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Am I teaching the Business units in the right order?!

One of the questions I see most posted online or asked amongst teachers is, “What order should I teacher the IB Business syllabus in?”. I can say that the order that is given in the guide is the order that I have seen least followed. From the handful of teachers that I know, most of them do not follow the Unit 1: Intro to Business, Unit 2: Human Resource, Unit 3: Finance, Unit 4: Marketing and Unit 5: Operations Management. So if that isn’t a very common order, what is the best way to teach it?

As a side note, I just want to be clear that there is no right or wrong way to teach it. As long as you finish the content, then everything is fine. You might read this, love teaching it in order and think that my ideas are crazy! I’m just giving you my thought process and why I teach it in the order that I do.

So let’s begin! I think most teachers start here and it makes sense. I begin teaching Unit 1: Introduction to Business. This is a foundation both for students who have never taken Business and those that have already seen some of the content before. It is not too content heavy and allows for fun and engaging activities and discussions. Who doesn’t love a good CSR debate!

But the biggest question is, what should come next? I have always taught Unit 4 Marketing next for a few reasons. First, it is a really fun unit and students who might have been bored with Unit 1, get excited about seeing concepts with so many real-world applications. Promotion seems to come around right around the American Football Superbowl and watching the commercials after game day is always a highlight for my students! Next, marketing is often the focus for internal assessments (IAs) and extended essays (EEs), so I want students to have that knowledge to be able to start writing those as soon as possible. Finally, it is a fairly quick unit and fits nicely into the second trimester at school that is often rushed with holidays, other assessments, field trips and other things outside of my control.

After that, I move on to Unit 3: Finance. Love it or hate it, I try to get through 3.4 Final accounts by the end of the first year. This allows students to understand financial statements enough to use on an IA or EE and get them ready for the calculation heavy part that comes in the second half of Unit 3. I believe this also breaks it up in a nice way so there aren’t so many calculations back-to-back that they forget and get mixed up. The summer break helps their mind reset and learn more calculations later. I also sneak in 5.5 break-even here because it flows so nicely with the other content, and it used to be in Finance in the old syllabus.

With the new syllabus, I really struggled with the decision to keep Unit 4 second. Paper 2 is heavily focused on calculations, and they are not option like in the previous Paper 2. This makes mocks at the end of year 1 difficult to create because they have barely seen three different concepts to put on the Finance part. But, with sneaking in break-even in Unit 3, it makes a mock doable.

To round out the second year, my students finish Unit 3 and then move on to Unit 2. There is a lot of content here, and I really make a push to finish the majority of it before the mocks. This is really school dependent because I have seen mocks take place anywhere from January to March of year 2, so don’t stress if you don’t finish it by the time you have mocks. Then, with whatever time I have left, I move onto Unit 5: Operations Management. This unit is very short for SL, especially if you already did break-even, but much longer for HL. Just be sure to leave enough time to finish everything and have time to review and prepare for Paper 1.

Is this the order you use to teach the IB Business coursework? Do you think another way works better? I’d love to know if the comments below.

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Apr 27

This is what I do too. Reading it really justified my order. What a great idea putting it into a blog.

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