IB Business Management – What Its All About

Dear sophomores,

We’ve done it! We’ve had IB seminars, talks with our world studies teachers, our parents, our counsellors, and when the day finally came, we entered in the courses we wanted and sealed our fate for the next two years ahead of us.

It goes without saying, however, that most of us are still nervous. What can one expect in HL psychology? Or SL business? What are the teaching styles, the work load, the differences between HL and SL courses?

Business management is one of the courses that many ISB students have picked to pursue in IB. Here’s what you can expect. In this article, Matthew Kelly, one of the business Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 10.03.04 AMmanagement teachers, as well as Um Chavalitumrong, an HL Business Management student, were asked their thoughts on the course.

Both Mr Kelly and Um stated that the best part of the business management course was its relevance, and how well it related to their real, everyday lives. Um states that “the things that we learn in class are so relevant to what occurs in real life that we often disregard. This course has taught me to look into the mechanics of a business and understand that everything in a business is done for a very specific purpose.”

However, the course is not an easy one, with many difficult components, such as the IA. “It is a long project, which might last nine months, so it’s a continual project where you talk to a business in higher level and try to solve one of their problems, so that can be hard.” Mr Kelly states.

Mr Kelly also says that this is where the main difference between SL and HL business come in. “For SL,” he states, “students just have to do secondary research, but for HL, students need to do primary research, so they have to make contact and do interviews, surveys, questionnaires, which is a big difference.”

Um states that the IA was the hardest part of the course for her, saying, “I had a difficult time trying to integrate the theories that we learned to a real world business since I had never done it before. But I feel that the whole IA process of directly communicating and conducting research for a real business really helped develop my skills.”

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Other than the IA, the difference between HL and SL does not come in terms of difficulty, but in terms of content. “There is a bit more content to learn, so you learn more in business. I do not think it is harder, I do not think it gets crazy more difficult, just more to learn.”

And all business students, both HL and SL, can expect to be challenged with lots of new language and vocabulary. “Some people say it is like learning a new language, you have got lots of key vocab,” states Mr Kelly.

What can students go into business management expect? Um states that “We study the business organisation and environment, human resource management, finance, marketing, and operations management,” and the ways in which students will learn these different topics will always be new. “There is never too much of one thing,” Mr Kelly says,”I think it’s good to keep it fresh, so there will be case studies, videos, research, some old-fashioned lectures, some teamwork, so there will always be a combination of activities.”

Students going into business management can expect to leave the class with a better and broader understanding of the world and the mechanics of how things around them work. “I enjoy seeing students understanding the world,” Mr Kelly says, “They make connections with, perhaps, their family business or the newspapers, and they are able to see the relevance of what we do in class in real life. It is really cool to see students make that connection.”

Darin Sumetanon

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