When, Why, What, How of IB Business Management Curriculum Change 2022

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Experienced Business Management teacher, IB examiner and IB workshop leader Dr Loykie Lominé, introduces the new IB Business Management course.

Are you ready for change?

Changes to a course you have been teaching for several years can feel threatening, raising questions and doubts. This post will walk you through the When, Why, What and How of the changes to the International Baccalaureate Business Management course, so you can feel more confident and have fewer concerns.


When is both easy and complex. First exams are May 2024.

Several scenarios are possible dependent on the length of your course and your exam month as illustrated by the following three cases:

  1. Marsha teaches Standard Level in one year in the US, this means she will start teaching the new course from August 2023
  2. Claudio teaches in an IB school in Bolivia with exams in November. His students will have their first exams in November 2024, so he will teach the new course from January 2023
  3. Luis teaches Higher Level Business Management in two years in China. He will start teaching the new course from August 2022.


The IB has a very healthy process of curriculum review every seven years involving a long process of consultation, formulation and collective creation.

Changing a curriculum doesn’t mean the current one isn’t good. It just means that we’re going to have a new one which is even better. This is very important for our subject so it will better reflect changes in the business world.

To illustrate how much has changed in the business world, how many of these logos were known 10 years ago?

Changes to courses also bring the benefit of updating classroom resources. The current Oxford Business Management classroom resource was written before the ATL (Approaches to Teaching and Learning) were clearly defined by the IB, meaning the principle of inquiry was not fully developed. Inquiry is now at the core of the new curriculum and our new book.

Another improvement for teachers is that, while IB teaching is focused on conceptual understanding, the examiner’s report reveals students don’t always understand these concepts.
To answer this shortcoming, the process to conceptual teaching and learning is now much more at the forefront of the course and the new Oxford Business Management Course Companion.

The revised course is also even better aligned to the IB mission, to the IB learner profile and to the pedagogical principles of the IB. Below I have selected six of the ten IB learner profile attributes to illustrate this, the sixth of which for me is the most important for Business Management and is central in the IB’s own introduction to the new course:

  • INQUIRERS: the core of IB teaching and is at the core of the new syllabus
  • RISK TAKERS: Business Management isn’t about eliminating risk. It is about minimizing and anticipating risks
  • ATTRIBUTE THINKERS: its descriptor ends with the world making reasoned ethical decisions and in Business Management ethics is one of our key concepts
  • CARING: we want our students to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us
  • OPEN MINDEDNESS: evaluating a range of viewpoints, a range of perspectives, different ideas, and different views from various stakeholders. These perspectives are very needed in business management
  • KNOWLEDGABLE: we want our students to leave us as change agents as well as confident, creative and compassionate business leaders, entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs. I love this. I hope you do too!


The new course is not a revolution, it’s an evolution, building on the contents of the current course. So, what is changing regarding the contents of the syllabus and the assessment strategy?

What is staying?

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • Operations

We say goodbye, amongst others, to:

  • Daniel Pink Drive’s Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy model
  • Guerrilla marketing
  • Kanban and Andon
  • Cellular manufacturing
  • Debt factoring
  • Some of the more sophisticated sampling methods are out as well.

We say hello, amongst others, to:

  • Deci and Ryan motivation theory in human resources
  • New equation defect rate
  • Data mining
  • Crowdfunding
  • Culture clash

Changes to concepts

In the current course we have six concepts – change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation and strategy. This is being streamlined. We are moving from six to four:

  • We retain change and ethics
  • Add sustainability and creativity

These four interdisciplinary concepts are present throughout, and the course empowers students to explore them from a business perspective.

In the new Oxford Business Management Course Companion, we address the key concepts in several ways. We have included:

  • A much longer introduction to concepts to help students and teachers understand their purpose
  • Many new and improved case studies, and other examples of activities to engage and help students to see how the concepts provide understanding for the wider world beyond Business Management e.g. sustainable development goals
  • We retain the triangle model of concepts, contents and contexts but the shape is changing to a cyclical model, focusing on inquiry-based teaching and learning. So, we have a longer introduction to inquiry, tasks, and activities, giving students the chance to train to be inquirers.

The new toolkit

Another new feature of the course detailed in the Oxford Business Management Course Companion is the new toolkit. This is a compilation of all the tools we currently know and use e.g. Ansoff, BCG matrix decision tree, forcefield analysis, and SWOT, plus new tools such as descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, quartiles) and theoretical models such as Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Porter’s generic strategies. These are included with exercises on how they should be used to analyse the business context of an organization.

All of this change to the curriculum has meant we have had to substantially revise our course book, not simply tack on a few extra sections, which gives you a fully updated resource.

Click for a digital evaluation copy of our Business Management Course Companion (2022 edition).

How – changes to the assessment

The assessment models have also been revised for exams starting in 2024. The external assessment (exams) will be much more focused. Each paper will now concentrate on a particular skill set.

Paper 1

  • Paper 1 will now be the same for Standard and Higher-Level students. Previously Section A of the paper was the same, but Sections B and C were different
  • While still based on a long case study it will now only be partly pre-released as an extract and a list of topics providing the theme and context. Previously having the whole case study early led to students over preparing answers and failing to answer the question asked in the exam
  • Most questions will be qualitative.

Paper 2

  • Different for Standard and Higher Level
  • Most questions will be quantitative
  • Students will have an examination booklet with some stimulus material, possibly some charts, tables, infographics, and there will be several parts and questions.

Paper 3

  • Only for Higher-Level students, counting for 25% of their overall score
  • Assignment focusing on social enterprise – It’s very innovative and I love it!
  • Provides stimulus material, such as extracts from emails, Twitter feeds, newspaper articles
  • Students will have to do something very innovative, something very creative, making a document with recommendations and an action plan. As a teacher I feel a little bit nervous about this because it’s a new form of assessment, but at same time I find it so innovative.

Internal Assessment

  • Same internal assessment (IA) for Standard and Higher-level students with the same task and the same criteria. If you teach mixed classes, this is a very helpful change
  • The task is proportionally more important for Standard Level students counting for 30%
  • Students have to produce a research project about a real business issue or problem facing a particular organization using one of the four conceptual lenses
  • IB recommends the IA should take 20 hours – this will be a little more for Standard Level students
  • Same deadlines, 20th of April for May exam schools. 20th October for November exam schools
  • Same process – marked by teachers, moderated by the IB.

The IA is now about a concept, but a concept studied and explored within an organization using the contents of the course. Up to now, we didn’t really assess concepts, although we did in Section C with reference to one organization of choice. It didn’t work so well. This new model is an amazing way to assess students conceptual understanding.

To support these assessment changes, in the new Oxford Business Management Course Companion we have an entire unit specifically about assessment which provides many practice questions with answers provided on the OUP companion website for teachers. We also provide lots of little vignettes called assessment advice, giving tips to students throughout the book.

You will also benefit considerably from the resources that will be available on the OUP online platform Kerboodle, where you will have 63 multi-choice quizzes, with a mix of summative and formative style questions. You will benefit from this because you can triangulate the knowledge, the assessment coming from those multi-choice questions with the ones coming from the assessment.

Contact your local Oxford Educational Consultant to find out more about Business Management and Kerboodle support

International mindedness

I want to mention two other important aspects of the new course which have a direct impact for us in Business Management: international mindedness and TOK.

At the core of an IB education is international mindedness which aims at helping to create a better and more peaceful world. This is very close to our heart too because we are an international author team.

So, we reflect this in our new book through case studies drawn from around the world. We have some from our own countries – the United States, Kenya, and France, but we also have case studies from many other countries, as you can see here in the image – Spain, Philippines, China, India, Nigeria, Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America. Our aim is to make sure students and teachers can find examples they can relate to no matter where they are in the world.

And finally, the last aspect I want to mention about international mindedness is Hofstede’s model. This is new. It is in the toolkit and we can use this to make international mindedness really come to life.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

TOK is not about learning a new body of knowledge, TOK is about thinking critically and inquiring into the process of knowing.

The IB likes to tell us that all IB subjects are TOK teachers. This is certainly the case for Business Management, which we strongly emphasize in our course book, aiming to help teachers and students understand how we can embed TOK know how into Business Management, and how we can integrate TOK and Business Management.

To do this we have a much longer introduction to TOK and Business Management. We have examples throughout the book of the links you can make between TOK and Business Management and how to explore those links.

And finally…

I hope I have given you confidence with the new IB curriculum, helping you to set aside any concerns and start to feel a growing sense of excitement and joy which I personally felt when I read the new course.

We also, hope our new Business Management Course Companion will be a tool you will rely on to help you deliver your course and steer your students to achievement.

With best wishes for your first teaching of Business Management 2022!

The content for this article has been extracted from the Oxford University Press webinar: IB DP Business Management: What’s new in the curriculum? presented by Dr Loykie Lominé (10 February 2022).

Reference is made in this article to the new Oxford University Press Course Companion for Business Management written by Loykie with Martin Mwenda Muchena and Robert A. Pierce.