Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.
We asked Kelvin E Lau How from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
Enjoy the wild ride after you enroll in a course. It is bumpy and challenging, but where is the fun in life if there is no challenge?
What are your interests?
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...
These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
Employment Opportunities The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 4354 students who sat the Ordinary Level Business exam in 2018.
Leaving Certificate business creates an awareness of the importance of business activity and develops a positive and ethical attitude towards enterprise. The learning experiences in business develop students’ critical thinking, creative and organisational skills while enhancing literacy and numeracy skills using real-life examples. Business provides students with a learning foundation for a wide range of careers in business, marketing, law, enterprise and management.
Why Study this?
Why Study Business
Business is not specifically required for entry into any third level course but it would certainly be beneficial for candidates who might be interested in courses or careers in the area of finance, enterprise, law and communications.
What kind of student would Business suit?
Business will suit a candidate who is interested in current affairs and listens to the news, reads the papers and stays alert to what is happening in the general business world. While there is a fair share of learning of key concepts the ability to apply these concepts in everyday life will be the difference between passing the subject and getting a good mark.
While the business concepts are easy to understand, it will be important to show that you can apply the concept to everyday business life.
This subject suits someone who has an organised mind and likes to answer questions in bullet points, rather than in long essay format.
This subject would be useful to anyone thinking of starting his or her own business in the future.
The subject is suited to students who are willing to work hard and caters for all abilities.
It is not necessary for students to have studied Junior Certificate Business Studies, but this would be a help.
Not necessary to write long essays, answers are presented in bullet points.
Course content is factual and requires a lot of learning, containing only a few mathematical elements.
Ideally, students would have an interest in business and current affairs and would have an up to date knowledge of economic environment.
An organised and consistent attitude to homework and study would be essential in this subject.
Videos & Interviews
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Lecturer - Aoife Mc Dermott
In school I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Biology, Economics and Business. The fact that I enjoyed economics in school led me to the choice of my degree.
Luckily by taking what started out as a general degree I was able to figure out that what I liked about economics was being able to pose questions and look for solutions; the critical thinking component, rather than the content was actually the part that appealed most to me.
Through exposure to a variety of subjects in my first year in college I was in a much better position to chose the subjects that I wanted to specialise in.
Choosing to specialise in business and sociology worked well for me; the business component gave me a marketable knowledge base and skill set, while the sociology component encouraged me to think critically and introduced me to research skills.
I wouldn't do anything differently. It was great to be in a course where the classes got smaller as I progressed through, so I got a lot of guidance as I stumbled forward!
Choosing a specialised degree wouldn't have been a good choice for me at the time - I'm still amazed when I think of my friends who knew exactly what they wanted to do as they left school.
The biggest thing I learnt through my degree was that I had developed a skill set that I could use in a variety of ways. Having a degree in a specific area doesn't limit you to that for life!
I took German, Biology, Accounting and Business Studies along with English, Irish & Maths. I think it is very difficult to choose subjects in school. It feels like the world is on your shoulders and that this choice will have a huge impact on your future career.
The reality these days is that people change and mature at different stages in their life. Many people I know are not working in the area that they studied for in College - let alone school.
In hindsight - I think it is important to study what you are good at as this will enable you to get the points you need for your desired college course. The college course normally does not assume prior knowledge in these subjects and will start with the basics.
Studying a broad degree like I did meant that there were lots of different options available once I finished college. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do until I took a Revenue Law lecture. Studying Revenue Law, I found that tax had a good mixture of both business and law and therefore it appealed to me.
For my Leaving Certificate I studied the three compulsory subjects: English, Irish and Maths. I had a great interest in science so I chose to do two science subjects - Biology and Chemistry. I wanted to keep as many options open as possible as I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do on leaving school so I chose one business subject - Economics and I chose a language - French, in order to keep all the universities open also.
In hindsight I think this was a good selection of subjects as it kept a lot of doors open while also allowing me to chose subjects I liked and did well in. I eventually went on to do a science degree so my 2 Leaving Certificate science subjects came in handy. Once I had my degree this allowed me to teach and subsequently do my postgraduate in Guidance Counselling.
English, Maths, Irish, French, History, Geography, Home Economics, Commerce (now called Business Studies) - these were subjects that I did for my Inter Cert, (now the Junior Cert), I left school after this. The courses that I took that had career implications were English, Maths, Commerce and Home Economics.
The implications of these were that English is needed for communication, Home Economics prepares one for life experiences and Commerce gives one an understanding of budgets and financial constraints. The subjects are practical ones and have helped me in my career. In hindsight I would have gone on to do my Leaving Cert and would have done Biology as this would have given me a basis to go further with my career, such as studying for nursing.
Studying business for my Leaving Certificate, looking into different practices within other organisations, helped me to appreciate the high level of standards within McDonalds and their respect for workers.
My Leaving Cert subjects were Irish, English, Maths, French, Chemistry, Biology and Business Organisation. My main interest was science so I chose two science subjects and one business related subject to keep things interesting.
My subjects were appropriate for my University course except I was required to take Physics in the first year. This was quite challenging not having taken Physics to Leaving Cert but not impossible. I don't think I would do anything differently if I had to repeat the process.
When in I was in school I didn’t really have a definite career plan. However I did prefer the Science subjects in general over languages or Business type subjects. Along with the obligatory subjects, I continued with Physics, Chemistry and Honours Maths for my leaving certificate, not so much as a conscious career choice but because I liked them. However as it turned out these all helped me during my course, and they tied in with my career choice.
Agricultural Science - I really enjoyed it and it gave me a good understanding of the basics in agriculture. Technical Drawing and Construction Studies - I enjoyed the hands on building as well as the planning and design aspect which has assisted me in planning and building my farm yard from the parlour, sheds, workshops and even my new house.
If I could go back in time I think I would of taken Business Studies to give me a better grasp of the financial aspects that are involve in my farming business.
This subject teaches the skills and knowledge needed to understand how business works.
This is a practical course that introduces students to the world of business in a straightforward and logical way. It aims to create an awareness of the importance of business activity and to develop a positive and ethical attitude towards it. The importance of people in business is highlighted.
The course sets out to illustrate the process of setting up a business and developing a new product or service. It emphasises the importance of good management and deals with skills and activities necessary for good management practice. It also deals with the impact of technology, foreign trade, global firms and competition and with business structures and the national economy.
Business requires students to stay alert and to be aware of current related business media (e.g. newspapers, TV, radio). The course is theory based and therefore requires a lot of learning.
Leaving cert business has been on offer for many years now, so there are lots of past papers to help the student when revising.
This subject is concerned with understanding the environment in which business operates in Ireland and in the wider world.
It also involves equipping the students with a positive view of enterprise and its applications in the business environment, in both the public and private sectors.
There are 7 core units covering the following topics: Introduction to people in business; Enterprise; Managing 1 & 2; Business in action; Domestic Environment and International Environment.
There is a common syllabus covering Higher and Ordinary level, which will fulfil the aims and objectives of the course.
A flexibility of design that caters for present day Irish business education and yet is capable of adaptation to future developments in a structured and efficient way.
It assists students to develop their education for adult and working life including the creation of positive attitudes towards self-employment.
From time to time there may be field trips or guest speakers where the course allows. These are not a compulsory part of the course and are organised at the teachers’ discretion.
Exam Structure - Higher & Ordinary Level
Higher Level – 1 x 3 hour paper (400 marks); 3 sections.
Section 1 – Short questions (8/10) 80 marks.
Section 2 – Applied Business Question – 80 marks (compulsory).
Section 3 – Long Questions (60 marks per question (4/7))
Ordinary Level – 1 x 2.5 hour paper (400 marks); 2 sections.
Section 1 – Short Question (10/15) 100 marks.
Section 2 – Long Questions (75 marks per question (4/8)).
Business is useful for careers in a wide range of areas including Banking, Finnace, Administration, Law, Insurance, Management and Marketing among others.