This year the Dr Challoner’s Sixth Form provided a new opportunity to students with the addition of A-level Business to the selection of courses available. Taught by Mr Gledhill, the Business course has been a fantastic opportunity to learn about the inner workings of companies and the strategies they employ to be successful in the ever-changing occupational world. With the course being set out into units focusing on each of the functional areas, there is a lot of ground to cover for students. Whilst the content covered includes the application of theory to businesses in practice, Mr Gledhill provided us with the chance to gain first-hand knowledge of how a real company operates through visits from the company Cytiva, a global business with a local presence in Little Chalfont.

Cytiva is a life-science company that provides technology that helps to accelerate the development and manufacture of therapeutics. The company has flourished during the pandemic, producing vaccines for industry giants. Despite being primarily a science company, Cytiva, like every company, has a backbone that relies on business. The insights we gained from this aspect of the company have proved invaluable to our learning and understanding of the content we have been taught.

Our most recent visit from Cytiva was by a member of their financial team who emphasised the importance of budgeting and cash flow to us by showing its application within the business. For example, an essential part of budgeting is predicting and analysing when money is coming in and out of your company to be able to make informed decisions about what to do with said money. Cytiva does this using cash flow forecasts which shows the cash flow within the business annually.

Another critical function of every business is the operations function. Cytiva relies heavily on operations as the efficient manufacturing of vaccines is key for its international distributors during a pandemic. James, the Cytiva employee who covered this function, provided great insights into the company’s operations, teaching students the importance of operational excellence and the different techniques managers of the function use such as lean production.

With A-level Business being a new course offered in the Challoner’s Sixth Form, the inclusion of Cytiva as a source of information on the practical application of theory learnt in class has helped students to gain a much-needed understanding of the corporate world. These visits have proved invaluable and our gratitude goes to both Cytiva and Mr Gledhill for this opportunity.