Don’t make the mistake of thinking Business Management is a soft topic and doesn’t require much work.
Like every IB subject, it requires hard work throughout the course to reach 6s and 7s in your final mark.
Saying that a 7 should not be beyond your reach if you focus. Particularly in IB1 year. So that you make sure you are on top of each subject you study before you move on to the next one.
In this article, we have published top tips from our team of experienced IB Business Management Teachers and Examiners.
And if after reading our article you decide you need help reaching for a 7 our tutor team are just one click away.
What is the IB Business Management Course?
The IB Business Management course is one of the most popular IB Diploma subject choices. It is easy to see why, when it gives students a broad understanding of business in general whether large corporations, small businesses, or social enterprises.
Students develop strong communication skills, critical thinking, and an understanding of business ethics.
Most importantly they get to learn about the fundamentals of business covering; Human Resources, Finance and Accounting, Operations, and Marketing. All helping students prepare themself for the global workplace.
Learn exam techniques to ensure you get top marks for each question
Be familiar with the structure and demands of each paper, so that you know what to expect and so that you are well prepared. Because this will mean nothing will throw you and on the day you will know exactly what to expect.
Practise, practise, practise with past papers. So that you will get used to maximising your marks for each type of question.
Ideally, work with a friend to mark each other’s answers according to the mark scheme. This will help you understand what it takes to get the top marks in each part of the IB BUsienss Management exam.
What do I need to know about the final IB Business Management exams?
Paper 1 is an unseen case study. Both HL and SL students need to demonstrate their knowledge of the business topics that they have learned.
In case the topic the IB chooses for the paper is outside the scope of the syllabus, each year the IB will release the context for the case study. However, if it is outside the syllabus, the intention is that it will build on the topics covered in the course.
Remember, before the exam, the exam board (the IBO) will give you both the context and background to the case study. Usually, this is done 3 months ahead of the exam date.
Make sure you are familiar with the industry selected before the exam. Then you can consider the sources you will select and how you can make the interesting enough that your analysis will stand out for the examiner.
The reason for this is to be able to focus on contemporary topics. This will mean students get to see the first small part of the case study (around 200 words).
Paper 2 is different for HL and SL students. However, both levels sit a paper assessing analytical skills, where students evaluate unseen stimuli. It is just that HL students have to go into greater depth.
In fact, both levels follow similar structures. In both cases, there is a strong focus on quantitative decision-making.
As you can see there are differences in the external assessment for HL and SL students. The stimulus material
This is largely the content of the assessments and the allocation of the weighting of different parts of the exam. SL students receive 35% of their marks for both paper 1 and paper 2. Whereas, HL students receive 25% for paper 1 and 35% for paper 2.
Paper 3 is for HL students only, and accounts for 25% of their overall marks. And it looks at the organisational needs faced by a Social Entrepreneur.
Know your command terms to maximise marks!
We tell students again and again this is one of the most important ways to unlock top results in your IB Business Management.
Not only do you need to understand the meaning of each command term. So this means you also need to know the depth of treatment required for each exam term.
If you can do this you can quickly give the examiner what they are looking for, and this is how you will access the higher marks.
Here are just a few from the IB organisation, so you can test yourself now and see if you know them well enough.
Determine – Obtain the only possible answer.
Identify – Provide an answer from a number of possibilities.
To what extent – Consider the merits or otherwise of an argument or concept. Opinions and conclusions should be presented clearly and supported with appropriate evidence and sound argument.
Annotate – Add brief notes to a diagram or graph.
Recommend – Present an advisable course of action with appropriate supporting evidence/reason in relation to a given situation, problem or issue.
Comment – Give a judgment based on a given statement or result of a calculation.
Examine – Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue.
If all of the above was totally clear then good job, if not get cracking on learning these terms.
Mistakes with these words will certainly knock marks off every question if you do not fully understand what the examiner is wanting to see in your answer.
Select an industry you are interested in and read, read, read.
This is one of the most important tips for any Business management IB student, as it will give you much-needed materials to use in your exams.
Choose a sector you have a passionate interest in and set up a news alert so you can read the up-to-date news during your course.
So, if you are a petrol head you might want to choose the car manufacturing industry. While, beauty product addicts may want to follow Estée Lauder, L’Oreal, Coty, and smaller beauty companies.
You can even watch TV programmes like Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank as an entertaining way of keeping in touch with how new businesses develop.
In this way, you can stay up to date on the sector, and you can keep in mind how you would link developments to the 4 interdisciplinary concepts of the course (creativity, ethics, sustainability, and change).
Save time in the exam and know your formula booklet
By giving yourself more time to answer questions in the exam you have a higher chance of accessing the top marks. And one way you can do this is to make sure you know the formula booklet inside out.
You might ask why this makes a difference.
Well, that is a good question, let me explain.
First, you don’t need to worry about learning by heart formulas that are given to you in the booklet.
Second, you will save time by knowing where to find each formula so you can access it quickly when you need it. Also, you can do a quick double check you have used each one correctly to avoid silly errors dragging your mark down.
Don’t waste time in the exam spending ages searching through it!
Do a great Internal Assessment
As the IA contributes so much to your final grade (% differs for SL and HL) it is essential to get as many marks as possible to increase your chance of a 7 overall in the subject.
We have a whole post on how you can get top marks here.
Use the IB Business Management Toolkit smartly.
These are a set of tools used in business that you will learn during your course. And there is a list of tools for SL and HL, then additional tools that are taught for the HL course only.
If you want to get a top grade make sure you understand these tools conceptually and also how to use them in practice.
You will learn about each tool as you go through the course.
For example, you might study SWOT analysis while analysing the marketing mix of a particular business.
If you are struggling with one of the tools you encounter on the course it is essential you get help as you will find you need to use this toolkit in your IA. Plus, your extended essay if you have chosen to do it in this subject.
Is IB Business Management a good course choice for CP students?
BM can be a great choice for Career-related Programme (CP) students, as these students can combine their choice with Economics. (CP students have the freedom to choose multiple subjects from the same group).
The course gives participants an in-depth view of business. Which is very useful for those wanting to pursue vocational study. Notwithstanding your choice of career, an overall understanding of business is an advantage.
It has a practical nature to the course, largely due to the use of case studies.
Students of the CP, can choose to study Business Management at SL or Higher Level. In addition, some schools may have mixed classes of DP and CP students.
An important word of warning!
Make sure you don’t use outdated resources. Many websites are focused on the old curriculum (2016 first examination). Because the course has changed so much, it could lead you down the wrong path. This may waste your time and lead to potential dropped marks if you are using the wrong material for your revision or coursework.
Schools are teaching the new course this year (2022) and will be examined for the first time in 2024. The IB organisation has re-vamped the programme significantly.
The updated course is now more focused on ethical and responsible business and social enterprise. So talk to your teacher in case you have any doubts about whether the material you are using is current.
At the same time, the IBO has placed a new emphasis on sustainability. But they have also placed renewed focus on Ethics, Change, and Creativity while re-working this popular course.
Beware of internet resources as many have not been updated since the big course update done by the IB in 2022.
Should I think about doing my Extended Essay in IB Business Management?
The short answer is yes, absolutely.
Doing an IB Business Management Extended Essay offers students the chance for in-depth study in any of the topic areas of the course. As the EE is based on independent research there is a lot of scope for creativity. This could mean Marketing, Human Resources, Finance etc.
You have the freedom to integrate primary sources into this work, but it is not a mandatory requirement. So, if you only have access to secondary sources don’t let that hold you back, you will not be marked done for this.
Clearly, the EE is not an extension of the IA, so it is important you identify your research question carefully, and make sure it is distinct from your IA.
More detail on the new syllabus
For anyone who wants a deep dive into the changes in the new syllabus, you can look at this article from the IBO. Here is the short course description, also from the IB. It is a quick glance at what the course entails.
TutorsPlus provides expert Business Management tutors to help international students prepare, get ahead or catch up. If you need help from one of our experienced IB Business management teachers and Examiners, we are just a click away.
Our tutors know the IB inside-out and truly work magic to draw out each student’s ability to self-direct their learning. You can reach TutorsPlus at 022 731 8148 or email@example.com.
By Sara Lloyd
Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for 15 years and is an expert on international IB education. She is also a parent of two lively children.