Management Policy and Strategy Summer Strategy Project Guidelines And Individual 1,500 word Strategy Case Write-up Summer Term 2011

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Introduction The Group Project represents one of the major elements in Management Policy and Strategy (MM532) and is also a central component of the MBA program. The Project must relate to an issue of strategic significance. That is to say that it should relate to the broad direction the company is taking, to the company’s boundaries or to the way in which it seeks to develop and exploit competitive advantage. A project narrowly focused on “Pricing and Promotion Strategy” or the “introduction of a Management Information System” to streamline company operations, for instance, would not be considered as one that looks at the overall picture of the company. Such topics would be more in line with a Marketing project or an IT project, not a strategy project. Hence we really want you to take several steps back and look at your chosen organization from a more macro strategic perspective. Inevitably, the Project should relate to a problem of importance to practicing managers, which may be addressed by applying business theories and analytical techniques. It may be a specific problem facing a firm (perhaps your own employer), a group of firms, or an entire industry. It will test your ability to undertake a substantial piece of “applied” research work that has practical implications. Aims and Learning Outcomes The major aim of the project is to demonstrate your ability to undertake and complete a substantial and rigorous piece of applied business research, to present the results in a professional manner, and to be able to generalize and link your results to an underlying theoretical and conceptual base, where possible. It will provide you with the opportunity to connect the concepts covered in the MBA programme with real business practices, and to develop stronger and more practical insights. While the project is included in the grading component of MM532, it is actually a key component of the whole MBA programme. The learning outcomes are to develop your ability to: * * * identify problem areas or critical issues concerning the business strategy of a real organization; undertake independent research using an appropriate research method; complete a substantial investigation of a management problem or issue at an appropriately senior level that will involve information specification, gathering, interpretation, and use; along with recommendations and suggestions for implementation and evaluation prepare a project report which: (i) documents your ability to present succinctly and to realistically interpret data and information and to use it as a basis for drawing action-oriented conclusions; (ii) documents your ability to go beyond the problem solving level in generalizing the results, thus linking basic theory and application.


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Subject Assessment Assessment for the subject as a whole will be as follows: Group Class work Group Project Presentation (10-15min.) Group Project Written Report Total for Group Work Individual Strategy Case Write-up (1,500 words = 200 words statement of the problem + 1,300 words suggested answers and strategic tools) Individual Confidential Peer Appraisal Total for Individual Work Total Course Work Mark 20% 10% 30% 60% 30%

10% 40% 100%

Project Group Members The project will be carried out in groups of 4 members. There will be four classes of MM532. All members in a project group must register in the same class and their projects will be assessed by the lecturer of their class. Members in the same group do not necessarily need to belong to the same MBA concentration (e.g. FBC, ITM etc.). Indeed, we encourage students from different concentrations to work together - it often produces better projects. Professor Howard Davies will deliver the first three (3) strategy lectures in March, April and
st nd rd

May (1 lecture on 29 or 30 March; 2 lecture 26 or 27 April; and 3 lecture 24 or 25 May). Project Topic and Proposal (getting prepared during APRIL) Your group is going to focus on a Hong Kong company, whether local or multi-national (and preferably listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange so that you can easily have access to their accounts). If the organization you choose is not listed on the HKEx, then you will need access to their accounts (P&L / Balance Sheet) in order to realistically undertake a strategic audit of that organization (otherwise your recommendations may not be in line with the financial health of the organization). To help you with your chosen organization’s strategic analysis, each week’s seminar discussions and exercises along with the pre-posting of all the strategy topic Power Points will help you build your analysis. Once you’ve had the introductory lecture on Strategy and the Guidelines for your Summer Projects by Professor Howard Davies (on 29 or 30 March) we strongly encourage you to get together with your group to discuss on the requirements and expectations of the summer project. Once you have clarified your focus and chosen your organization for strategic analysis, you are required to seek the endorsement of your subject professor well before the end of April. Soon after Professor Davies’ Introductory Strategy Lecture on 29 or 30 March, you should send your subject lecturer a SHORT email (using the following 9 sub-headings) outlining the
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following framework of your intended PROJECT PROPOSAL (1-page single lined):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 List the full names (including English names, if possible) of your group members Proposed Title (please give it a ‘sexy title’ that is thought-provoking) Name of organization and its HKEX stock number (if any) What is the strategic focus of your project? Why is this important from a strategy point of view? What types of strategic tools and analysis will you intend to use in your report? What are the anticipated recommendations? What resources / references have you resorted to prior to meeting your professor? Propose a meeting date / time with your subject lecturer to be held BEFORE END OF APRIL to confirm your project focus.

Remember, it must be a strategy case dealing with a strategically significant issue. Once confirmed with your respective subject lecturer, you will have the whole of MAY to do all the ground work before your summer term begins in June (remember, this summer we will finish the course on the 23 July: one week earlier in order for us to moderate the marks / grades well before our Board of Examiners’ Meeting) Strategy Teachers:
Group 3311 (Wednesday & Friday) Dr Humphry Hung (tel: 2766 7357; email: Group 3321 (Monday & Thursday) Dr Kwong-fai Chan (tel: 2766 7391; email: Group 3331 (Tuesday & Wednesday) Prof. Howard Davies (tel: 2766 7137; email: Group 3341 (Saturday) Dr Anthony Lok (tel: 3400 3235; email:

Recommended Books +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The textbook without cases: Ireland, R. D., Hoskisson, R. E., and Hitt, M.A., The Management of Strategy: Concepts, 8th edition, Thomson Learning, (2009). Johnson, G., Scholes, K. & Whittington, R. 2008. Exploring corporate strategy. 8th Edition. London: Prentice Hall


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Project Time Line The overall timetable for the Project and the subject is as follows:
Introductory THREE Strategy lectures by Prof. Howard Davies (What is Strategy? External Analysis, and Internal Analysis); and a run down of the Requirements / Expectations for your Summer Strategic Audit Reports On 29 or 30 Mar What is Strategy? On 26 or 27 Apr External Analysis On 24 or 25 May Internal Analysis

Student Groups send their respective Strategy Teachers details of their Project Proposal via email outlining their chosen organization / strategic focus. Students set up meeting with their respective Strategy Teachers to discuss and confirmation Project Proposals and finalize rundown of Summer Strategic Audit Reports First week of summer term teaching starts Student Groups make 10 – 15min. max presentations to class and receive feedback from Strategy Teacher Individual 1,500 Word Strategy Case Write-up Submit Final Group Project Written Reports (Absolutely no extensions will be granted) Best Project Award Competition (Judging Panel made up of Business Professionals And MBA Alumni Council Members) Strategy Professors Meet to Moderate Marking and Grades

By the end of April

Week of 13 June (Mon) Week of 18 July (Mon)

25 July (Mon) 5pm 25 July (Mon) 5pm

30 July (Sat) Afternoon

5 Aug (Fri) 10am

Remarks: Individual lecturers may have minor adjustments to the above time line. Final Group Project Written Reports Your final project report should normally consist of about 6,000 to 7,000 words, single-line spacing and printed on both sides of the A4 paper (with 1 inch margins, font size 12) (excluding appendices). Quality is more important than quantity of work, so although we have given you a word limit, more words does not necessarily mean you’ll get a better grade. At the end of the day, we are looking for how well you identify the strategic issues, the depth and completeness of your strategic analysis using the various strategic tools and techniques, whether your recommendations follow through logically from your level of analyses (are they creative, innovative, set new rules and boundaries…) and whether you have carefully thought through how they will be implemented and evaluated to achieve sustained competitive advantage for that organization.

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The recommended format here is not a requirement and you may wish to amend it to suit your own purposes. However, you may use the very user-friendly Strategic Audit framework provided by Wheelen and Hunger (2006) for your Summer Strategy Project Report (please also refer to the diagrammatic flow chart attached to P. 16 of this handout):
A. Cover page with thought-provoking title, full names (including English) of all your group members. Please also include in the top right-hand corner of cover page the total number of words used in your report (excluding the reference list appendices) B. 1st page is an Executive Summary of what you did, what you found and what you recommended (this should be no more than half a page. C. 2nd page is your table of content (“in one page) D. 3rd page is a one page brief background of the organization E. Your Strategic Audit report starts on the 4th page (We encourage bullet points for your submission so long as they are detailed enough with some points elaborated by way of paragraphs): 1. Current Situation a. Overall health of company (financial analysis) b. Major issues 2. Strategic Posture a. Mission / vision b. The strategic objectives of the company c. Current strategies d. Policies 3. Strategic Managers and their Backgrounds a. Who are the board of directors? b. Top management team? c. (show their photos and background like as if in annual report) 4. External Environment a. Societal environment b. Task environment 5. Internal Environment a. Corporate structure b. Corporate culture c. Corporate resources d. Marketing, Finance, R&D, Operations, HR, IT… 6. Analysis of Strategic Factors a. Situational Analysis b. Review of Mission / Vision / Objectives 7. Strategic Alternatives and Recommendations a. Pros and cons of each b. Recommended strategy (and justification why) 8. Implementation (how, who, when, what, why) 9. Evaluation and Control 10. List of Reference 11. Appendices (extra tables, diagrams, possible interview questions if you interviewed people, newspaper clippings, articles your found very useful etc…) 12. Please insert (at the end of your report) the completed Strategic Tools table and the Reference Sources table that summarizes what you have used and done to put together your Summer Strategic Audit Report. 13. Acknowledgements 14. PolyU Faculty of Business Declaration Form to declare that your submitted work does not breach any copyright laws / that the work you have submitted is original and not plagiarized (attached to this guidelines).

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To ensure all Final Year Summer MBA students get full learning benefit out of this major project, we strongly encourage you to use as many of the strategic tools taught throughout the program, as are appropriate (blindly applying every tool and ticking every box will not get you a higher mark! If there are other tools / concepts which can help your analysis, please note them down and use them). We also strongly encourage students to widen their reference sources in putting together the report. As stated in Point 12, these two tables are important and are provided here for your easy reference:
Different Reference Sources Used Please tick those used in Your Strategic Audit Academic journal articles Practitioner journal articles Books on the subject Newspaper clippings (English) Newspaper clippings (Chinese) Makes sure clearly stated in your Reference List

(In your Strategic Audit Report Reference List, please use ALL OF THE ITEMS ON THE LEFT OF THIS TABLE AS SUB-HEADINGS. If you did not resort to any particular reference source, STILL LIST IT AS A SUB-HEADING, then leave blank.)

Business magazines Company Annual Reports & coy. Documents Internet sources from company homepages Internet sources from search engine search Company databases used Textbook Interviewed practitioners (questions attached) Interviewed academics (questions attached) Interviewed students (questions attached) Video, TV & radio programs Hong Kong Stock Exchange Website Securities & Futures Exchange Website Others… (please list)

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Checklist: of Strategic Tools and References Used in your Strategic Audit
Strategic Tools Please tick those used in Your Strategic Audit (citing page numbers) External Analysis Environmental Variables Scanning Map External Factor Analysis Summary (EFAS) Industry Matrix (Weighted Competitive Strength Assessment) Nine-Cell Industry Attractiveness-Competitive Strength Matrix [Weighted Industry Attractiveness Scores Table (Industry A, B, C…) + Weighted Competitive Strength Scores for Business Units Table (Business A in Industry A, Business B in Industry B …) PEST Analysis Porter’s Diamond (Competitive Advantage of Nations) Porter’s 5-Force Model Strategic Group Map (6 different versions) Internal Analysis Internal Factor Analysis Summary (IFAS) Resource-based View of the Firm Value Chain Strategy Formulation: Situational Analysis & Business Strategy Bowman's Strategy Clock Porter’s Generic Competitive Strategies Strategic Factor Analysis Summary (SFAS) SWOT Analysis TOWS Matrix Strategy Formulation: Corporate Strategy General Electric’s Business Screen Portfolio Analysis: BCG Growth-Share Matrix Strategic Choice Hambrick & Mason’s Strategic Choice Under Conditions of Bounded Rationality Strategy Implementation McKinsey 7S Miles & Snow’s Strategy Typology The Matrix of Change Evaluation & Control Balance Score Card Financial Analysis Common Size Statement Financial Ratio Analysis Overall Strategy 5 Ps of Strategy Strategic Audit Process Worksheet (p. 362 of textbook) Corporate Governance, Ethics & Social Responsibility Corporate Governance Code of Practice (HKEx) Stakeholder Analysis Page #

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Project Presentation (Week of 18 July) The final analysis should be summarized in a 10 - 15 minutes presentation. Since this is a group project, all members of the group are strongly expected (but not required) to participate in the presentation. Immediate feedback will be provided by the subject lecturer, which should give you sufficient and reasonable time to make any modifications to your report prior to submission on Monday 25 July 5pm to the Graduate School of Business Office. All presenting groups should practice good structure and time management in delivering their 10-15 minutes. You can be as creative as you desire in your presentation style: PowerPoint, OHPs, handouts, etc… You may like to co-ordinate this between all groups by using ONE laptop to save time on connections and reconnections. (Please have emergency black & white OHP transparencies in case you have technical difficulties) for your presentation.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. Tell us up front your presentation Business Problem / issue Provide 1 PPT slide of rundown of your group's presentation (handout?) Give a brief account / background of the company you chose and why Incorporate your views that tie the readings, your Strategic Analysis and the Coy. Reference your PPT slides (as footer) to add credibility where appropriate At the end of your PPT, include 1 slide that list all your key references / sources Remember: 15mins MAX., so don't tell us everything under the sun... After presentation, be prepared to answer questions and make comments No need to be shy - just enjoy the experience! Two ways to find out how well you have done: (a) At the end of class, ask anyone "what did you learn from all this?" (b) When there was a lot of discussions and debate after your case... "POST" your PPT presentation (virus free) onto our WebCT e-Board (within 24hrs)


Best Project Competition (Saturday afternoon: 30 July) Subject to final approval, there will be a best project competition. Each class of MM532 will elect and nominate ONE best project presentation. A final presentation will be made for these 4 elected projects, from which the best project of the year will be chosen and awarded a trophy, courtesy of the Graduate School of Business! We are currently negotiating through the MBA Alumni Association to request real business executives to judge these strategic audit presentations!

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“Individual” Strategy Case Write-up (25 July 5pm) (1,500 word case: 200 words Problem Identification + 1,300 Solutions)
All students will also be required to submit as part of individual assessment, a real life Strategy Case focusing on a “Strategic Issue”. You may base this individual case write-up on either: 1. Focusing on one “strategic” aspect of your overall group Strategic Audit Report or 2. Choose any organization of your choice Students can choose from any one (1 ONLY) of the 12 topics to focus their Strategy Case: I. Corporate Governance & Boards of Directors II. External Analysis III. Internal Analysis IV. Business Strategies V. Corporate Strategies (diversified firms) VI. Strategic Choice VII. Strategy Implementation VIII. Strategy Evaluation IX. Organization Structure X. Corporate Culture / Strategic Leaders XI. Different Schools of Strategy XII. The Art of War Each final year MBA student is required to submit a (maximum 1,500 words, printed on back & front of A4 paper) a case study of a strategic nature (all pages should be single line, font size 11, and with half inch margins). The format will be as follows using the subheadings: For the Problem Identification (200 words): 1. Title (provide a thought-provoking title) 2. Background to the case 3. The problems / issue 4. Different perspectives 5. The alternatives (these are the choices you want the reader to make a decision about) For the Answers / or Suggested Answers (1300 words): A. Summary of the case B. What is the key focus of the case? C. What Strategy theory, concept, tools can be applied to address the Strategy Case? D. Suggested answers and / or actual decision(s) made from real life E. Learning objectives to achieve from the Strategy Case F. References (a short list of key sources that will help further our knowledge of the case) (– references are not included in word count!) Although the submission only requires 1,500 words (single-lined), the amount of conceptual thinking about what to include should not be underestimated. Your case study can be either “real” or “hypothetical” and it must be to do with a strategic issue! That is, it must be based on a strategic issue / problem that has already happened OR something that is currently being experienced in an organization OR hypothetical situation facing an organization (it does not have to be in your current organization). The case must make a typical manager really THINK about the issue / problem you have presented. Strategic issues are never obviously easy to solve – so think very carefully before putting it together!

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Our past experience has showed that getting students to engage in reflection by way of case writing of issues can significantly take their learning to a whole new level. We believe this endeavor will further help you get a deeper appreciation of strategy-making as it is carried out in organizations. Furthermore, the whole purpose of getting you to write your own strategic case study is to get you to “engage” with the intricacies of what it means to be dealing with strategic issues and to be able to reflect upon the seriousness of issues / problems at this level. By getting you to articulate your chosen strategic challenge in a limited amount of words will be challenging in itself, so think very carefully how you will present the issue(s). The subheadings suggested above will help you frame your strategy case in a succinct and impact-full manner. It may be worthwhile to consult your professor if you need further guidance on what is a “strategic issue” BEFORE starting. **End**

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Honour Declaration (For group assignment)
We declare that the work in this assignment is completely our own work. No part of this assignment is taken from other people’s work without giving them credit. All references have been clearly cited. We understand that an infringement of this declaration leaves us subject to disciplinary action by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Student Name Signature Student ID Date

Student Name Signature Student ID Date

Student Name Signature Student ID Date

Student Name Date Signature Student ID Date



Subject Title & Code (for the assignment concerned)


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Some very useful Databases to help you with your Summer Strategic Audit Report
OSIRIS 1) Go to the website: 2) Select “Databases” under “Research Tools”  “Find Articles, Journals, News” 3) Select “Database A-Z”  Select Letter “O” 4) Select “OSIRIS - Publicly Listed Companies Worldwide (current and historical)”  Select “Online Access” 5) Select “*Expert Search” 6) Select “Stock Data”  Stock Exchange  Choose “Hong Kong Stock Exchange”  “OK” 7) Select “Industry”  “Industry Classification Benchmark”  Choose one particular industry (e.g. Telecommunication)  “OK” 8) Select the page “List” 9) Select one company to see the company details (e.g. Header/ Financial Statements/ Board members and managers)

*If you are selecting “Quick Search” at Point 5, you can just type the company name (Such as HSBC) to search the information of HSBC.

BUSINESS SOURCE COMPLETE 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Go to the website: Select “Databases” under “Research Tools”  “Find Articles, Journals, News” Select “Database A-Z”  Select Letter “B” Select “Business Source Complete”  Select “Online Access” Select either link Select “Company Profiles” Type the company name in order to access the information of the company such as SWOT analysis

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Faculty of Business
WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR DIFFERENT GRADES IN MY ASSESSMENT? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘A’, ‘B’ AND ‘C’ GRADES? The detailed answer to these questions depends on the subject and the specific assignment. Your Strategy Professor may give you some specific guidelines. However, there are a number of general points that may help you to understand. The PolyU regulations describe a ‘C’ grade as ‘satisfactory.’ To achieve a ‘C’ or ‘C+’ grade you need to: Address the task as set. Display a basic understanding of the concepts involved in the assignment. Use the materials provided to you by the tutor in ways which are relevant. Display no major errors of understanding.

If your answer does not meet these criteria it will be awarded a ‘D’ or worse. To achieve a ‘B’ or ‘B+’ you need to do everything required for a ‘C’ and in addition you need to display good ‘relational understanding’. That requires: Using a range of source materials, going beyond those provided by the tutor. If you think in terms ‘my tutor should give me all I need’, you are not reaching this level. Using a diversity of source materials. The Internet, newspapers, magazines, case studies, interviews with real-life managers. Proper referencing – to show the tutor the materials you have accessed. Using these materials to explain the main ideas involved in the topic, analyze the different components, show how they relate to each other. Compare, contrast and apply the ideas. Applying ideas appropriately is key. It requires linking the ideas to the facts of real-life situations. To achieve an ‘A’ or ‘A+’ you need to do everything required for a ‘B’. You also need to go beyond that to ‘extended ideas’. This can be difficult to describe but may involve: Seeing the issues from a different angle – perhaps one the tutor did not have in mind but which is useful. Having an element of originality. Reflecting your own ‘voice’ and opinions Theorizing, hypothesizing, recommending or reflecting.

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Recommended Framework for your Summer Strategic Audit Report


Wheelen T, L., & Hunger, J. D. (2006) 10h Edition, Strategic Management and Business Policy. Prentice Hall, U.S.A. p.20

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Capstone Project Presentation Assessment Form
Performance Level A=3
In addition to being fluent and articulate, the presentation seizes the attention of the audience, in ways which add to the effective communication of key points

Fluency & Technique in Presentation 3 marks

Effectiveness & Creativity in Visual Aid Design 3 marks
In addition to making key points and the flow of argument clear, the visual aids stimulate the audience’s interest in the topic.

Handling Techniques for Q&A Session 3 marks
Group directly answers questions without hesitation and shows an understanding of the motivation and direction from which the questions are coming. Understands WHY the question is asked. Group directly answers the questions asked, with mo more hesitation than reasonably required to formulate an answer


Presentation is fluent and articulate. Handovers (if any) do not detract from communication of the key points.

Visual aids make key points clear and show the flow of argument from analysis to recommendations

C= 1

Presentation is hesitant and inarticulate. Presentation does not flow naturally. Handovers from one student to another (if used) are clumsy and detract from the communication of key points.

Visual aids fail to make key points clear and/or do not indicate the flow of the argument from analysis to recommendations

Group fails to address questions as asked, hesitates longer than needed to formulate and answer, prevaricates

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Performance Contents & Effort in Research Work (20) Group Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot Golf Hotel India Juliett Kilo Lima Mike Specific Requirements: 1. Demonstrates good use of references reading material, industry reports, interviews (where appropriate) to support analysis (throughout the entire report and presentation) 2. Demonstrates clear and strong link between analysis AND recommendations 3. Demonstrates clear application of the strategic tools 4. Recommendations demonstrates insights into the strategic issues / challenges facing organization Conceptual Application of Strategic Tools (20) Critical Thinking in Analysis & Recommendations (40) Fluency & Readability of Presentation Structure (20) Total Score (100%)


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Performance Contents & Effort in Research Work (20) Group 15-20
(for 20 as max. score) Group is aware of research and debate on a topic, and is able to synthesize and integrate information from a variety of appropriate sources,

Conceptual Application of Strategic Tools (20)
In addition to using an appropriate range of strategic tools the group reflects on the usefulness of the tools and/ or introduces tools not explicitly introduced in class for clear reasons Group uses an appropriate range of strategic tools, supporting their argument and analysis and does not include redundant tools for their own sake

Critical Thinking in Analysis & Recommendations (40)
In addition to having recommendations which follow logically and clearly from the overall evaluation, the analysis identifies possible weaknesses or limitations of those recommendations

Fluency & Readability of Presentation Structure (20)
In addition to being clearly structured and effective, the report uses layout and/or graphics to direct the reader’s attention to key points and the flow of the argument. The report is a pleasure to read.

Total Score (100%)

(for 40 as max. score)

(for 20 as max. score)

Group uses appropriate information to address the strategic issues on hand.

Recommendations follow logically and clearly from an overall evaluation of the company’s situation.

(for 40 as max. score)

Report is clearly structured with effective initial summary or abstract, introduction, logically ordered sub-headings, key points clearly distinguished and clear conclusions.. Graphics are used to good effect and do not ‘clutter’. The report is easy to read. Report lacks a clear structure such that the reader has to ‘search’ for key points or is unclear on the purpose of the Project and the broad thrust of the analysis and recommendations. The report is irritating to read.

(for 20 as max. score)

(for 40 as max. score)

Group is not aware of the information necessary to research its topic, and the types of data that would be useful in formulating a convincing argument. Information is either incomplete or too voluminous and does not support the intended purpose.

Group fails to use appropriate and available range of strategic tools in support of their arguments.

Recommendations are poorly linked to the evaluation of the company’s situation.

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