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Interview: AbdelHalim Ahmed – Business Studies teacher

Our Jr Counsellor Farida Khaled AbdelAziz did an amazing interview with the youngest however most remarkable Business studies IGCSE and ALevel teacher, Mr AbdelHalim Ahmed, who just graduated from the American University in Cairo majoring in business.

Mr AbdelHalim is an IG graduate who was a high achiever in AS-Level Business Studies in his senior year. Through this interview we tried to cover as much questions covered by IGCSE students as possible. 

Q:What schools are you currently teaching in?

Al Bashaer International School and Roots International School

Q:What do you think of the opinion that claims business studies is based on memorization?

I believe that this is a stereotype; in fact, the syllabus of business is mainly based on common sense as it discusses real life business concepts and problems. It just requires specific terminology that you get used to by time to make the structure more academic and professional.

Q:What qualifications must a student possess before they study business?

Regarding business IGCSE, a student isn’t expected to have any specific skills especially that by practice they’ll get used to the exam structure anyways; good English might make it easier for them but it is not necessary. I, myself, scored grade C in English as a second language and still managed to score A* in O Level business, so it is totally fine to study business O Level even if the student’s English language skills aren’t at their best. However, A level requires sufficient level of language skills regarding reading and writing skills because students will analyse case studies and answer essay questions. The student doesn’t need to master the language, they just need to meet the adequate level of language skills requirements.

Q:How does studying business at Alevel help students to choose their major in university?

First of all, the A level course covers all business functions in full details (Human resources, Finance, operations, marketing) which gives the students a detailed image of what they’ll study in university and thus helps them major in the function that they’re most interested in. It also covers a lot of business aspects covered in university which allows the student to know whether they’re interested in business or not because what the student is going to take in university is built upon all the basics they’ve studied at the Alevel course. So if a student finds the A Level course

interesting, then they might major in business, and if not, then they’ll eliminate schools of business from their choices.

Q:What benefits do students gain from studying business A Level?

Studying business at A Level helps the student develop several skills. First of all, essay questions will improve their writing skills in terms of structure as the students learn to address and express their ideas clearly, and fulfill the question requirements in depth without making themselves repetitive. Moreover, reading case studies and writing essays will improve students’ analytical skills because they will learn how to analyze business case studies in details and to show chain of analysis in their essays where they’ll explain the consequences and causes of each stated point. In addition, studying business at A Level develops problem solving and evaluative skills as students learn to come up with solutions and recommendations to business problems from their own perspective, support it with logical ideas and provide a reasoned argument. Besides, the topics students get to in business A Level feed their critical thinking as not only do they learn to think of issues from different perspectives and different angles, but they also learn how to apply all general business concepts they know onto specific business situations. Finally, the fact that business A Level covers all functions covered in university, as stated above, helps students to be leaner with their work progress at university, which is an advantage students who study business A level have over any other students. Also, studying topics that require higher capability than that they possess will mature their minds and make it RICH in terms of knowledge that they might be able to communicate with people from the actual labor market.

Q:Is an A* achievable in business OL and AL?

Percentage of As and A*s in June 2019

A*s (%)

As (%)

Total No. of Students

O Level

35

32

60

A Level

22

28

36

So, based on last year’s statistics, it is very achievable to score an A* in both O Level and A Level business, especially that there’s no ultimate model answers because the examiner might accept different answers for the same question as long as it makes sense and doesn’t stray away from the purpose of the question; the student only needs to exert efforts and be dedicated to the subject to score high. However, for the A Level, it is significantly important for the student to make sure they’re taking the course with a good teacher who explains the topics clearly, revises the syllabus frequently, and most importantly is aware of the examiner criteria and requirements, familiar with the marking scheme and solving techniques so that the students guarantee a high grade by learning to answer the questions effectively.

Q:Why would a student study business A Level even if it isn’t a university requirement?

People are getting aware of the importance and value of business benefits in terms of knowledge and skills as the skills and knowledge gained from studying business A level are required in any job; which makes the students benefit from business even if they’re not willing to choose it as their major. Also, students might not major in business yet use its knowledge to set up a business of their own career, just like most business magnates did e.g. Steve Jobs. Moreover, the universities demand on A Levels is increasing and business is the only subject that students can study its A Level without taking the O Level.

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