Profit, people and planet underpin Business Studies

As Head of Business Studies, Ms Lisa Ritchie knows she is teaching her students to do more than memorise information.

“We’re not teaching just to regurgitate facts and figures,” she says. “We’re teaching to expand students’ minds and to prompt them to think deeply about their world and why the people within it do the things they do.”

“Businesses have an impact on society and the environment, and this is increasingly reflected in the study of all Business Studies subjects which have, in one way or another, incorporated concepts such as corporate social responsibility, ethical considerations and intertemporal considerations/ externalities into course requirements,” explains Ms Ritchie.

“While our students expect to learn about profitability, marketing and business strategy, an insight into issues around sustainability and ethics, as part of the broader realm of Business Studies, should also be expected,” she says.

One of the ways we express this learning culture at Melbourne Grammar School is through an early introduction into concepts required for understanding business and investment in our world via the Triple Bottom Line – profit, people and planet.

“By teaching business through this concept, students can take account of the full cost involved in doing business, including the impact on people and the environment,” says Ms Ritchie. “They learn that the balance sheet is but one measure of success in the business world.

In addition to other Business Studies units offered across Melbourne Grammar, from 2020, the School will be offering a revised ‘Money Matters’ elective to Years 9 and 10. Developed by Ms Ritchie, in collaboration with her Business Studies colleagues, it will look at what money is and its place in society. “We’ll cover everything from the historical role of money to the functioning of cryptocurrencies,” she explains.

“If we can teach students about ideas such as why we invest, the value of ethical investment, and managing risk and return, these skills will serve them throughout their lives.”

Meet Ms Ritchie
Ms Lisa Ritchie comes to her new role at Melbourne Grammar with more than 20 years’ teaching experience. “At one stage I took a break from teaching to work as an accountant, but I realised I liked dealing with people more than paper,” Ms Ritchie explains. “I missed the classroom. I think it’s a privilege to work with young people.”

Ms Ritchie remembers the advice given to her by Headmaster, Mr Roy Kelley, as she took up her role at Melbourne Grammar. “Roy emphasised that my classroom practice and the strength of my relationships with the students were both equally important,” Ms Ritchie says, adding that she has felt genuine warmth from students since taking up her role. “Kindness in young men is something we don’t often hear about, but I see it every day at this School. The boys will often thank me as they leave a lesson and those acts of appreciation mean a great deal to me.”

After completing a Level 1 AFL coaching qualification, Ms Ritchie has coached AFL football at her previous school and is now enjoying coaching the 9C Football team. “Being involved with a sports team gives me a different connection to students,” Ms Ritchie explains. “I have a different, but equally valuable, rapport with them on the field and it helps to develop strong relationships with students you do not know from the classroom.”