Business Studies: Revision Conference and Visit to Asos Headquarters

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On Tuesday 23 April Bede's A Level Business Studies students attended a Business Studies Revision Conference and visited the headquarters of Asos in London. In this article Kaz Johnson-Salami, Bede's Deputy Head of School, gives his account of the day.

The day began with the Revision Conference at the Westfield Centre in Stratford. The conference was led by Tutor2U, an e-learning firm with a unique business model. The conference encompassed the final A Level Unit, BUSS4, and was invaluable in preparing us for our exams this summer.

The unit is about managing change within business, which requires students to be up to date with developments in the global business world.

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At Bede's we look at emerging markets, the culture within businesses and takeovers and mergers. There's a lot more to it, but that's an idea!

My particular interest is in the technology industry, which means I have to keep up to date with news coming out of companies like Samsung, Apple and Sony. I love the research and learning - this is the hardest unit, but it's also the most interesting.

The Revision Conference covered all the bases in terms of theory and exam technique, so was very valuable. As we were there with other schools it was also very interesting getting input from other students with fresh views from our own.

After the Conference we journeyed to the Asos headquarters in Camden. They are the UK's largest online retailer and it was extremely interesting seeing what goes on inside their business.

Asos has a very open and creative culture. The CEO works in the same office space as junior members of staff, which means that the companies' management philosophy and processes cannot be authoritarian.

We saw where ideas for new designed were generated, particularly in the online fashion market. The main thing which stood out was the rewarding culture, a sense of hard work being recognised. The net result of this, in practise, was that people within the company were clearly encouraged to innovate.

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I came away from Asos thinking, just over a decade ago the company launched with their first product being a pestle and mortar. Today they are competing with other leading retailers such as Top Shop and New Look. That made me reflect on the risk-taking nature of entrepreneurs; they are willing to take risks and enter new markets full of vested interests.

Not having physical stores has meant Asos being differentiated from key competitors at every step, and keeping that market position is extremely challenging.

Overall, the day was very productive and we learned a lot. The experience at Asos gave us insights which we can apply to our work, and the Revision Conference gave us a great understanding of what is expected of us - particularly if we are going to excel.

Kaz Johnson-Salami

Deputy Head of School