

Pupils have the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of share trading without the possibility of losing real money. They take part in a department-run Investment Challenge (in the style of a private client investment relationship) where they make decisions on when and what to buy and sell.

The Economics & Business Society (EBS) is an opportunity for pupils and visiting speakers to host voluntary meetings and present matters beyond the curriculum. Current topics are explored and debated. Generally, this activity is scheduled on Tuesday evenings twice per term. Activities also include learning games or debate where the pupils take the lead in organising informal discussion groups. EBS is an excellent opportunity for pupils to develop leadership skills. A President and Vice President are appointed following a formal interview process.