Economics & Business


"Economics and Business are the disciplines of choice for individuals seeking to understand and truly influence the real world.  Far from claiming to have all of the answers, all of the time, we offer a variety of lenses through which to focus one’s view and many magnificent tools with which to operate."

Carl Fisher, Head of Department



Economics is a very dangerous science.

John Maynard Keynes, Economist


The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO, Apple Inc.


Economics is about choice and the impact of our choices on mankind. It relates to every aspect of our lives: from the decisions we make as individuals to those made by firms and by governments on our behalf.  An economic way of thinking can help us all make better choices.

Business is about understanding how the corporate world works and how firms can improve their chances of success.  From entrepreneurial start-ups through to blue-chip companies all firms need to know how to adapt to market conditions in order both to survive and to thrive.

Studying Economics and Business

Every student of Economics or Business acquires a new and exciting insight into the world around them. 

Through the application of diverse theories to real-life issues each student develops the personal qualities needed to be able to make well-considered and sophisticated judgements.

Economics and Business students develop the ability to analyse a range of data efficiently, become able to solve complex problems quickly and learn how to debate their case coherently. 

Recent discussions have included Hard vs Soft Brexit strategies, why the Greeks are in so much debt, how America will look by the end of Trump’s presidency, the morality of drone technology, for which political party to vote, how to become the next Mark Zuckerberg, whether Paul Pogba’s €100m transfer fee represented good value for money for Manchester United, when might be the best time to buy a house and how best to negotiate a pay rise.

How to choose between Economics and Business

Whilst Economics and Business share a number of topic areas some significant differences exist.

Economics draws upon ideas from many other disciplines and combines elements of mathematics, geography, politics, philosophy, sociology and history to construct models to help understand why scarce resources are allocated as they are. Microeconomics focuses upon the operation of the ‘invisible hand’ through supply and demand in individual markets, how different markets may be considered to fail and how well governments then intervene.  Strategic thinking is introduced through game theory whilst bounded rationality and choice architecture are studied through the emerging field of behavioural economics.  Macroeconomics endeavours to explain ‘the bigger picture’ and considers the business cycle in terms of the growth of real national income, the causes of inflation, the effects of unemployment, the balance of international trade and, in light of the 2008/09 Great Recession, the operation of banks and financial markets.  Fiscal, monetary and supply-side policies are each studied in detail.

Business, on the other hand, offers students a practical and straightforward route to discover the internal workings of and external influences on commercial organisations through an approach predominantly driven by case-studies.    Thus the impacts of changes within the economy, such as taxation and regulation, are always related specifically to businesses.  Key concepts such as entrepreneurship, the legal forms of a business, business objectives, the influence of stakeholders, corporate culture, growth, marketing and sales promotion are assessed.  Business pupils also develop a working knowledge of operational planning, staff motivation, financial budgeting, balance sheets, profit and loss accounting and liquidity ratios.  Additionally Business provides pupils with the ability to undertake SWOT, PESTLE and Critical Path analysis together with investment appraisals and quantitative sales forecasting. 

The entry guidelines for Economics and Business

Crucial to success in Economics and Business is enthusiasm and a desire to understand the world.

However the two-year linear Economics (AQA) and Business (Edexcel) specifications have become more academically rigorous than ever before and each examination will test students’ numerical and verbal reasoning at a high level.

Therefore, whilst there are no specific entry requirements to study Economics or Business, we do strongly recommend that pupils are capable of achieving at least Grade A in GCSE English and Mathematics.

We also recommend that, beyond the classroom, students of Economics and Business keep up to date with the news and current affairs, fully engage with the wide variety of departmental co-curricular activities on offer and consume a healthy diet of varied background reading.

Beyond Economics and Business

A significant proportion of Rugby students decide to pursue their interest in Economics or Business by reading a related undergraduate degree.  Oxbridge applications to read pure Economics, PPE or a joint degree are common with other popular destinations including Bath, Bristol, Durham, LSE and UCL.  Business pupils frequently opt for Business Management or International Business at Leeds, Surrey or Newcastle and it is not uncommon for some of our Business pupils to be awarded an unconditional place at Oxford Brookes.

A degree in Economics or Business paves the way for a career in a wide range of posts including corporate investment banker, chartered management accountant, chartered management consultant, insurance underwriter, and financial risk and investment analyst. It is also a good foundation for a host of positions in the manufacturing, transport, communications, journalism, marketing, and retailing industries as well as in government agencies, consulting and charitable organisations.