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BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 1

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Senior Capstone Experience Guidelines 2017-18

Table of Contents

Overview ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Business Plan Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

CHAPTER 2: GENERAL COMPANY DESCRIPTION ………………………………………………………………………………… 3

CHAPTER 3: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 4: MARKET RESEARCH …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 5: MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION ……………………………………………………………………………… 6

Special Topic Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

Strategy Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7

ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

CHAPTER 2. ANALYZING THE INDUSTRY ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

CHAPTER 3. ANALYZING THE FIRM ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

CHAPTER 4. RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13

Research Ethics …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Managing Your Research ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Charts, Images, and Supplementary Material …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Draft Chapters …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Final Chapters ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Grading the Capstone …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Writing Guidelines …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19

DOCUMENT FORMAT: APA………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19

STYLE DO’S AND DON’TS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20

General Timeline ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21

APPENDIX A: Business Management Student Learning Objectives …………………………………………………………………. 22

APPENDIX B: Sample Cover Page ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23 BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 2

Overview

One of the defining elements of a Washington College education is the senior capstone (officially, the Senior Capstone Experience, SCE). The SCE in Business Management is an intensive individual project that requires extensive research, thoughtful analysis, and clear writing. There is no set length, but most capstones are at least 40 pages long (longer is not necessarily better). Because each student may choose (in consultation with a professor) his or her own capstone topic, the capstone gives you a chance to gain expertise and skills in an area of business or management of your choice, from marketing to finance to information systems.

Beyond research and knowledge, the capstone is an opportunity for you to exercise and display your thinking and communication skills—skills that are highly in demand from employers. A 2010 American Association of College and Universities survey found that 84% of business leaders want college students “to demonstrate a significant project before graduation, to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and a passion for a particular area, as well as their acquisition of broad analytical, problem solving, and communication skills.”

So the capstone is more than a graduation requirement: it’s one of the best ways to help you embark on a career.

Capstone tracks. There are three tracks for the senior capstone in Business Management: (1) the Business Plan

Capstone, (2) the Special Topic Capstone, and (3) the Strategy Capstone.

Course registration, grading and alignment with departmental student learning outcomes. The capstone counts as a course, BUS SCE. Students are enrolled in the 4-credit BUS SCE course in the senior year, usually in the final semester, by the Department Chair. The capstone receives a mark of Pass, Fail, or Honors. Grading is aligned with several Business Management student learning outcomes: managerial knowledge, critical thinking, communication skills, and ethical awareness. Global awareness is incorporated in all Strategy capstones and many other capstones depending on the nature of the topic chosen. Collaboration skills are not an element of the SCE.

Double majors. Most double-major Capstones will fall into the Business Management Department’s ‘special topic’ track (see below), which provides considerable flexibility in designing, researching, and writing the Capstone. The Department encourages double majors to write a single integrated Capstone that can be submitted for both majors. . When faced with timelines from two departments, students should expect earlier ones to take precedence. Double majors can only earn 4 total SCE credits, even if they write two Capstones.

Application and timeline. The first step in pursuing your Senior Capstone is to complete the SCE application form found at http://bit.ly/2j2k2sr. Please see the last page of this document for due dates.

Business Plan Capstone

Students interested in learning what goes into starting a business can get a head start on launching their own enterprises by writing a Business Plan capstone. Students interested in this track should take BUS 320

Entrepreneurship. It is also recommended but not required that students interested in the business plan track take

BUS 212 Managerial Accounting.

Students desiring to pursue this track must meet these initial eligibility criteria:

 WC GPA of at least 2.75

 BUS GPA of at least 3.00

 

Students interested in the Business Plan capstone will indicate their business idea on the SCE application and follow up by submitting a complete application a neat, well-written, double-spaced proposal that includes the following elements.

  1. a) the business idea (description of the products/services)
  2. b) pertinent current trends in the industry/business; growth potential
  3. c) description of your core competencies that will support the business
  4. d) description of what makes your idea/business unique

BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 3

 

This track is limited to a maximum of 10 students who will be accepted based on the quality of their proposals. Students who are not accepted to write a business plan capstone will write a strategy capstone instead.

The purpose of business plans are to serve as a roadmap for the entrepreneur to follow in establishing his or her business, to determine if the proposed business will be profitable, to identify strategies to minimize risk, and to provide required information for applying for bank financing of the enterprise. The business plan will consist of the following sections:

BUSINESS PLAN

ABSTRACT

The abstract comes first but gets written last. It is a summary of what you did and what you found: your argument in a nutshell, in 150 to 250 words. The abstract is the only part of your capstone that most people will read if you choose to have the library archive your work, so write it with care.

BUSINESS PLAN

CHAPTER 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This section should be written next to last and not exceed two pages. It should include everything that would be covered in a brief interview with prospective financial backers:

 Name

 Location

 Description of product or services

 Target market statement

 Legal structure

 Differentiation from competition

 What does the future hold for your business or industry?

 Business goals: include measurable short term (1 year) and long term (3 year)

 

BUSINESS PLAN

CHAPTER 2: GENERAL COMPANY DESCRIPTION

This section examines the nature of your firm and the environment in which you will compete. It should include:

 Mission Statement

 Company goals: where do you want your company to be in one year, in two years?

 Company objectives: what are the progress markers to reach each goal? How will you know when you have reached each goal? How will you measure each goal?

 Business philosophy: what is important to you in the business?

 Describe your chosen industry.

 Describe your target market.

 What are your company core strengths and competencies?

 What will be the legal form of the business? Why did you select that form over other recognized forms?

 

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BUSINESS PLAN

CHAPTER 3: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Describe in depth your products and/or services. What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages? Include pricing, fees, leasing structure, etc.

BUSINESS PLAN

CHAPTER 4: MARKET RESEARCH

Include both primary and secondary research. Primary research consists of gathering your own data (ex. traffic count, focus groups); secondary research is gathered from published information (ex. demographic profiles, trade journals, literature review). Address the following elements. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 4

 

Economics. Facts about your industry.

 What size is your market?

 What present share will you have?

 What is the current demand in the target market?

 What are the current trends?

 Growth potential

 What barriers to entry will you face (ex. high capital costs, training/skills) and how do you overcome these barriers?

 

Products/Services. In your earlier description of products/services, you described your products and services as you see them. In this section, describe them from your customers’ point of view. For each product or service:

 Describe the most important features. What is special about the product/service?

 Describe the benefits. What will the product/service do for the customer?

 What after-the-sale services will you provide (ex. delivery, warranty, follow-up)?

 

Customer. Identify the most important groups and for each group, construct a profile that includes:

 Age

 Gender

 Location

 Income level

 Social class/occupation

 Education

 Other (specific to your industry)

 

For business customers, factors might include:

 Industry

 Location

 Size of firm

 Quality, technology, price preferences

 Other (specific to your industry)

 

Competition. What products/companies will compete with you? List your major competitors (provide names and addresses). How will your product/services compare with the competition? Include a short paragraph stating your competitive advantages.

Niche. In one short paragraph, define your niche, your unique corner of the market.

Strategy. Your marketing strategy should be consistent with your niche.

Promotion.

 How will you get the word out to potential customers?

 Advertising: what media, why and how often?

 What image do you want to project? What plan do you have for graphic image support (logo design, letterhead, brochures)?

 Should you have a system to identify repeat customers?

 

Promotional Budget. How much will you spend on items listed above before startup and on an ongoing basis?

Pricing. Explain your method of setting prices. Compare your prices with those of the competition. Are they higher, lower or the same? Why? What will be your customer service and credit policies?

Proposed Location.

 Is your location important to your customers? If yes, how?

 Is it convenient?

 Is it consistent with your image?

 Is it what your customers want and expect?

 Where is the competition located? Is it better to be near them or distant?

BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 5

 

Distribution Channels. How will you sell your products or services?

 Retail

 Direct (web, mail order, catalog)

 Wholesale

 Your own sales force

 Agents

 Independent representatives

 Bid on contracts

 

Sales Forecast. Monthly projection based on historical data, marketing strategies you described, market research, and industry data. You may want to include a “best guess” scenario and a “worst case” scenario that you are confident you can reach no matter what happens.

Operational Plan. Explain the daily operation of the business, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.

Production. Explain your methods of:

 Production techniques and costs

 Quality control

 Customer service

 Inventory control

 Product development

 

Location. What qualities will you need in a location? Describe the type of location you will have including physical requirements and access.

 Construction: costs and specifications

 Cost: rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance, initial remodeling

 What will your business hours be?

 

Legal Environment.

 Licensing and bonding requirements

 Permits

 Health, workplace and environmental regulations

 Special regulations covering your specific industry of profession

 Zoning or building code requirements

 Insurance coverage

 Trademarks, copyrights, patents

 

Personnel. Facts about your industry.

 Number of employees

 Type of labor (skilled, unskilled, professional)

 Where and how will you find the right employees?

 Pay structure and benefits

 Training methods and requirements

 Who does which tasks?

 Do you have a schedule and written procedures prepared?

 Have you drafted employee job descriptions for each position?

 For certain functions, will you use contract workers in addition to employees?

 

Inventory. What kind of inventory will you keep? Will you need seasonal buildups? Lead time for ordering?

Suppliers. Include names and addresses, type and amount of inventory furnished, credit and delivery policies, history and reliability

Credit Policies. Do you plan to sell on credit? Explain.

Financial. Prepare a start-up financial profile (monies needed to get the business going before you have sold anything). Include: BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 6

 

 

 Cash – initial amount and sources

 Capital expenditures

 Debt incurred and projected repayment schedule

 Needed ongoing monies to meet fixed and variable expenses until the business begins to generate a profit

 Length of time you believe it will be until the business generates a profit: best and worst cases (be realistic)

 

Pro formas. Prepare 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year financial projections for the business including:

 Income statement

 Balance sheet

 Cash flow projection

 Debt reduction statement

 Additional anticipated capital expenses based on market/product expansion

 

BUSINESS PLAN

CHAPTER 5: MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION

Who will manage the business day-to-day? What experience does that person bring to the business? If you will have more than ten employees, create an organization chart. Include position descriptions for each employee and function, and if you are seeking loans or investors, include a resume for key employees.

Professional and Advisory Support.

 Board of Directors

 Management Advisory Board

 Attorney

 Accountant

 Insurance Agent

 Banker

 Consultant as needed

 Mentors/Key advisors

 

Special Topic Capstone

The Special Topic capstone is a research-oriented project reflecting the student’s interests and collaboration between the student and faculty advisor. Topics might include an integrated capstone (for double majors), a series of interviews in a particular industry or career path, a research study of a selected business or management topic, or empirical research tied to presentation at an academic conference. Students desiring to pursue this track are encouraged to directly request a business management faculty member to serve as capstone advisor well before the SCE application due date.

Students desiring to pursue this track must meet these initial eligibility criteria:

 WC GPA of at least 2.75

 BUS GPA of at least 3.00

 

Students interested in the special topic capstone will indicate their topic on the SCE application and follow up by submitting a well-written, one-page project description along with an outline of chapters and a reference list consisting of at least three credible, preferably peer-reviewed, sources that provide background and insight into the topic chosen.

Final determination of the student being able to pursue this track will be made upon review of the proposal. Students who are not accepted to write a special topic capstone will write a strategy capstone instead. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 7

 

Strategy Capstone

The Strategy capstone is the most popular track. In it, each student makes an intensive study of the recent activities and business results of one publicly traded firm, studied in its competitive environment, its industry. The Strategy capstone provides an excellent synthesis of all the major elements comprising the business management major: facility with statistics and financial analysis, ability to read financial statements, understanding of key business areas like marketing, information systems, organizational structure and leadership, the legal environment, and strategic management.

The Strategy capstone presents research, analysis, and recommendations on a firm’s operations and strategy. In other words, in this capstone the student studies what a firm tries to do within its competitive environment, what it actually does, and how successful it is. There are restrictions on what firms may be chosen for the Strategy capstone. Firms must be publicly traded, to ensure there will be sufficient financial information available, and firms studied within the recent past may not be chosen.

Any business management major may pursue the Strategy capstone. You may request a particular faculty member to serve as capstone advisor; if you do not, an advisor will be assigned to you. However, it is required that in your SCE application, you submit your first three choices for the firm that you will study (be sure to select companies that are not on list of ineligible firms provided). Mrs. Christy Rowan, the department administrative assistant, will confirm which firm you will study; in the event that none of your choices are available, you will be required to submit two new choices. When choosing firms, it can be helpful to think first in terms of industry sectors that you find most interesting (and perhaps may be pursuing a career in) and then identify major players.

The first assignment for students pursuing Strategy capstones is to read your firm’s most recent annual report, concentrating on the written essay generally found at the beginning of the report, and skimming the rest of the report to identify financial and other information included. You will submit a written reflection of the information found in the annual report, identifying at least ten significant things you learned. For instance, you may learn who the firm considers to be its major competitors, or what market opportunities are thought to be most promising for the future.

The Strategy capstone is not a defense of the firm. Students researching a firm sometimes make the mistake of thinking they are an advocate for the firm. This is not an appropriate perspective. Your role is to be an independent, objective source of information for senior management and/or investors. If you see problems, it is your duty to point them out. In fact, in the world beyond college, courage in calling out underperforming companies is a valuable and sought-after quality in business analysts. More broadly, moral courage, which includes the willingness to point out difficult truths and rely on your own honest judgment, is one of the College’s and Department’s core values.

The intended audience for the Strategy capstone is the audience for any similar analysis of a firm and its industry: potential investors, either individuals or institutional investors. What do potential investors want to know, and what do they need to know, to make an informed investment decision about the firm? Similarly, if making recommendations for senior management, think in terms of what they need to know in order to improve the performance of the firm. Keep your intended audience in mind as you write your capstone.

The Strategy capstone draws primarily on research and analytic techniques students have learned over the course of the major. It draws on material in the core BUS courses: BUS 112 (reading financial statements), BUS 202 (marketing analysis), BUS 109 (or MAT 109) (managerial statistics), BUS 209 (analyzing financial data), BUS 210 (management information systems), BUS 302 (organizational dynamics and leadership), BUS 303 (legal environment of business), and BUS 401 (strategic management). In addition, good capstones should draw on knowledge gained from meeting the Global Learning requirement to view all of the above through an international perspective.

The Strategy capstone consists of four chapters, plus an abstract, references, and optional additional material.

STRATEGY CAPSTONE

ABSTRACT

The abstract comes first but gets written last. It is a summary of what you did and what you found: your argument in a nutshell, in 150 to 250 words. The abstract is the only part of your capstone that most people will read if you choose BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 8

 

to have the library archive your work, so write it with care.

STRATEGY CAPSTONE

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

Chapter 1 tells the reader what you’re studying and provides useful information on how you did your research. Since

it provides an overview, you will write it when you’ve written the rest of the capstone.

Topic. What you studied. A Strategy capstone typically studies the past five years of a company’s operations within

its industry setting.

Assessment. How you define the firm’s strategic success. To gauge the effectiveness of your company’s generic and corporate strategies, you need a clear measure of assessment to apply against your company’s performance. Hard numbers like net profit, earnings per share, and market share tend to be the best bottom-line assessments, especially when put in comparative perspective. If you wish to use an alternative metric or technique, for instance, a balanced scorecard, please explain.

Methods. How you conducted research. What sources did you use? (SEC.gov, S&P, Hoover’s, business periodicals, etc.). Did you employ any unusual methods, like interviews or attending trade shows?

Industry Benchmark. The industry benchmark is the quantitative heart of your strategic analysis. It provides key data for measuring and evaluating the performance of the industry, and how your firm compares to its competitors. The point is that numbers without a basis for comparison don’t tell much, whereas a sensible comparison with relevant firms and a good benchmark provide lots of insight into a firm’s strategic success.

The benchmark consists of a weighted average (weighted by sales) of key firms in the industry (weights adjusted for each year of data). In particular, the benchmark will include the three or four competitor firms, as well as your chosen firm. The benchmark should be calculated over a four- or five-year period (four years is the minimum amount of data you need: to compute a three-year Compound Annual Growth Rate [CAGR], for instance, you need four years of data). Later on, when you compile these and other numbers, you probably won’t wish to display more than one, or sometimes two, decimal places. Your detailed financial ratio analysis, which draws on the benchmark, will occur in chapter 3. You should complete your benchmark data gathering by the fall deadline; this will give you more time in the spring to analyze your data.

Here, in this initial section in the first chapter, your job is simply to tell the reader how you constructed the benchmark. That means identifying the firms you chose. For each firm, you should include a short (20 to 50 words) snapshot that provides key business information, and helps make clear why you chose the firm. In addition, you should briefly describe the process of constructing the benchmark, drawing on and perhaps expanding the explanation above.

If you excluded any major competitors from the benchmark (for instance because it is a privately held company or its stock is not traded in the United States), explain why you did so.

Key Findings. A summary of your key findings and recommendations. A good plan is to provide a paragraph summary for each chapter, or you may make use of bullet points, if convenient.

STRATEGY CAPSTONE

CHAPTER 2. ANALYZING THE INDUSTRY

As you learn in BUS 401, there are two fundamental levels of strategic analysis: industry-level analysis and company-level analysis. In other words, business strategists and observers study a firm and its competitive environment. Chapter 2 explores the competitive environment in detail. This includes more than the industry itself—it covers everything in the firm’s environment that affects its operations, from the economy and politics to the physical environment, technology, and demographics. But the focus is the industry, and you are expected to develop a good understanding of the industry your firm is in.

Industry Background (SIC, NAICS, or GICS data; industry definition; history; current snapshot; recent changes or highlights) BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 9

 

It is recommended that you include one or more snapshot or trend charts here to help make sense of the industry. These charts can quickly provide an understanding of key metrics like overall industry size, revenues, key competitors, and trends. There is no required chart, but it is likely that well-designed visual presentation of quantitative data will help you get your story off to a strong start with your reader.

Ethics and Current Events

A summary or selection of popular-press coverage over the past three to five years, with special attention to ethical issues. Choose topics that pertain to your key insights about the industry, rather than just a grab-bag. In strong capstones, the topics covered in this section relate to the key points about the industry and are woven into a narrative that organizes and clarifies the key points.

Stock Summary

One significant source of finance for publicly traded firms is the issuance of stock. Your research should include answers to the following questions for your firm and its benchmark competitors for the most recent year common to all firms for which data is available:

 What is each company’s stock trading symbol?

 Where is the stock listed?

 How many shares of common stock are outstanding?

 What is the market value of common equity?

 What’s the beta coefficient of the company stock?

 Did the company pay a dividend in the past year? If yes, what are the dividend yield and payout ratio?

 

Since this section on stock financials includes lots of numbers and not a lot of text, you may find it convenient to present this section as a table rather than as a written narrative.

Sales and Market Share Growth Rates

You’ll use benchmark data to construct sales and market share growth rates. For most firms, the most recent available data will follow this 3-year CAGR formula for sales:

(2016 revenue ÷ 2013 revenue)⅓ -1

PESTEL (or similar framework)

The PESTEL analytic framework encourages a strategic overview of external environment characteristics. It covers six analytic areas:

 Political analysis

 Economic analysis

 Sociocultural analysis

 Technological analysis

 Environmental analysis

 Legal analysis

 

You don’t have to follow this exact PESTEL format. As long as you cover these broad areas, you may organize this material as you wish. It’s common, for instance, to combine political and legal analysis.

Porter’s Five-Forces Model

Prof. Michael Porter’s famous five-forces model helps identify the forces that determine the basic competitive structure of an industry:

 Rivalry

 Threat of entry and exit barriers

 Supplier power

 Buyer power

 Threat of substitutes

 

Strategic Group Map

The Strategic Group Map is an optional element of the strategy capstone. It is a two-by-two graphical representation of industry competition, including your firm and key competitor firms. There is no one right way

to do a strategic group map. It is important to choose metrics for the x-axis and y-axis that help convey important competitive information about competition among these key firms. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 10

 

It is especially important to avoid choosing metrics for both axes that measure, directly or by proxy, size. If you do so for both axes, you’ll end up with a strategic group map or graph that slopes neatly at 45 degrees; this will most likely tell us nothing interesting about the industry or the firm. (Suggestion: For firms in an industry with global competition, one useful metric for the x-axis is often percent of sales outside of the United States.)

Summary

You should end up with a few key points about the company’s external environment. Since you should be repeating, for emphasis, points you’ve made earlier in the chapter, you don’t need to cite them as if they were

new information. We recommend that you organize your summary in terms of key opportunities and threats or

challenges facing companies in the industry. These will set the stage for the SWOT analysis you’ll present in

Chapter 4.

STRATEGY CAPSTONE

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CHAPTER 3. ANALYZING THE FIRM

Chapter 3 focuses on the firm itself. This includes the firm’s history, leadership, structure, and operations. (Style note: remember that a firm is singular, not plural. Don’t use “they” or “their” when talking about your company; use “it” and “its.”)

Company Background (history, vision and mission, highlights, snapshot of current operations, and key recent events). The background provides a quick, concise overview of the company’s history, key moments in its life, a snapshot of current operations (here’s a good place for a table that summarizes key numbers like sales, units sold, key markets, etc.), and key recent events, like a concise mention of a leadership change. The vision and mission are included here to capture the firm’s statement about what it does and how it does it; you will refer back to them in your analysis in subsequent sections of this chapter. This is really an introduction to chapter 3,

so your main job is to set up the rest of the discussion. It is likely that you’ll come back and rewrite this opening bit after you’ve written the rest of chapter 3.

Ethics and Current Events

A summary or selection of popular-press coverage over the past three to five years, with special attention to key

ethical issues. The topics you choose to cover should relate to your key points about the firm (you’ve already covered ethics and current events for the industry in general). In a good capstone, this should not be a random list of articles, but rather, a well-informed narrative. That means that you should read extensively, and pull out a few key issues, rather than listing many minor stories or events.

Now we get into the analytical heart of chapter 3. You’ll recognize that the following sections draw on topics and learning from previous classes in the major:

Organizational Analysis

This section provides information on the company’s organizational structure, leadership, and organizational culture.

Structure. What kind of organizational structure does the firm possess (functional, divisional, matrix, or something else)? How does the firm explain the logic of its organizational structure? Include a formal organizational chart showing the firm’s formal organizational structure.

Overall, is the firm’s structure typical of its industry? Has it recently reorganized or announced a reorganization? Is so, why? What was or is the strategic intention of the change?

What is the firm’s corporate governance structure (Board of Directors)? Provide an overall assessment of the board—its size, stability, and effectiveness. How does it compare to industry norms? Is its board viewed as effective by industry observers?

Have outsourcing, alliances, joint ventures, or informal partnerships with other firms, suppliers, or customers been strategically significant for the firm? If so, concisely describe them.

Leadership. How stable has senior leadership been in the years covered by your research? Who are the key executives? Provide snapshots of CEO, COO, CIO, and any other key senior executives who you determine play a significant role in guiding the company’s strategic operations. If the firm is facing a likely leadership change in the BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 11

 

CEO position soon (within three years), what succession planning, if any, is being done?

Culture. Along with structure and leadership, culture helps hold organizations together. What kind of culture does this firm possess? Some firms may have extensive press coverage that sheds light on their culture, but for many firms there will not be very much news coverage of their culture. In such cases, useful sources of information within the firm are likely to be departments of Human Resources and Investor Relations. In addition, speeches by the CEO or other senior leaders may be good sources of information about the firm’s culture. Websites like Glassdoor.com provide rich if unverified sources of information on company cultures from an employee perspectives; as long as these are treated cautiously, they can shed a lot of light on what a company’s culture ‘really’ feels like to workers.

Here are key questions about your company’s culture you should consider: What are the firm’s core values as articulated by its vision or mission statement? How stable has the culture been? Is the organization’s culture similar to industry norms, or distinctive? Have there been recent changes or tensions about culture (especially likely in cases of merger and acquisition)? Keep in mind that what a firm claims as its formal, “espoused” values may not be exactly the same as what employees within the firm perceive as the daily reality. Ideally, your job as an analyst is to try to look beyond the “espoused” surface and see more deeply into the heart of the organization you are studying. Summing up this analysis, do you think its culture is a distinctive strength, or a weakness?

Marketing Analysis

Use the four P’s of marketing (product, place, price, and promotion) to assess the company’s marketing performance. Note: If the firm you are studying is a conglomerate with products in different markets (as will be the case for many firms studied in strategy capstones), with different approaches to marketing for different products and product lines, it is suggested that you pick one product area and focus on it. If you do so, please

note this so your reader understands what you’re doing.

A purely narrative discussion is not acceptable: select useful quantitative measures to buttress your analysis of these specific points:

 Has the company segmented the market? If so, how? Why? Multiple segments? Are the segments growing? Contracting? Stable?

Product: What is the product, really? Who buys it? Does the product possess brand equity?

Place: What are the distribution channels? Direct to consumer? Opportunity for new channels by your company? By a competitor? Multiple channels? Who has the channel power? Retailer? Manufacturer?

Price: Skimming? Penetration? Value? Low? High? Differential?

Promotion: What is the unique selling proposition (USP)? Brand promise? Channels?

 

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Management Information Systems Analysis

This section provides an understanding of information systems key to the firm’s success. Management information systems is defined as the ethical use of information systems to help organizations achieve their goals and objectives.

Which corporate goals and objectives are supported by the firm’s use of information systems? Does the use of information technology reflect the firm’s vision, culture and ethics? How does the firm distribute power among stakeholders through the use of information systems?

What are the key business processes within the firm? For these key business processes, what transactional systems (such as ERP) does the firm employ? Does the firm compete on analytics as well as on operations? How does the firm use analytics as a competitive tool?

Since information systems are internal to the corporation, it may be difficult to obtain this information. One way to peer into the inner workings of the firm is to look at job postings for information systems positions on sites such as Monster.com; many times these postings, will reveal which systems the firm uses, giving you a starting point for your research. High-profile firms may also be used as case studies by information systems firms promoting their technology products and services.

Financial Analysis

The section on financial analysis is one of the most challenging—and important—parts of the strategy capstone.

First, you must gather extensive amounts of financial information and derive pertinent ratios that help tell the story of BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 12

 

your company. Second, you must think about how best to present that information to help your reader gain insight. Third, you must analyze and reflect on this extensive amount of information to draw key lessons about your firm’s successes and challenges, as compared to its industry benchmark. Your analysis should include graphs and charts as appropriate, showing how the firm’s financial performance compares to the benchmark (your designated proxy for the industry average); a company’s financials by themselves, without the context of competitive comparison, don’t carry much meaning.

In some instances, your analysis may be complicated by anomalies or data gaps, where a corporate merger or privatization or other one-time event makes gathering data complicated or even impossible. There are no easy rules about how to deal with these complications: expect to consult with your faculty advisor on how to handle problematic cases.

Financial Ratios: Using your weighted benchmark, compare company performance to benchmark ratios over a four- or five-year period. Ratio analysis should include these elements, where pertinent:

  1. Liquidity Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to pay off its short-term debt.

 Current Ratio = Current assets/Current liabilities

 Quick (Acid-Test) Ratio = (Current assets – Inventory)/Current liabilities

 

  1. Activity Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to use its assets to generate sales.

 Total Asset Turnover = Sales/Average total assets

 Inventory Turnover = Cost of goods sold/Average inventory

 

  1. Debt Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to raise and pay off long-term debts.

 Debt Ratio = Total debts/Total assets

 Equity Multiplier = Total assets/Total equity

 TIE (Times interest earned) Ratio=EBIT (Earnings before interest and taxes)/Interest

 

  1. Profitability Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to generate profits.

 Net Profit Margin = Net income/Sales

 ROE = Net income/Total equity

 For firms that produce and/or sell a tangible product, it’s also useful to compare gross profit margin, operating margin, and net profit margin.

 

  1. DuPont Identity: The DuPont Identity analyzes ROE as a product of three other ratios identified above: operating efficiency (Net Profit Margin), asset use efficiency (Total Asset Turnover), and financial leverage (Equity Multiplier). The DuPont Identity is expressed like this:

ROE = Net Profit Margin × Total Asset Turnover × Equity Multiplier

Use the DuPont Identity to analyze how the ROE of your company has been affected by its three components over the past three to five years.

Critical Reflection: Along with presenting your ratio data in the form of tables and/or charts, you are expected to analyze and reflect on what story or stories the ratios tell, to shed light on the financial and strategic situation of your particular firm. After presenting and discussing your ratios one by one, you should step back to consider three big questions at the close of this section on financial ratios:

 Has the company’s financial performance been good or bad?

 Is its financial position sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals?

 How does its financial position compare with industry benchmarks?

 

Concisely justify your answers to these questions.

Business (Generic) Strategy

Identify the firm’s chief business (sometimes called generic) strategy for its lead products. How stable has this strategy been? Compare the company’s generic strategy with industry norms, and assess its effectiveness. Note: you should tie this effectiveness of the firm’s generic strategy to the success measure presented in chapter 1. This helps tie your analysis together. In practice, since you’ll write chapter 1 after you’ve worked up the analysis here, that means that BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 13

 

your analysis of the generic strategy here will help you select an appropriate success measure in chapter 1.

Corporate Strategy

Corporate strategy is often misunderstood, and a good capstone will distinguish itself by getting corporate strategy right. Corporate strategy is different from business strategy, which centers on how to do one thing really well. Firms that only do one thing (for example, Living Essentials, which makes and markets the 5-Hour Energy brand) don’t face the challenges of diversification, and thus of corporate level strategy. But most publicly traded firms studied in strategy capstones have become complex and diversified enough that they do face the challenge of corporate strategy.

A firm’s corporate strategy refers to how to do many things in an optimal fashion. As successful firms grow, they tend to diversify—entering new markets, taking on new activities, and facing new choices about how to allocate resources. Corporate strategy refers to this juggling act, the challenge of making decisions about what portfolio of assets to hold.

If this is relevant to your firm, identify its corporate strategy or strategies. How does its approach compare to industry norms? How stable and effective has its corporate strategy been? What kinds of acquisitions has it made, and have they been effective? What is likely to lie ahead?

Summary

You should end up with a few key points about the company’s operations. Since you should be repeating, for emphasis, points you’ve made earlier in the chapter, you don’t need to cite them as if they were new information. We recommend that you organize your summary in terms of the firm’s key strengths and weaknesses. These will set the stage for the SWOT analysis you’ll present in Chapter 4.

STRATEGY CAPSTONE

CHAPTER 4. RECOMMENDATIONS

Chapter 4 begins by summarizing your research in a SWOT analysis, then looks to the future.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a powerful clarifying tool for strategic analysis. And the good news is that you’ve already done the analysis! At the end of Chapter 2 you presented key opportunities and threats in the company’s external environment. At the end of Chapter 3 you presented the firm’s key strengths and weaknesses. All you have to do now is put them together in a simple two-by-two matrix, like this: Positive Negative
Internal Strengths Weaknesses
External Opportunities Threats

 

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Assignment 1 BUSI 3308


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 Assignment 1 BUSI 3308

Section 2

Due: September 27 by 6:00pm

You are required to submit Question 1 as a Word document and Question 2 as an Excel spreadsheet.

Please submit both files together to Moodle before the above due date and time. This assignment is

worth 10%

Question 1

Reflect on what you know about Wal-Mart, which is considered one of the world’s largest retailers. It

may also be helpful to review their website (walmart.ca). Think about the variety and number of

products and services offered, checkout lines, store locations, shipping and delivery, etc., and answer

the following four questions.

  1. What type of Customer Benefit Package (CBP) do you think Wal-Mart offers? Briefly describe

your answer.

  1. Choose any three key activities that operation managers perform on page 4 of your textbook.

How might they relate to Wal-Mart’s operations processes?

  1. A critical component of Wal-Mart’s operations management includes their i.

warehouse/distribution center’s locations and ii. retail locations. What process-thinking

variables do you think Wal-Mart needs to take into consideration when deciding on each of

those location types?

  1. Identify and briefly present 4 preproduction and 4 postproduction services that may form part

of Wal-Mart’s value chain.

Word count for Question 1: 550-700 words.

Make sure to use the correct sentence structure, grammar, and spelling.

Question 2

Please answer the following questions in Excel. Make sure to include all formulas.

  1. Compute a 5-period moving average forecast for December using the following actual data:

Period Actual

June 10

July 20

August 30

September 40

October 50

November 60

  1. Using the following data, use a smoothing constant of 0.2 and determine the adjusted forecast

for period 7 by applying simple exponential smoothing.

Period Actual Forecast

1 80

2 202

3 200

4 300

5 303

6 306

  1. Using the following data, use a smoothing constant of 0.5 and determine the adjusted forecast

for 2005 by applying simple exponential smoothing.

Period Actual Forecast Adjusted Forecast

2001 101 120

2002 134

2003 135

2004 178

  1. Using the linear trend equation method, calculate the forecasts for years 2015 and 2016 using

the following data:

Year Demand

2010 100

2011 105

2012 107

2013 110

2014 112

Bonus points: Calculate R2 using the above information. What does the result tell you about

the data?

  1. Car Inc. has presented you with the following information consisting of the forecasted demand

and actual sales for their latest sports car. Use the following information to calculate the mean

square error.

Period Forecasted Demand Actual Demand

1 50 63

2 70 65

3 40 44

4 80 72

5 96 100

Bonus Points: Using the information in part (e), calculate the MAD and MAPE.

  1. A local factory has been purchasing a particular spare part from a manufacturer in Alberta. In

order to better budget their financials, they want to know what is the likely per-unit price of the

spare part in 2018 based on previous prices.

Using y=a +bt, compute the forecasted price for 2018.

Year Price/Unit

2013 $3.24

2014 $3.25

2015 $3.65

2016 $3.60

2017 $3.88

2018 ?

  1. Company Y produces chocolate bars. The following data represents the production inputs and

chocolate outputs for Year 1 and Year 2.

Year 1 Year 2

Cost of Raw Materials $20,000 $41,000

Electricity Cost $6,000 $7,300

Labor $200,000 $412,000

Miscellaneous Input Costs $5,000 $7,000

Number of Chocolate Bars Produced 120,000 units 230,000 units

Using the above data, has productivity increased or decreased from Year 1 to Year 2?

  1. Using the appropriate formula, calculate the Value of a Loyal Customer using the following

data:

Customer purchasing pattern: One unit every 5 years

Price of unit paid by customer: $200

Gross margin per unit: 70%

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Library Research Assignment (LRA) #1
LRA 1: Essential Guidelines
HIST 105, RCI, F-2016, RC Weller
40 pts (4% of overall grade)

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*Write your answers out in a separate document, numbering the questions and answers clearly as
shown/instructed. When finished, save your work in WORD document format and upload it in the Dropbox on
Bb. Be sure that you have completed the assignment properly before uploading it on Blackboard. You cannot
resubmit.
*Be sure to include the standard assignment heading for this and all assignments at the very top of your paper,
as follows:
HIST 105, RCI (___ am/pm), F-2016, Dr. Weller
Name of Assignment, Due Date
Your Full Name, WSU ID, WSU Email Address, Row #
Q1: List five contemporary issues in which you are interested. They should be topics or
stories which have been in the news within the past year (2015-2016). Your selected
topics/stories cannot be vague and general. (For example, “Racism in the World Today” or “Global
Warming and Climate Change.”) They must be about *specific* issues, that is, issues involving specific
political, national, ethnic, religious, cultural, racial, gender, sexual or other groups in specific places at
specific times. (For example, “The Problem of Human and Child Trafficking in India,” “The Rise of ISIS in
Middle Eastern and Global Affairs,” or “The Crisis of Melting Tundra across Alaska, Northern Canada, and
Siberia.”)
List the topics as if they were titles for a research paper (5-10 words each). Be sure to number each
answer (1A- First Topic Title; 1B- Second Topic Title; 1C- Third Topic Title; 1D- Fourth Topic Title; 1EFifth
Topic Title). Use specific facts from the State of the World Atlas and/or specific news stories from the
following world news sites to help you if needed:
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/world/index.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world
http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/21/world/top-stories-year-talking-2015-feat/
http://www.worldbulletin.net/22/world
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/world
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/
https://www.rt.com/news/
————————————————————————————————————————–
Q2: Select Your Research Topic from the list above and Name the Two Course Themes with
which it most clearly, directly connects. This course employs five broad themes common to all who
live in contemporary global society and those who have lived in centuries past. They are: 1- humans and the
environment, 2- “our shrinking world” (which refers to ‘global interconnectedness’), 3- inequality (racial,
gender, sexual, and other), 4- diverse ways of thinking (between religions, cultures, civilizations, or about
politics, economic systems, etc.) and conflict (religious, cultural, ethnic, racial, political, etc.).
Library Research Assignment (LRA) #1
As above, your selected research topic cannot be vague and general. (For example, “Racism in the World
Today” or “Global Warming and Climate Change.”) It must be about a *specific* issue, that is, an issue
involving specific political, national, ethnic, religious, cultural, racial, gender, sexual or other groups in
specific places at specific times. (For example, “The Problem of Human and Child Trafficking in India,” “The
Rise of ISIS in Middle Eastern and Global Affairs,” or “The Crisis of Melting Tundra across Alaska, Northern
Canada, and Siberia.”). After stating research topic, explain briefly how at least 2 of these themes relate to/tie
into your chosen topic (30-50 words total). Clearly distinguish the two parts of this question as
follows:
2A- Research Topic (5-10 words)
2B- Connection to Two Course Themes (30-50 words total)
————————————————————————————————————————–
Q3: Locate and Cite one Newspaper Article which relates to your selected research topic to
use as a ‘Contemporary Documentary Source’ in your Final Research Paper (FRP)
Go to the WSU Library Newspapers LibGuide on the WSU Library website. (If you need help finding the
location, ask a librarian.) In the large middle column, go down to the third link and click on Lexis Nexis
Academic (the Libraries’ most comprehensive newspaper source). Search for newspaper articles by opening
the “Search the News” search box at the bottom left. Be sure to choose “source type” and limit your search
to only newspapers). [see Part I:Database Specific Video Tutorials]
Once you locate a newspaper article in the LexusNexus database which relates to your
selected research topic, in the textbox below, cite the article using the Chicago Style
bibliographic (not footnotes) citation format. Your newspaper article must be less than five
years old. (Be sure to ‘Bookmark’ this RCI Chicago-style page for quick reference. Unless otherwise directed,
use only this page and the Purdue OWL site (introduced later) for this series of research assignments.) Your
citation should include a URL and state the “date accessed” (see the Chicago-style reference page). Note that
you CANNOT simply cut and paste the URL from the browser’s address bar. From the proper URL for the
article, click on the ‘Copy Document’ icon in the upper right (looks like a clipboard with a chain). Follow the
instructions to get your URL.
Not only do you need to cite the URL correctly for this assignment, but you will need to have access to this
article in the future to complete your other LRAs and Final Research Paper (FRP). For that reason, you should
consider downloading or printing the article now, though it is not required for this particular assignment.
3A: Newspaper Article Citation (Chicago Style) Example: Fitrat, Samantha. “ISIS Goes Global.” New
York Times, Nov. 13, 2015. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/……… Date accessed: Jan 22, 2016.
—————————————————————————————————————————
Q4: Locate and then provide the correct Chicago-style bibliographic citation for two topic
relevant books (single- or co-authored volumes only; no ‘edited’ volumes). Label your
citations 4A and 4B. For Chicago-style, use ‘notes/bibliography style’, in ‘bibliographic’
form (NOT footnotes/endnotes). For help understanding the difference between a ‘single-authored
volume’ and an ‘edited volume’, see the “*Note” at the end of Q6 below.
*You must obtain (or be able to access electronically) a copy of each book.
*Under each book citation (1A and 1B), enter:
Library Research Assignment (LRA) #1
–the library location (e.g., Holland/Terrell Libraries) and call number (e.g.,
HD34 .B338) for your two books from the “Available at” information bar or under the
“Availability and Request Options” link.
–the Permalink URL for your book (Go to “Availability and Request Options” >
“Actions” > “Permalink”). For electronic books, only enter the Permalink
URL (“Access Options > “Actions” > “Permalink”).
–the “interlibrary loan request number” if you ordered your book through Summit
or ILLiad.
*Citation example in Chicago-Style (Notes & Biblio) for Books:
Smith, John. A History of Education in America, 1636-1992. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 1994.
4A- Scholarly Book (Single- or co-authored volume) Citation #1
4B- Scholarly Book (Single- or co-authored volume) Citation #2
——————————————————————————————————————
Q5: Using JSTOR and/or Project Muse via the WSU Library website, provide the
correct Chicago-style ‘bibliographic’ citation for TWO scholarly articles published in a
history journal in the last 25 years (i.e. published after 1990) that can help you learn about
the historical roots of your contemporary issue. Label the citations 5A and 5B. For Chicagostyle,
use ‘notes/bibliography style’, in ‘bibliographic’ format (NOT footnotes/endnotes).
*Citation example in Chicago-Style (Notes & Biblio) for Journal Articles:
Kossinets, Gueorgi, and Duncan J. Watts. “Origins of Homophily in an Evolving Social Network.”
American Journal of Sociology 115 (2009): 405–50. Accessed February 28, 2010.
doi:10.1086/599247.
5A- Scholarly Journal Article Citation #1
5B- Scholarly Journal Article Citation #2
——————————————————————————————————————
Q6: In order to provide world historical context for your research topic, select *one*
chapter from each of the following two books. You should select the chapters which
best relate to your research topic. Your grade for this question will be determined
based on how well your selected chapters relate to your research topic. Select only
from the chapters listed.
Bentley, Jerry, ed. The Oxford Handbook of World History. Oxford University Press, 2011. (This book is available on
reserve at Terrell-Holland Library; you can go check the book out and make a copy of your selected chapter. Or,
your selected chapter can be requested online via ILL services at https://wsu.illiad.oclc.org/illiad/PUL/illiad.dll.)
Ch 4: Matthew J. Lauzon, “Modernity.” (pp 72-88)
Ch 5: Jurgen Osterhammel, “Globalizations.” (pp 89-104)
Ch 7: David Christian, “World Environmental History.” (pp 125-142)
Ch 8: John A. Mears, “Agriculture.” (pp 143-159)
Ch 14: Kenneth Pomeranz, “Advanced Agriculture.” (pp 246-266)
Ch 10: Charles Tilley, “States, State Transformation, and War.” (pp 176-194)
Ch 11: Marnie Hughes-Warrington, “Genders.” (pp 195-209)
Library Research Assignment (LRA) #1
Ch 12: Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, “Religions and World History.” (pp 210-228)
Ch 13: Daniel R. Headrick, “Technology, Engineering, and Science.” (pp 229-245)
Ch 15: Dirk Hoerder, “Migrations.” (pp 269-287)
Ch 17: P.K. O’Brien, “Industrialization.” (pp 304-324)
Ch 18: J.R. McNeill, “Biological Exchanges in World History.” (pp 325-342)
Ch 19: Jerry H. Bentley, “Cultural Exchanges in World History.” (pp 343-360)
Ch 21: Prasenjit Duara, “Modern Imperialism.” (pp 379-395)
VanHaute, Eric. World History: An Introduction. Routledge, 2013. (This book is available free online via the WSU
library website; your selected chapter can be downloaded with the online tools provided at the book’s reading site.
Note that I have not provided chapter one because you should NOT use chapter one for your study.)
Ch 2: “A Human World: humans and humankind.” (pp 23-45)
Ch 3: “A Natural World: ecology, energy, and growth.” (pp 46-62)
Ch 4: “An Agrarian World: farmers, agriculture, and food.” (pp 63-74)
Ch 5: “A Political World: governance and rulers.” (pp 75-87)
Ch 6: “A Divine World: culture, civilizations and religions.” (pp 88-100)
Ch 7: “A Divided World: The West and The Rest.” (pp 101-121)
Ch 8: “A Global World: globalization or globalizations?” (pp 122-134)
Ch 9: “A Polarized World: development, poverty and inequality.” (pp 135-144)
Ch 10: “A Fragmented World: unity and fragmentation.” (pp 145-159)
After selecting one chapter from each book listed above, cite each selected chapter
according to the example provided below. Number your answers 6A and 6B, as shown. Note
that “xx-yy” = the page numbers for the chapter.
6A: Author Last Name, First Name, “[Selected Chapter Title].” In The Oxford Handbook of
World History, edited by Jerry H. Bentley, xx-yy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University
Press, 2011.
6B: VanHaute, Eric. “[Selected Chapter Title].” In World History: An Introduction, xx-yy.
Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2013.
*Note that in 6A the author of the chapter is different from the “editor” of the main book whereas in 6B the author of the chapter
and the book are the same because only one author wrote the entire book, therefore it is not necessary in the second case to repeat the
author’s name twice in the citation. The first book is an ‘edited volume’, where many writers each contribute a single chapter to the
volume and then only one or two of them serves as ‘editor’ to organize and introduce it, while the second book is a ‘monograph’ or
‘single-authored volume’.
——————————————————————————————————————
Q7: Locate and cite a ‘Primary Source’ document related to your research topic. Your
Primary Source document must have been written before 1950. This can be either a
‘documentary source’ (book, journal article, newspaper article, or popular magazine article) or a
‘non-documentary source’ (diary, letter, speech transcript, interview transcript, personal papers,
etc). You can use WSU Library databases (Historical/Older Newspapers). Your citation should be
in Chicago Style bibliographic format. Since the citation format depends on the type of source
(book, journal article, newspaper article, etc.), you will need to follow the correct format for the
type of source you select. You can consult the LRA 1 or LRA 2 Essential Guidelines or, if needed,
the Chicago Style Quick Reference Guide on Blackboard in the LRA folder. Number your answer
as follows:
7A: Primary Source Citation (Chicago Style, Bibliographic format)
Library Research Assignment (LRA) #1
——————————————————————————————————————
Q8: Formulate Two Preliminary Research Questions that you hope to answer by the end of your
research. Be sure that your questions are *historically* focused, that is, that they point you
toward a study of the *historical roots* of your selected research topic in order to find the
answers. Do not be vague and general. (For example, “What are the historical roots of my contemporary
issue?”) Be clear and specific. (For example, “When were the first signs of glacial melting observed in the
Arctic?”). Formulate two research questions and number them 3A and 3B. (Read the Part I: Writing
Research Questions and Part I: Roots Research Question Example research guides to aid you in the process
of writing your research questions.)
8A. Research Question One (7-15 words)
8B. Research Question Two (7-15 words)

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In week 3, the assignment is to compare and contrast two articles in Unit Three of Business Ethics. Since the authors deal with different topics, focus on their approaches, attitudes, or values. There is no expectation for you to do any research outside of the articles. Length should be approximately 3 pages.

 

Organizational Expectations

The paper requires the following elements:

-Title page

-2-3 page essay, including introduction and conclusion paragraphs

-Reference page if you reference any outside sources, including our Teoro text.

 

Technical Expectations*

-Use a 12 point Times New Roman Font, double space, and 1 inch margins.

-Include APA formatted Title and Reference pages.

-Include APA formatted page headers and page numbers.

-Write with complete sentences, paragraph structure, and formal grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

 

* APA formatting guidelines can be found in the APA Style Manual (6th edition), either hard copy or online.

 

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BM6100-6107-40 – Business and Management Project

Module Leader – Dr Diana Reader

 

Assessment – Research Project (60% of total marks)

 

You need to submit a Research Project of 10,000 words (± 10%).  One copy of your research project should be uploaded on to Minerva via Turnitin by 5pm Wednesday 5th April.

 

Your supervising tutor and a second Business and Management tutor will mark your work.  The marking criteria they will use is at the end of this document.  In addition, a selection of scripts (10% together with all fails) will be internally moderated by the module leader and this sample will then be sent to the external examiner for further scrutiny.

 

Your research project should have the following sections:

 

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • List of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices

 

Title Page

Your title page should include the title of your investigation, your name and student number and the date.

 

Abstract

The abstract is a short summary of the complete content of your research project (up to 300 words).  It is a challenging but important exercise.  Saunders et al (2009) suggest it should contain four short paragraphs addressing the following questions:

  1. What were my research questions, and why were these important?
  2. How did I go about answering the research questions?
  3. What did I find out in response to my research questions?
  4. What conclusions do I draw regarding my research questions?

 

List of Contents

Your list of contents should clearly identify where sections are and what pages these start on.  You may also need to include a list of tables and figures.

 

 

 

The Introduction

Your word count begins here!  Your introductory chapter should provide a clear idea about the central issue of concern in your research and why you thought it was worth studying.  You also need to include a full statement of your research question and research objectives.

 

If your research is focused on a specific organisation, it is usual to include some background information on it.

 

The Literature Review

Saunders and Lewis (2012, p.33) suggest your literature review ‘provides the base on which you will build your research project’.  The aim of a literature review is to provide a clear and balanced picture of the published literature relevant to your topic.  You should synthesise the literature and extract the key themes and debates.

 

The Method

This should be a detailed chapter giving the reader sufficient information to make an estimate of the reliability and validity of your methods.  Saunders et al (2009) suggest you ensure you address the following questions where relevant:

Setting

  • What was the research setting?
  • Why did you choose that particular setting?
  • What ethical issues were raised by the study, and how were these addressed?

Participants

  • How many?
  • How were they selected?
  • What were their characteristics?
  • How were refusals/non-returns handled?

Materials

  • What tests/scales/interview or observation schedules/questionnaires were used?
  • How were the resulting data analysed?

Procedures

  • How valid and reliable do you think the procedures were?
  • What instructions were given to participants?
  • How many interviews/observations/questionnaires were there; how long did they last; where did they take place?
  • When was the research carried out?

 

Results

This is where you present the facts that your research discovered.  You can use tables and graphs to illustrate your results.  This chapter may include verbatim quotes from interviewees.  There are two points to bear in mind when writing your results.  Firstly, the purpose is to present facts – it is not appropriate in this chapter to offer opinions on the facts (this comes in the discussion and conclusions chapters).  Secondly, consider how you present your results.  One of the simplest ways is to return to the research objectives and let these dictate the order you present your results.

 

 

Discussion and Conclusions

It is your discussion that will demonstrate whether you have answered the research question and show the degree of insight that you exhibit in reaching your conclusions.  Saunders et al (2009) urge you to pay attention to your conclusions.  They suggest that this is where you are making judgements rather than reporting facts so this is where your maturity of understanding can shine through.  You need to ask ‘So what?’ for each of your findings and ‘to what extent have I answered my research question(s) and met my research objectives?  Avoid the rehash of the findings trap!  Your word count ends here – 10,000 words!

 

References

It is recommended that you keep your references up to date throughout your research project (otherwise this becomes an arduous task at the end!).  You must use the Harvard style of referencing.

 

Appendices

Appendices should be limited to providing detailed information, particularly results, that are not appropriate for inclusion in the main text.  They provide additional reference material for readers who may wish to verify or further investigate information you have presented in the main text.

 

It is very important you keep a copy of any audio recordings of interviews/focus groups and any detailed numerical analysis on a data stick/CD.   It is likely that you will be asked to provide evidence of your data collection.

 

 

 

 

There is one core text that takes you step by step through the research process and this is available as an e-book:

 

  • Saunders, M. and Lewis. P. (2012)  Doing Research in Business and Management: An Essential Guide to Planning your Project,  Pearson, Harlow

 

There are numerous other textbooks on business research methods available in the library and as e-books that you may find useful (a full list is on Minerva).

 

Our Minerva site (in Stage 1 and Stage 2) provides seminar slides and further guidance on every aspect of the research process.

Assignment helpBM6100-6107-40 – Business and Management Project

Need Help-Capital Budgeting Problem


Need Help-Capital Budgeting Problem

Financial Management

Ford Company

Capital Budgeting Problem

 

The market value of Fords’ equity, preferred stock and debt are $7 billion, $3 billion, and $10 billion, respectively. Ford has a beta of 1.8, the market risk premium is 7%, and the risk-free rate of interest is 4%. Ford’s preferred stock pays a dividend of $3.5 each year and trades at a price of $27 per share. Ford’s debt trades with a yield to maturity of 9.5%. What is Ford’s weighted average cost of capital if its tax rate is 30%?

 

Ford Company
 
Market Capitalization Weight
Equity (E)
Preferred (P)
Debt (D)
Total

 

 

 

Ford Company
Weight Cost After-tax

Marginal Weight

Equity (E) X =
Preferred (P) X =
Debt (D) X =
Total X =

 

Need Help-Capital Budgeting Problem

 

Help Answer the Questions


Help Answer the Questions

“As long as there’s innovation there is going to be new kinds of chaos,” explains Robert Stephens, founder of the technology support company Geek Squad. The chaos Stephens is referring to is the difficulty we have all experienced trying to keep up with the many changes in our environment, particularly those related to computers, technology, software, communication, and entertainment. Generally, consumers have found it difficult to install, operate, and use many of the electronic products available today. “It takes time to read the manuals,” Stephens says. “I’m going to save you that time because I stay home on Saturday nights and read them for you!”

THE COMPANY

The Geek Squad story begins when Stephens, a native of Chicago, passed up an Art Institute scholarship to pursue a degree in computer science. While Stephens was a computer science student he took a job fixing computers for a research laboratory, and he also started consulting. He could repair televisions, computers, and a variety of other items, although he decided to focus on computers. His experiences as a consultant led him to realize that most people needed help with technology and that they saw value in a service whose employees would show up at a specified time, be friendly, use understandable language, and solve the problem. So, with just $200, Stephens formed Geek Squad in 1994.

Geek Squad set out to provide timely and effective help with all computing needs regardless of the make, model, or place of purchase. Geek Squad employees were called “agents” and wore uniforms consisting of black pants or skirts, black shoes, white shirts, black clip-on ties, a badge, and a black jacket with a Geek Squad logo to create a “humble” attitude that was not threatening to customers. Agents drove black-and-white Volkswagen Beetles, or Geekmobiles, with a logo on the door, and charged fixed prices for services, regardless of how much time was required to provide the service. The “house call” services ranged from installing networks, to debugging a computer, to setting up an entertainment system, and cost from $100 to $300. “We’re like ‘Dragnet’; we show up at people’s homes and help,” Stephens says. “We’re also like Ghostbusters and there’s a pseudogovernment feel to it like Men in Black

In 2002, Geek Squad was purchased by leading consumer electronics retailer Best Buy for about $3 million. Best Buy had observed very high return rates for most of its complex products. Shoppers would be excited about new products, purchase them and take them home, get frustrated trying to make them actually work, and then return them to the store demanding a refund. In fact, Best Buy research revealed that consumers were beginning to see service as a critical element of the purchase. The partnership was an excellent match. Best Buy consumers welcomed the help. Stephens became Geek Squad’s chief inspector and a Best Buy vice president and began putting a Geek Squad “precinct” in every Best Buy store, creating some stand-alone Geek Squad Stores, and providing 24-hour telephone support. There are now more than 20,000 agents in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and China, and return rates have declined by 25 to 35 percent. Geek Squad service plans are also being sold on eBay and in some Target stores. The Geek Squad website proclaims that the company is “Serving the Public, Policing Technology and Protecting the World.”

THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENT

Many changes in the environment occurred to create the need for Geek Squad’s services. Future changes are also likely to change the way Geek Squad operates. An environmental scan helps illustrate the changes.

The most obvious changes may be related to technology. Wireless broadband technology, high-definition televisions, products with Internet interfaces, and a general trend toward computers, smartphones, entertainment systems, and even appliances being interconnected are just a few examples of new products and applications for consumers to learn about. There are also technology-related problems such as viruses, spyware, lost data, and “crashed” or inoperable computers. New technologies have also created a demand for new types of maintenance such as password management, operating system updates, disk cleanup, and “defragging.”

Page 89

Another environmental change that contributes to the popularity of Geek Squad is the change in social factors such as demographics and culture. In the past many electronics manufacturers and retailers focused primarily on men. Women, however, are becoming increasingly interested in personal computing and home entertainment and, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, are likely to outspend men in the near future. Best Buy’s consumer research indicates that women expect personal service during the purchase as well as during the installation after the purchase—exactly the service Geek Squad is designed to provide. Our culture is also embracing the Geek Squad concept. For example, in the recently discontinued television series Chuck(2007–2012), one of the characters worked for the “Nerd Herd” at “Buy More” and drove a car like a Geekmobile on service calls!

Competition, economics, and the regulatory environment have also had a big influence on Geek Squad. As discount stores such as Walmart and PC makers such as Dell began to compete with Best Buy, new services such as inhome installation were needed to create value for customers. Now, just as change in competition created an opportunity for Geek Squad, it is also leading to another level of competition as Staples has introduced EasyTech services and Office Depot has introduced Tech Depot services. The economic situation for electronics continues to improve as prices decline and demand increases. Consumers purchased 2 million 3D TVs in 2010, and sales of all consumer electronics exceeded $180 billion. Finally, the regulatory environment continues to change with respect to the electronic transfer of copyrighted materials such as music and movies and software. Geek Squad must monitor the changes to ensure that its services comply with relevant laws.

THE FUTURE FOR GEEK SQUAD

The combination of many positive environmental factors helps explain the extraordinary success of Geek Squad. Today, it repairs more than 3,000 PCs a day and generates more than $2 billion in revenue. Because Geek Squad services have a high profit margin they contribute to the overall performance of Best Buy, and they help generate traffic in the store and create store loyalty. To continue to grow, however, Geek Squad will need to continue to scan the environment and try new approaches to creating customer value.

One possible new approach is to create new partnerships. Geek Squad and Ford, for example, have developed a partnership to help consumers install in-car communication systems. In the future, Best Buy will offer 240-volt home charging stations for Ford’s electric vehicle, the Focus. Geek Squad will offer electrical audits and residential installations for the car owners. Geek Squad is also using new technology to improve. Agents now use a smartphone to access updated schedules, log in their hours, and run diagnostics tests on clients’ equipment. Best Buy is also testing a “Solutions Central” desk, similar to the Genius Bar concept in Apple stores, and staffing it with Geek Squad agents. Finally, to attract the best possible employees, Geek Squad and Best Buy are trying a “results-only work environment” that has no fixed schedules and no mandatory meetings. By encouraging employees to make their own work-life decisions, the Geek Squad hopes to keep morale and productivity high.

Other changes and opportunities are certain to appear soon. However, despite the success of the Geek Squad and the potential for additional growth, Robert Stephens is modest and claims, “Geeks may inherit the Earth, but they have no desire to rule it!”

Questions

1What are the key environmental forces that created an opportunity for Robert Stephens to start the Geek Squad?

2What changes in the purchasing patterns of (a) all consumers and (b) women made the acquisition of Geek Squad particularly important for Best Buy?

3Based on the case information and what you know about consumer electronics, conduct an environmental scan for Geek Squad to identify key trends. For each of the five environmental forces (social, economic, technological, competitive, and regulatory), identify trends likely to influence Geek Squad in the near future.

4What promotional activities would you recommend to encourage consumers who currently use independent installers to switch to Geek Squad?

 

Help Answer the Questions

 

Need Help-MBS 518 Principles of Business Governance


Need Help-MBS 518 Principles of Business Governance

                                                  MBS 518 Principles of Business Governance

                                                                 Assignment   Semester 2 2016

 

Edward and Johnny are brothers and love to sail together. They want to turn their sporting interest into a business. They then decided to start their own business called Everbright Sails Pty Ltd.

Edward and Johnny design and manufacture sails for all size yachts and supply wholesale to retail outlets. Their company becomes very successful and soon they need more sophisticated machinery to ensure that their business is profitable.

Edward’s cousin Julio is also in the manufacturing business, supplying plant and manufacturing equipment to factories. Julio is the sole director and marketing manager for the company Equipment Pty Ltd. On Monday Julio approaches his cousin Edward at a wedding function and offers to sell Everbright new sail making machinery that has been developed in France. Julio claims that the equipment will improve output and efficiency in the sail making factory by 30%. He said he is prepared to sell the equipment to them for only $80,000. Julio said the offer will end on Friday at 5pm, and acceptance could be by email or post.

Edward and Johnny think that Julio’s offer is a very good and one which would enable Everbright to increase production and profit. Edward and Johnny are keen to accept Julio’s offer but feel that they really should try to negotiate better terms. On Tuesday Edward sends Julio an email on behalf of Everbright which states :

Everbright Sails is very interested in your offer. However we believe that the new equipment will only deliver a 15% profit return on capital, so we are only prepared to pay you the amount of $50,000 for the machinery.

Julio happens to be on a three day conference on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so has not read his email. Meanwhile Edward and Johnny have reconsidered their position and are feeling nervous that they may have missed the deal because they have not heard back from Julio. They decide to accept Equipment Pty Ltd’s original offer and on behalf of Everbright post Julio a letter on Friday morning agreeing to purchase the French machinery for $80,000. Just to be sure, at the same time they email Julio. Due to problems with Equipment Pty Ltd ISP, the email is not received into Equipment Pty Ltd’s system until 6pm Friday.

Over the weekend Julio meets with his old friend Jack who happened to be in the market for the same French sail making machinery. Julio owes Jack a favour so wants to give the machinery to Jack instead of selling it to Everbright. On Monday morning, Julio reads his email and opens the post. He calls Edward and Johnny and says the deal is off. Edward and Johnny are very upset and want to force Julio to sell them the French machinery.

What are the risk factors involved in the above negotiations :

Students with family name A to K : Advise, using appropriate objective references,  Edward and Johnny (Everbright P/L) as to whether or not a contract exists with Julio (Equipment P/L)

Students with family name L to Z : Advise, using appropriate objective references, Julio (Equipment P/L)as to whether or not a contract exists with Edward and Johnny (Everbright P/L).

This assignment is worth 40 marks

See pages 12-14 of the UILG for more details

 Need Help-MBS 518 Principles of Business Governance

Buy Essay Today-Collaboration and Cooperation


Buy Essay Today-Collaboration and Cooperation

Collaboration and Cooperation Essay

Review FEMA’s State and Urban Area Homeland Security Strategy Guidance on Aligning Strategies with the National Preparedness Goal, July 22, 2005. To access the document, click on the following link, and then click on the document link with the same title as above. It is located near the bottom of the page:

FEMA’s Good Guidance Documents

Although this document is intended to guide states and selected urban areas in developing and/or revising their homeland security strategies, it provides any reader with information on national goals and standards. This provision is important because it helps other sovereignties place their localities in a larger context and serves to help align strategies to a degree, across the state and the country. To compel compliance, DHS grant dollars are often tied to the inclusion of certain elements of such guidance, especially the National Preparedness Goal (found in this document).

As you review this guidance, notice how many ways collaboration, coordination, cooperation, sharing, and similar terms and concepts are used or implied. These references will serve well as you complete the final project for the course, which is the following:

  • Prepare a paper of 7–9 pages that analyzes the relationship between various agencies involved in homeland security, and develop at least 3 specific strategies to improve collaboration and cooperation between the agencies.
  • You may select any agencies that you’d like to approach as you build your three strategies, but consider carefully how certain methods and techniques might work better for certain types of entities, government levels, sectors, or bodies. For example, if you are a state’s emergency manager who is working on a strategy for improved collaboration with transportation partners, might your approach to elicit cooperation from corporate partners be different that those used by a state to a city?
  • Your strategies should make clear the advantages of coordination plus the tools to achieve it. As you are asked to draft three strategies, determine how you will separate these: by function (example, information sharing); targeting entity or type of organizations (example: private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure); governmental level (example: county-to-county peer-level agreements for mutual support), etc. (You may use any of these examples in your assignment.)
  • To aid you in completing this assignment, revisit activities and materials covered during the term. You may also choose to locate real-world state, community, or corporate strategies, many of which are available through open-source avenues.
    • For a tip, you may elect to represent a real or hypothetical agency or governmental body as you approach this assignment; it may help you maintain focus as you progress.
  • Ensure that each strategy is well organized, clearly delivered, mechanically sound, and comprehensive in content. Although strategies generally do not include citations, remembering that this is an academic product, you should properly reference the source of any material or ideas that are not original.

Buy Essay Today-Collaboration and Cooperation

Business Analytics Implementation plan


Business Analytics Implementation plan

Assignment 2: LASA 1—Business Analytics Implementation Plan Part 1

In learning about BA, you have covered quite a few topics from the manager’s decision-making process to technology integration. The best way to pull all of this knowledge together is to create a BA implementation plan for a hypothetical organization. This is something you would do in a real-life scenario if you came across an organization that does not utilize BA; as a professional, you would create the plan and then present it to management.

Description of LASA

In this assignment, you will create a business analytics implementation plan. The plan will consist of explaining business analytics to management, addressing the advantages and disadvantages of business analytics, the challenges of utilizing business analytics, along with a backup plan in case management does not accept the first option.

Scenario

You have been hired as a business analyst for a well-known design firm. Currently, they utilize technology for their day-to-day operations but not to analyze data to help with making business decisions. Your task is to convince management that the usage of business analytics would be a great benefit to the business and it would help the business to make well-informed decisions and thus action plans that would align with the business’s strategic planning.

The firm currently has technology in place but does not have any connected systems. The databases are all independent of each other but they do utilize a client/server environment. The firm currently has one location and it is looking to add a second location in another part of the state, but is unsure as to whether it would be beneficial to the firm.

Instructions

Using the Argosy University online library resources and the Internet, research business analytics implementation plans. Select at least 4 scholarly sources for use in this assignment.

Write a proposal in which you explain the importance of using business analytics.

Objectives of proposals:

  1. Describe the business and provide a summary of the business analytics they could apply to their business in multiple scenarios.
  2. Describe the benefits and disadvantages of business analytics, as well as how the organization can be proactive in addressing any disadvantages. Include at least 3 benefits and disadvantages.
  3. Address any challenges the organization may face using business analytics, as well as how the organization can be proactive in addressing the challenges. Be sure to address at least 3 challenges.
  4. Propose three business analytic techniques. Compare them and discuss at least two benefits and disadvantages of each.
  5. Create an implementation plan to integrate business analytics into your organization.
  6. Create a backup proposal in case management does not approve your initial proposal. The backup proposal should have at least 3 changes different from the original plan.

Write the paper from the perspective that it will be presented to management of the firm and you are trying to persuade them to utilize business analytics for data-driven decision making.

The paper has to contain the following:

  • Cover Page
  • Table of Contents (auto-generated by MS Word)
  • Introduction
  • Implementation Plan (5–6 pages of content)
  • Conclusion
  • References

Utilize at least 4 scholarly sources in support of your recommendations.

Make sure you write in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrate ethical scholarship in appropriate and accurate representation and attribution of sources; display accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Write a 10–12-page proposal in Word format. This page total should include the Cover Page, Table of Contents, Introduction, Implementation plan, Conclusion, and references. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M3_A2.doc.

By Wednesday, September 28, 2016, deliver your assignment to the M3: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

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