Arden university pearson btec level 5 hnc/d diploma in business

Arden University

Pearson BTEC Level 5

HNC/D Diploma in Business

Business Decision Making

Date for Submission: 9th November 2017
(The submission portal will close at 14:00 GMT)

Set by: Stuart Hutchison


Text Box: Page 2 of 10Assignment Brief

As part of the formal assessment for the HNC/D programme you are required to submit an assignment for each module. Please refer to your Student Handbook for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing and submitting assignments.

After completing the module, you should be able to:

LO1: Be able to use a variety of sources for the collection of data, both primary and secondary

LO2: Understand a range of techniques to analyse data effectively for business purposes

LO3: Be able to produce information in appropriate formats for decision-making in an organizational context

LO4: Be able to use software-generated information to make decisions in an organization



In order to make this assignment (and thus the module) more interesting for each individual student, rather than issue the same fixed case study for the whole group (as is traditional), I have decided to let each student select a particular type of data or situation that interests them personally. You will thus each use your own customized case study. Your first job is to visit one of the open data sources listed in the embedded document below – just double click it – and browse through the various sites. Pick a data set that really grabs your attention. These sources are open and free.

(If you have problems opening this embedded document, email the tutor)

Be sure to read the description of the data set first and click on the link so that you can see what the data looks like ahead of downloading it. If you want to use this data set, go ahead and download the data set (make sure you download the CSV or Excel format). Then save it to your computer ready to process using Excel.

By doing this, you will get used to looking at and handling real-world, large-scale data sets from a domain that interests you. So, if you are a teacher, you can use an educational data set or if you are into cars maybe something to do with transport etc. It just makes the whole assignment more realistic and enjoyable. It also exposes you to a set of free resources that you can use on later projects if needed. Before committing yourself to a particular data set, read all the assignment tasks below and make sure that your chosen data set can support the tasks requested. For example, if the data set does not contain any numerical data you won’t be able to do all the descriptive statistics – so pick with care.

You MUST email the tutor your chosen data set in advance of commencing the assignment – certainly within the first four weeks of the module commencing – for approval using .


Text Box: Page 3 of 10

· Be sure to embed your Excel spreadsheet containing your chosen data set in your assignment submission.

· Provide the full web address of where to locate this data set – so I can check it if needed.

· Give a brief explanation of what the data set represents (you can use the description on their website).

Using your chosen data set, produce an Excel spreadsheet of Descriptive Statistics (AC 3.1 & 4.1) to show the following. For each, briefly explain how they can be used to draw valuable inferences for the chosen case study:

(a) The Median for any two numerical columns of your choosing (AC 2.1, 2.3)

(b) The Mean for the same two columns (AC 2.1, 2.3)

(c) The Standard Deviation for these same columns (AC 2.1, 2.3)

(d) Draw a Histogram for each of these same columns (AC 3.1)

(e) The Correlation Coefficient between these two same columns (AC 2.4)

Be sure to include clear, well-annotated screenshots of all your Excel work in your main Word document as well as embedding the actual Excel file in the Word file ±

Comment briefly on how these statistics relate to each other and what, if any, meaning you may infer from them.

You are welcome to submit Task 1 (only Task 1) to the tutor when completed – for general feedback. This is an optional task – but it will give you an early opportunity to check that you are on the right lines. Try and submit this work as early as you can but certainly within the first 4 weeks of the module.

Send it to: 

Once you have computed all the above statistics, prepare a Power Point Presentation (AC 3.3) entitled:


This will contain (fully labelled) graphical representations and trend lines, along with your interpretation of the descriptive statistics you have just calculated – presented as a series of bullet points, charts and graphs. As part of your presentation, be sure to comment on issues such as sample size, reliability and any potential bias in the sample. Introduce the data set and what it means. (AC 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 3.1, 3.3)

Make the presentation informative, logically-sequenced and visually appealing. Use a nice, eye-catching design and an interesting ‘transition’ between slides. Again, embed the actual Power Point file in your main Word document ± so it can be viewed.


Having computed and presented the statistics on your existing chosen data set, it is now time to produce a formal business report that builds on your downloaded open data by addressing the following tasks (AC 3.4):

(a) Create a plan of how to design and collect a robust sample of new additional data that can be added to your existing open data set. (AC 1.1)

(b) Produce a detailed explanation of any possible secondary sources of data which would be useful to use alongside this existing open data. Supply websites used. (AC 1.1)

(c) Present a firm justification of the survey methodology and sampling frame, including strategies for reducing any potential bias. (AC 1.2)

(d) Design (as an appendix) a draft questionnaire that could be used in the acquisition of this new additional data. Be sure to utilize the full range of question-styles from the module. (AC 1.3)

(a) Using suitable data from your data set (or using your imagination) fill in the following table…


Text Box:Text Box: 0Text Box: 1Text Box: 4Text Box: 5Text Box: 2Text Box: 3Period (Year)

Cash Outflow (£)

Cash Inflow (£)



Text Box: Page 4 of 10An example table – do NOT use these figures – use your own based on your own data set or imagination


Period   (Year)








Cash Outflow   (£)








Cash Inflow   (£)







Assuming a payback period of three years as a hurdle rate for any new project and a weighted cost of capital (WACC) of 5%, create an analysis of payback and discounted payback (use the WACC as the discount rate) (AC 4.3)

(b) Create an analysis of the net present value (AC 4.3)

(c) Draw conclusions and make a decision based on the financial criteria (AC 2.2, 4.3 & 4.1)

Hard cash is not the only potential obstacle when considering whether or not to embark on a new project. Any investors will need convincing that the project is feasible within a reasonable time-frame. This is where project management, network diagrams and critical path analysis comes into play.


Text Box: Page 5 of 10




Dependent Tasks

Time to





































An example table – do NOT use this data – use your own based on your own data set and your imagination




Dependent Tasks

Time to




Market research   & analysis of required resources


60 days



Hiring of new   staff/retaining existing staff


90 days



Acquisition of   new vehicles


30 days



Kitting out   vehicles in new company livery

A, C

21 days



Staff induction   and H & S training

A, B

14 days



Extending and   opening new on-site spa facilities

A, B, E

180 days



Promoting new   services

A, B, C, D, E, F

30 days

(d) Using your table, prepare a network diagram including a clearly highlighted critical pathway for your series of project stages. Place this work in an appendix. Explain if the project can be delivered on time if the acceptable time frame is 12 months or less. (AC 4.2)

To gain Merit and Distinction grades it is important to demonstrate that you fully understand the underlying concepts and theoretical ideas – so you should not only write down the figures but then explain the supporting concepts and interpret what these calculations actually mean – in a business decision-making sense. Also, remember to fully abide by the Harvard referencing notation – see the Study Skills section on ilearn. Make presentations polished and professional. Cover issues such as bias when discussing samples and surveys. In short, do the ‘nuts and bolts’ calculations, explain the underlying concepts, justify the meaning of those figures and generally give a deeper, more rounded answer.

1. You should write this assignment using standard Microsoft Office software – to ensure that the tutor can easily open and thus mark your work. No point doing a great assignment if the tutor cannot open and read that work. Therefore, use MS Excel for any spreadsheet work, MS PowerPoint for any presentation work and MS Word for the main assignment document. You should submit a SINGLE Word document containing ALL your assignment work – so embed the spreadsheet and presentation files as well as including appropriate (annotated) screenshots as part of your narrative. If unsure, email your tutor. Structure your assignment in the same way as outlined here and clearly label all tasks. There is a guide on embedding files on the discussion forum. Email me if still unsure.


2. Text Box: Page 6 of 10You must ensure that the submitted assignment is all your own work and that all sources used are correctly attributed. Penalties apply to assignments which show evidence of academic unfair practice. (See the Student Handbook which is in the Induction Area). Please also refer to the ‘Guide to Unfair Practice in Assessment’ on the module page on ilearn.

3. You MUST underpin your analysis and evaluation of the key issues with appropriate and wide ranging academic research and ensure this is referenced using the Arden University (AU) Harvard system. The My Study Skills Area contains the following useful resources:

Guide to Harvard Referencing Guide to Harvard Citation

You must use the AU Harvard Referencing method in your assignment.

4. You should use diagrams and tables of figures where appropriate ensuring to reference their source using the AU Harvard Referencing method.

5. You are required to write your assignment within 3000 words in order for your research and summarising skills to be developed, and for effective time management. You are required to ensure that the assignment addresses all of the assessment tasks. In the interests of good academic practice, an assignment submitted with excessive word counts (i.e. more than 10% in excess of the limit) will be returned to you. You will be given a maximum of 48 hours to edit the work to reduce the word count to the permitted maximum. In the event that the submission is still regarded as excessively long then, in line with advice received from Pearson, we will be unable to accept it for marking and you will receive a Refer grade for Non-Submission.

The word count excludes the title page, reference list and appendices. Where assessment questions have been reprinted from the assessment brief these will also be excluded from the word count. ALL other printed words ARE included in the word count. Printed words include those contained within charts and tables.

6. Your assignment should be submitted as a single document (with Excel & Power Point files embedded). For more information please see the “Guide to Submitting an Assignment” document available on the module page on iLearn.

Online CORE E-Book recommended for this course –

Davies, J., 2010. BTEC Level 4/5 HNC in Business [online]. UK: Pearson Higher Education.

Access to this E-Book is provided via the Vitalsource Bookshelf software – contact the Student Support Team for access code

BPP Learning Media. 2013. Business Essentials Business Decision Making. London: BPP Learning Media.

Curwen, J. and Slater, R., 2007. Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions. 6th Edition. London: Cengage Learning EMEA.


Text Box: Page 7 of 10Wisniewski, M. 2009. Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers. 5th Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.

Search on key module terms – just like with Google

Search on key module terms again

General Business… 



Project Planning…

Using Excel & PowerPoint…  


Assessment   Criteria for Pass

To achieve a pass, you must meet all of the assessment criteria as   stated below. Failure to cover all of the assessment criteria will result in   a referral grade and you will be required to   re-submit your assignment.

Further guidance on completion of your assignment can be found in the guidance notes which are posted on the   group learning space by your module   tutor. For additional support please post questions onto the group learning   space, or email [email protected]



Criteria Met
For tutor use

(you may wish to use this in your preparation for your assignment




LO1: Be   able to use a variety of sources for the collection of data, both primary and secondary.


1.1 Create a plan for the collection of primary   and secondary data for a given business problem.

3a, 3b


1.2 Present the survey methodology and sampling   frame used.



Text Box: Page 8 of 10


1.3 Design a   questionnaire for a given business problem



LO2:   Understand a range of techniques to analyse data effectively for business purposes.


2.1 Create   information for decision-making by summarizing data using representative   values.

1a, 1b, 1c, 2


2.2 Analyse the   results to draw valid conclusions in a business context.

2, 3


2.3 Analyse data using measures of dispersion to inform a given   business scenario.

1a, 1b, 1c, 1d


2.4 Explain how   quartiles, percentiles and the correlation coefficient are used to draw   useful conclusions in a business context.

1d, 1e, 2


LO3: Be able to produce   information in appropriate formats for decision-making   in an organizational context.


3.1 Produce   graphs using spreadsheet and draw valid conclusions based on the information   derived.

1a, 1b, 1c, 2


3.2 Create trend lines in spreadsheet graphs to assist in forecasting   for specified business information.



3.3 Prepare a business presentation using suitable software and

techniques to disseminate information effectively



3.4 Produce a   formal business report.



LO4: Be   able to use software-generated information to make decisions in an organization.


4.1 Use   appropriate information-processing tools.

1, 3


4.2 Prepare a   project plan for an activity and determine the critical path



4.3 Use   financial tools for decision-making

1, 3


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Assessment Criteria for Merit

To achieve a Merit all of the Pass criteria need to be met, then the   tutor will assess whether you have met the Merit Criteria. Each of the Merit   criteria must have been met at least once within the assignment.

The following statements are examples of how a merit may be achieved,   if you do meet the Merit Criteria by showing you have reached this level   in other ways then credit will be awarded for this. You will need to meet M1,   M2, M3 at least once.


M1: Identify and apply strategies to find appropriate solutions The student shows a critical appreciation   of the theoretical aspects covered in the module. This is particularly   evidenced with reference to Task 1 by interpreting the descriptive statistics and Task 2 by justifying   strategies and identifying possible bias.

1a-1e, 2


M2: Select/design and apply appropriate methods/techniques The student shows high quality use of the   formal presentation of their work as either a   presentation or as a report.



M3: Present and communicate appropriate findings

The student shows a high level of   analytical skill, using statistics and other tools to justify a business case and make solid recommendations, particularly in tasks 2 and 3.

Harvard referencing is used correctly – as laid out   in the RDI referencing guidelines.

Students have   completed work fully and on time.




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Assessment Criteria for Distinction

To achieve a Distinction, you   have met all of the Pass and the Merit criteria.   Each of the Distinction criteria must be met at least once within the   assignment.

The following statements are   examples of how a Distinction may be achieved,   if you do meet the Distinction Criteria by showing you have reached this   level in other ways then credit will be awarded for this. You will   need to meet D1,D2,D3 at least once.


D1: Use critical reflection to evaluate own   work and justify valid conclusions

The student shows a mastery of theoretical   aspects covered in the module by using tools and data to justify a strong business case. The use of   statistics is well contextualized and the presentation, discussion and analysis of information is contextualized in terms of the   business case.

Harvard referencing is used correctly – as laid out   in the RDI referencing guidelines.

Students have   completed work fully and on time.

1, 3, 4


D2: Take responsibility for managing and   organising activities The student   shows exceptional use of the formal presentation of their work as either a presentation or as a report.

Students have   completed work fully and on time.

2, 3


D3: Demonstrate convergent/lateral/ creative   thinking The student   shows an exceptional level of analytical skill, using statistics and other tools to justify a business case   and make solid recommendations, particularly in   tasks 1, 2 and 3.

1a-1e, 2, 3,


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