Business Studies Essay Format

Nature of Board Level decisions and the contribution of the finance director

The performance of any organization, may it be for profit or not for profit, heavily depends on the decisions that are made by the management of the organization. It is worth noting that decisions made in the organization differ greatly, depending on the position of those involved in making those decisions. The board is one body that plays a crucial role in determining the future of an organization, based on the nature of the decisions that they make. A board refers to a group of individuals who have been legally accorded the responsibility of governing an organization. Another key player in decision making is the finance director. Unquestionably, financial resources are one of the key resources for any organization, and for that reason, the contributions of the finance director influences the decisions that are undertaken or rather formulated by the board of directors. This easy seeks to critically analyze the nature of board level decisions as well as the contribution made by the finance director in the formulation of these decisions.

Composition of board members varies from one organization to another, depending on its nature as well as its objectives. Despite of these variations, the decisions made at the board level tend to be similar in one way or another. Being at the top in managerial rank in the organization, the nature of decisions that are made by the board varies a lot, as these decisions affect the organization in all perspectives, (Christopher, 2004). For instance, decisions made by the board influences the way the particular organization will be managed. The board is responsible for the selection and appointment of the chief executive, who is accorded the mandate to carry out administration duties in the organization. It is the duty of the board to determine how their organization is managed by for instance, reviewing and evaluating the performance of the chief executive on a regular basis based on leadership of the organization, planning and implementation of these plans, as well as management of the workforce. To some extent, the board also provides administrative guidance to the chief executive. Thus, one of the characteristics of the decisions that are made at the board level is that, these decisions influences the governance or rather management of the organization by the chief executive, (Bruce & Alexander, 2002).

Another characteristic of the decisions made at the board level is that, they influence the policies and objectives of the organization in general. Together with the chief executive, the board makes decisions on organization policies and objectives that are aimed at the general growth of the organization. They are also responsible for changing policies depending on the situations that the organization is facing. Some of the decisions made at the board level concerning organizational policies and objectives include assigning priorities as well as ensuring the capacity of the organization to undertake services/products/programs by a continuous review of its work, (Iti, 2009).

One of the responsibilities of the board is to ensure that there are adequate resources and that these resources are managed effectively. Therefore, another characteristics made at the board level is that they are always focused to resource acquisition and management. For instance, at one point the organization may be facing financial challenges which require considering alternative sources of funds. Some of the available options may include using external sources of funds such as a loan from a financial institution, or using internal sources such as increasing the share capital, (Soo, 2011). The board is obligated to give the final decision on the best alternative, based on the short-term and long-term objectives of the organization. Besides making decisions on acquisition of resources, the board also has to come up with the best ways in which these resources are going to be utilized. Therefore, they must make decisions which will ensure accountability and efficient use of the resources.

Lastly but not least, the board is responsible for making final investment decisions. In almost all organizations, the board is mandated to review programs that have been proposed by the chief executive. This review incorporates investment decisions that are being proposed by the chief executive and his/her team, as well as the expenses that are expected to be incurred in implementing the investment program. The final decision on the implementation of investment projects lies on the board. The decisions they make in this case will depend on the financial position of the company, the expected returns, the costs to be incurred in the process, and more importantly, the risks that are associated with the proposed investment program. Based on these factors, the board may decide to support the investment or decline this proposal. Thus, the other nature of the board level decisions is that they influence the investment programs in their organizations.

Finally, as mentioned above, financial resources are very crucial in any organization, and the contribution of the financial director in decision making is very vital. The financial director is an individual who has been given the responsibility to manage financial risks of an agency or business. He/she is also given the mandate to undertake financial planning, reporting as well as record-keeping on behalf of the higher management. Therefore, the contribution of the financial director in decision making more especially at the board level decision making is very vital. Any investment and financial decisions to be made by the board are based on the financial reports that have been prepared by the financial director. Through these reports, the board decides whether to or not to ratify use of alternative sources of financing investments, as well as the impacts of any investment on the organization in general.

Role of corporate governance in a company listed on London stock market

Arguably, corporate governance is an important part of any company. It entails various processes, laws, policies, customs, as well as institutions which influence the way a company is controlled. A crucial subject matter of corporate governance is the character and scope of people’s accountability in business, as well as the means of decreasing the principal-agent problem. It also incorporates the relationship among stakeholders involved as well as the goals for which the company is managed. Stakeholders involved in corporate governance can be broadly classified into two categories: external stakeholders and internal stakeholders. External stakeholders include communities impacted by activities of the corporation, customers of the corporation, suppliers, trade creditors, debtors, and the shareholders, (FRC 2010). On the other hand, internal stakeholders include the employees, executives, and the board of directors. There are various rules and regulations that have been set by the government as well as the stock markets on how corporate governance in any given corporation should be undertaken. These rules and regulation have been stipulated in the various codes and corporate governance principles. For instance, there are specific rules and regulations which have to be followed for companies that have been listed on the London Stock Market. This essay will be focused on discussing the various roles of corporate governance in a company listed on the main London Stock Market (LSM).

The role of corporate governance in companies listed on London Stock Market covers five broad areas: auditing, ownership structure and exercise of control rights, financial transparency and information disclosure, corporate responsibility and compliance, and lastly, board and management structure and process. In connection to the board and management structure and process, every corporation listed on LSM should be headed by a board which will be charged with the long-term success of the corporation. A clear division of the responsibilities of the executive and the board should be drawn, in running the business of the company. Moreover, the board should be under the leadership of the chairman, who ensures its efficiency of its role in all aspects, (FRC 2010). To ensure effectiveness of the board, there should be suitable experience, skills, independence as well as knowledge of the company in both the board and its committees. Corporate governance should also ensure that new directors of the board are appointed through a transparent, rigorous and formal process. For efficient discharge of duties, it is the role of corporate governance to ensure that the board is supplied with information in a timely manner. Lastly, through corporate governance, a good relationship between the board and the shareholder should be enhanced. The progress of the business of the company is communicated to the shareholders during the Annual General Meeting called for by the board of directors, (Pol, Jeffrey, and Howard, 2010).

There other role of corporate governance is ensuring that there is financial transparency and information disclosure in the company. The LSM has set rules and regulations that should be followed to ensure that there is accountability in the governance of companies. As part of these rules and regulations, it is a requirement for companies to prepare annual financial reports that represents are fair and a representative of the position of the company at a given time. These reports should be produced on half-yearly and annual basis. The main objective of these reports is to assure the stakeholders of the company the business is a going concern, based on various supporting assumptions, (Christopher, 2004). Additionally, disclosing of material involving the company should be made at in a timely manner to guarantee that investors will access clear and factual information. Company auditing is yet another function of corporate governance. The roles as well as responsibilities of auditing committee should be outlined in a written form, which may include monitoring the truthfulness of the financial statements of the corporation, appraising internal financial controls of the company, keeping an eye on and reviewing the efficiency of the internal audit function of the company, and reviewing and monitoring the independence of the external auditor as well as the impartiality and efficiency of the auditing process, ( Peter & Krisztina, 2011).

Corporate responsibility and compliance is also part of corporate governance in a company. In the corporate governance code of London Stock Market, there are defined standards that should be followed or adhered to concerning ethics in the course of their business. These are aimed at enhancing companies to carry out their business in a responsible and ethical manner, respecting not only the employees and the customers, but also the environment, (Berghe, 2005). Through effective corporate governance, companies are required to implement programs that could promote compliance, to ensure that the companies operate within an ethical and legal framework. Companies educate their employees concerning the code of ethics that have been set, to avoid ethical and legal violations. Hence, corporate governance in companies that have listed on main London Stock Market have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that corporate responsibility and compliance within the company meet the ethical and legal standards that have been set.

In conclusion, it is undeniable that corporate governance is very vital in any company. Basically, it is concerned with the various processes, laws, policies, customs, as well as institutions which influence the way a company is controlled. For the case of companies that have been listed on the main London Stock Market, corporate governance ensures that companies are governed according to the rules and regulations that have been set. The role of corporate governance in these companies broadly covers the following major areas: auditing, ownership structure and exercise of control rights, financial transparency and information disclosure, corporate responsibility and compliance, and lastly, board and management structure and process, (Christopher, 2004). Generally, through corporate governance, companies are managed within the legal and ethical framework, as well as reducing conflicts that are associated with principal-agent relationships.

Personal learning outcomes from this assignment and their impact on my future career

I would have to admit that by undertaking this assignment, I have come across a number of things that will have considerable impact on my career in the future. To begin with, I have realized that in any organization, boards are very influential on the way the organization is managed. Being the final decision makers in the hierarchy of organizational management, they determine the direction that an organization is likely to follow. As noted above, another important person in an organization is the financial director. To some extent, contributions of the financial director form the basis of board level decisions. Based on the relationship of the board and the financial director, I have learnt these two parties must work hand in hand in the organization. This implies that, organizations can only succeed when all the stakeholders in the managerial positions are involved in decision making. This has had a positive impact on my future career, as I am aware of the importance of shared decision making.

Board level decisions vary in various ways. However, the most interesting thing is the way these decisions are reached. From this assignment, I have become aware of the procedures that are supposed to be followed while making decisions not only at an organizational level, but any decision making in general. It is evident that decision making is never a one step process, but it entails a lot of consultation to make what is perceived to be the right decision from the available alternatives. Based on this, my decision-making techniques as well as problem-solving techniques have improved considerably. It is no possible for me to approach decision-making at the personal level, with minimal challenges. Moreover, this lesson will definitely have an impact on the way I will be making decisions in my leadership career.

In conclusion, corporate governance is another area that I have dealt with in this assignment. There are various benefits that an organization can achieve by having good corporate governance. Generally, corporate governance can be described in terms of the relationship between shareholders, company management, stakeholders, as well as the board. Lately, this concept has gained popularity, as globalization led to increase of the complexity and volume of trade, leading to difficulties in controlling external factors. Some of the befits that are likely to be attained through good corporate governance include ensuring corporate success and growth of the company, maintaining the confidence of the investors enhancing chances of the company to increase capital effectively and efficiently, lower cost of capital, reduces corruption, wastages, mismanagement and risks, and finally, brand formation as well as development. Thus, my perception of corporate governance has been improved significantly. In the context of my future career, corporate governance will play a major role on the way I will be making decisions affecting my organization.

Reference List

Christopher, P. 2004. “Corporate governance and the role of non-executive directors in large UK

Companies: an empirical study”, Corporate Governance, Vol. 4 Iss: 2, p

Financial Reporting Council (FRC). 2010. The UK Corporate Governance Code. London

Iti, B. 2009. “Corporate governance and law-role of independent directors: theory and practice in

UK”, Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 5 Iss: 1, pp.94 – 111

Bruce, C, & Alexander, K. 2002. “Evaluating corporate board cultures and decision

making”, Corporate Governance, Vol. 2 Iss: 2, pp.27 – 45

Berghe, T. B. (2005) “The complex relation between director

independence and board effectiveness”, Corporate Governance, Vol. 5 Iss: 5, pp.58 – 83

Peter, H,. & Krisztina, B. 2011 “Corporate Governance Variables: lessons from a holistic

approach to Central-Eastern European practice”, Corporate Governance, Vol. 12 Iss: 1

Pol, H,. Jeffrey, K,. and Howard, A. 2010 “The role of corporate governance in R&D intensity of

UK-based international firms”, International Journal of Commerce and Management, Vol. 20 Iss: 2, pp.91 – 108

Soo, W. K. 2011 “The quality impact of governance change on board decision making”,

UK Journal on Quality, Vol. 12 Iss: 1, pp.113 – 123


Sample Business School Essays

Since many business school admissions officers encourage applicants to “write less, say more,” it is important to communicate your background and career ambitions in a concise and clear way. The essay gives admissions officers an opportunity to learn who you are, where you're going, what you have done and why their school is right for you. Use this small space to give the admissions officers a deeper sense of who you are by answering the prompt with brevity.

This section contains three sample business school essays:

  1. Business School Essay One - The Business of Recovery
  2. Business School Essay Two - Leadership in Action
  3. Business School Essay Three - Repair and Restore

The Business of Recovery — Sample Essay One

Prompt: What are your career goals? What skills do you expect to gain from studying at ABC Business School and how will they contribute to your professional career? (500 words).

Watching my brother transform from a man who had lost his ability to walk to a man who can play basketball with my father kindled my fascination of the physical therapy world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the field of physical therapy to grow faster than average in the upcoming years. I hope to join this field during an exciting time of growth, furthering the rehabilitation of those who have been injured.

Following graduation from ABC Business School, I intend to serve a marketing team in a local physical therapy company, such as Ridgeview Physical Therapy. My short-term goal is to lead a team, furthering success in the Ridgeview area. Due to the popular physical therapy company thirty miles from Ridgeview, much of the local population is unaware of the quality services Ridgeview Physical Therapy has to offer. I hope to increase visits by 40 percent in the first 5 years of my employment. My long-term goal includes extending the company’s reach into surrounding cities, and eventually beyond national barriers, becoming a global marketing manager.

I expect to gain skills and experiences from ABC Business School that will propel my short and long-term goals. I hope to develop an experiential and diverse learning experience and have the opportunity to interact with different groups of people to learn from their business insights and endeavours. From ABC Business School, I seek the tools and resources needed to further engage in my marketing knowledge, perform professional strategic analyses, and re-evaluate my past work experiences. I look forward to taking courses from Professor Jim. W. Reid, who has published the research of the success of Matthews and Marketing in his book, “Matthews Commerce,” which has helped me continue my career this far. I also look forward to taking the unique classes taught by Professor Rachel E. Davis, introducing me to the physical therapy world and enriching my business skills in that area.

When my brother’s car accident in 2011 caused immobility in his left leg, he never thought he would be able to play his favorite sport again. David Andrews, a 1994 graduate from ABC Business School, ensured that that would not come to pass. I spoke with Andrews about his journey, and he told me that it was through the opportunities and education he received from the professors and students at ABC Business School that helped him open his own practice. I hope to follow in Andrews’s footsteps. With the passion I have for the success of Ridgeview Physical Therapy, and the determination I learned from watching my brother, all I need to complete my goals is the knowledge available to me through an MBA at ABC Business School. I look forward to completing my career aspirations using the tools received from ABC Business School to contribute to my professional career.

The world of physical therapy is growing, and with my skills in marketing, I hope to grow the local Ridgeview services across the globe.

In this essay, the applicant is assigned to answer the prompt in approximately 500 words. The admissions officer expects a clear and concise essay that does not veer off the question and exemplifies quality writing, grammar, and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:

  • Student’s understanding and knowledge in answering questions: The writer explains his short and long-term career goals, referencing the future of the career (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and quantifying his goals (Increase by 40 percent within the first 5 years).
  • A deeper look into who the applicant is: Writer shares personal information that also relates to answering the question (brother in physical therapy). Make sure that any personal information you share does not veer off of the question that needs to be answered.
  • Proper research on the school to adequately answer the second question: Student mentions names of professors who have demonstrated help in the past (professor’s business research book) giving credibility to the student that he believes they will be able to help him in the future. Avoid flattery and only speak of the school in a way that shows proper research and answers the question presented.

Leadership in Action — Sample Essay Two

Prompt: Present evidence of your leadership capacity and/or potential. (Approx. 550 words)

Nancy, the CEO of Jasmine Publishing House, bought me a coffee and told me I should invest in warm gloves as we sat down at a corner diner for what would be a game-changing business meeting. As the leading publishing house in Europe, Nancy informed me that JPH was interested in closing a multi-million dollar deal with our fashion magazine, Zoelle, provided we changed the magazine's appearance to attract a broader European audience.

As production manager, my job was to lead and supervise a staff of 30 to match Nancy's vision, working closely with the design team, photographers, production staff and marketing team. After three weeks of heavy brainstorming, we developed a fresh appearance for the magazine.

I invited Nancy to a meeting with me and three of our executive producers. I shared with her the strategy we had created in order to solve our appearance problem, as well as estimated costs and complications. Nancy agreed that the direction our magazine was going fit well with her vision and audience, and that JPH would be happy to work with us within the next week.

Although the team was excited to accept the offer, I was concerned that we were not prepared to complete the project so quickly. Though the executive producers did not understand, as our production team was to begin work on the next issue the following day, I explained that there may include deep financial consequences if we rush into the process. I wanted to ensure that JPH received a consistent layout from Zoelle magazine. Nancy agreed to wait until the upcoming issue was complete before beginning work on the new look.

We began work the following Tuesday, after the latest issue was produced. I collaborated with an eight member marketing team to develop new branding for our magazine and mediated this branding with the design team, ensuring that it was able to blend well with their ideas and insights based on the first meeting with Nancy. I led the operation of the first issue to be published via JPH, supervising 30 employees.

After the issue was published, our sales increased by 42 percent in the first week. After leading the Zoelle team to a business deal close and a fresh start, I learned that with the proper leadership, a staff of varied talents, insights and opinions can work closely together to produce a magazine that continues to increase its sells each issue. My initiative helped provide Zoelle with its largest new contract that year, a $2 million deal. Customers from Europe and the United States commented with positive remarks on the new look, showing interest in the replacement of the former look, which had been being published for seven years.

After this leadership experience, I was able to see my potential as a leader. I can communicate effectively with all members of a group and help connect them with one another to make a larger picture. I protect my business discernment even against an upset crowd, and am able to properly persuade others to understand other perspectives. Through learning more about leadership every day with my work in Zoelle, I hope to continue to strengthen these abilities and witness the success they can bring to media production.

In this essay, the applicant was asked to detail her leadership abilities through the application of a relevant example. She was asked to do this in approximately 550 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:

  • Applicant's ability to share leadership qualities with a relevant example: This writer shared leadership qualities of communication (brainstorming with different staffs and helping them connect their ideas together), listening (brainstorming and understanding staff concerns), delegating (ensuring each team did what was supposed to be done), and managing (managed and supervised a staff of 30) through the use of an example from her work with Zoelle Magazine.
  • Proof of a potential growth in these leadership skills: The writer hopes to “continue to strengthen” her leadership skills. She provides examples of how she learned from previous leadership roles.
  • How these skills will help further your career: The writer used an example from her current career and concluded her essay with a look into the potential of leadership in her field.

Repair and Restore — Sample Essay Three

Prompt: Describe a challenging situation you have faced in the past. How did you overcome the challenge? (450 Words)

I looked across my celebratory cheesecake and beamed up at my new coworkers. I couldn't believe I had finally landed my dream job. All of the senior editors were having lunch in the cafe across the street from the bakery where the finance team and marketing team shared dessert. I had been hired as a budget analyst at my favorite magazine. My job was to work alongside the business manager to help create a more healthy marriage between the finance and marketing departments, thus improving our sales and workplace environment. On my way home, I reflected on my relief in finally having an exciting and secure career.

Just three months later, we met at the same bakery where I had celebrated my new job. Every department from our small, close-knit staff was present. As the publication manager began to tell us the news, I remember how our faces fell. Our publication company was going out of business, and every publication was to be shut down. She explained that they had tried to find another publishing company without success.

Not only did I feel as though I failed the company, I also knew that I, as well as the other 17 employees, was out of a job. We went back to our offices and packed up our things. Writers and designers were frantically calling around, asking for open positions. An employee from the finance department began tweaking his resume, and the marketing department apologized to the publication manager and editor-in-chief, who responded graciously.

I had to leave my apartment not long after losing my job. I stayed with a friend on the north side of town as I tried to find a job in a shrinking economic suburb. It took six months to find a position, and though I had to move and leave behind my dream, I found a new way to work toward my new dream.

From this experience, I learned the importance of adaptability. Only through my ability to embrace the change happening around me was I able to find a new job and start a new life with new visions and goals. Applying for my MBA would have sounded bizarre to the disheartened, homeless idealist who lost her dream. But now, after finding in me the strength to persevere, I am able to take what I learned from my previous job and pair it with what I learn from the university. This knowledge will help me ensure that the future companies I work with will not have to endure a similar fallout.

However, if there comes a time when I am again involved in a lost company, I know how to repair. I know how to restore.

In this essay, the applicant was asked to recall a challenging situation to which the writer overcame the boundaries. The writer was asked to do this in approximately 450 words, using concise language and proper grammar and punctuation. In questions similar to these, the admissions officers are looking for:

  • Applicant's ability to identify a challenging moment in her life: This writer uses a relevant example of a challenging situation, describing the challenge of losing a job, losing housing, and having to move to a different city.
  • Examples of how the applicant overcame these challenges: The writer cites her “adaptability” as the reason why she was able to overcome this challenge. Instead of giving up, the applicant tells of applying for other jobs, even ones that were out of her comfort zone and in another city.
  • Brief insights to what the applicant learned from the challenge: This writer learned how to maintain strength, perseverance and adaptability in challenging situations. The applicant tells of continuing the learning process in her MBA program and allowing it to help future companies.

Sample Essays

Related Content:

Here are our top five tips for writing a business school admissions essay:

  1. State specific reasons as to why you are a good “fit” for the school, rather than simply stating “I am the ideal candidate for your program.” Why are you the ideal candidate?
  2. Use real life examples in your essay. This will help to bring your essay to life.
  3. If you’ve taken an unorthodox path to business school, don’t be afraid to play that up. Business schools appreciate those who are unafraid to take risks.
  4. Thoroughly research your target schools in order to have a clear idea of how to appeal to each of them. Every school is looking for something different in their students.
  5. Avoid flattery. A good school knows that it’s good, and telling them so just wastes valuable space in your essay. Use that space to talk yourself up, instead.
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