Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

NewYork, New York - A Wonderful Town! Making the Most of the Big Apple as an A Level Trip

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

NewYork, New York - A Wonderful Town! Making the Most of the Big Apple as an A Level Trip

Article excerpt

Our recent visit was to New York, taking sixth form students who are studying Applied Business Studies and Economics but this visit would also be applicable to all Business and Economics syllabuses. For us the main focus for our Business group was the impact of external influences on a business, but it also provided invaluable opportunities to apply marketing, finance and HR topics in context. Brent (2003) emphasises the importance of pre and post visit reflection to engender deep learning. Before the trip we introduced students to the concept of PESTEL as a way a business can gather information about its external environment and anticipate the impact of different factors. This then gave students a framework through which to identify and reflect on their experiences in New York and how these could impact on individuals and businesses. After the trip, students were then able to use this analysis to understand business problems better in preparation for exams and coursework.

The Political aspect of a PESTEL is often the most difficult for the students to link to business practices and its impact. Our visit to New York coincided with the run-up to the recent presidential election. The discussion of the implications of Trump or Clinton as President on all TV channels, or around the city and in rallies meant the topic of political influence and change was around us all the time. The coverage of the implications of different parties if they were to be in power enabled students to see what party politics could mean to business and individuals. Trumps plans to remove health and welfare support, the knock on effects on businesses and individuals could easily be linked to the age of workers in shops, the homeless and individuals with ill health who were on the streets. This led to discussions of political influence and conflict both between teachers and students, and between the students themselves. The money spent on political campaigns and the process of government was also discussed leading to an understanding of how different countries have different election processes. We also discussed how this may influence decision making and business ethics within that country. An example of this was then discussed in more detail when back home with regards to the local firm, Rolls Royce and its recent fines for unethical and illegal practices in international markets.

Economic theory, graphs and formulae can often seem distant from the real world. New York offers the opportunity to link theory to practice and see the impact of the real economy on customers, employees and businesses. The obvious discussions about exchange rates and their implications for us as tourists then led to explanations of their impact on business. Some taxes, hidden in the UK, are added at the till in New York, and many students made the mistake of not adding the tax when calculating their spending. Chatting about sales taxes and its effects on business on a trip out of the hotel to get provisions, seemed so much easier than from the front of a classroom! On a tour of Macey's, students came across UK products sold at premium prices for their perceived quality. Interest rates and the fluctuations in investment opportunities worldwide were explained on our trip to a hedge fund management business. Both Students and staff now understand in far more detail how financial markets work and the concepts of 'selling long and short'. Employment discussions were triggered by homeless people and the obvious differentiation in eating establishments and shopping outlets as we moved around the city. 5th Avenue sales, entertainment and refreshments were very differently priced to those in Chinatown and other areas of the city we ventured into.

Social similarities and differences can easily be seen when visiting other countries. The social impact of trends and changes are very apparent and New York offered us a snapshot of American consumerism. The Macey's tour showed students the impact of research on all aspects of the marketing process. …

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