WRITTEN CASE ANALYSES
Each of the written case analyses are individual projects and as such should reflect your own unique thinking and analysis about the case. Each case analysis must not exceed 5 typewritten, double-spaced pages (not including exhibits, of which an unlimited number are permitted), in a 12 point font, with one inch margins. This is a firm limit.
It is critical that you assume that I have read the case, so do not repeat history or facts unless in support of your argument. Be sure to demonstrate your value added beyond positions proposed within the case itself.
In grading your assignments, I look for effective use of the concepts, models, and techniques taught in this class. You should begin by identifying the problem or key issue facing the strategic decision maker in the case (this may be an area for “peeling the onion.”) You should use analytic tools (both strategic frameworks and quantitative analysis) to develop an answer to this strategic problem. The course concepts and conceptual frameworks should support your recommendation, which should be clearly articulated in the paper. Use exhibits to provide support for your strategic recommendation. I will be grading you on the choice of analytic tools, the effectiveness of your use of such tools, and on the support for and quality of the recommendation.
Please keep in mind that for the written case assignments you should use only that information presented in the case materials (i.e., no outside research on the company or industry is permitted).
Some helpful hints for the written papers:
• In the case write-ups, you are to provide a solution.
• Numerical analysis is a good idea. Please be sure that the analysis has something interesting to say (for example, simply calculating a growth rate in sales or a common-sized income statement is not particularly interesting), it is imperative that you discuss the implications of the numerical analysis on your overall analysis.
• Please include page numbers.
• Avoid the use of the passive tense. “A strategy for the company has been formulated” is unclear, as it does not indicate who created the strategy. “I recommend the following strategy for the company” is a much better phrase. Please note that the use of the first person will often make the paper much clearer.
• Be sure to footnote the source of all factual information. In general, all numbers in the text and the exhibits should be accompanied by information indicating its source (e.g., page number in the case or other assigned readings for this course).
• Please be sure to include dollar signs, percent signs, etc. Numbers should have identifying information attached, including the type of information (e.g., sales, income, and assets), the year of the information, and the company to whom this information applies.
• The exhibits should be placed in the same order that they are referred to in the text.
• Remember, a quality analysis outlines the issue up-front, uses the tools and techniques presented in class, and explores the pros and cons of alternative courses of action before settling on a specific recommendation.
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