Individual Assignment Brett Sullivan Kaplan University GB580: Strategic Management Unit 1 Professor Christine Pence March 13, 2012

however. the broader financial services industry (student loans). He rose fairly quickly through the ranks at this company. its values and how well the two are interrelated. we continue the analysis by working through the formulation of strategy and objectives. For the purposes on Unit 1 of this exercise. At that point we will analyze how well positioned Brett Sullivan. was established in the late 1980s. Introduction and Abstract The purpose of this paper will be to evaluate the current strategic position of Brett Sullivan. its corporate mission. Call Center (sales and service operations) has since been at the heart of his work. after Brett Sullivan completed his Bachelor of Science degree with a double major (Business Administration and Behavioral Psychology). the software industry. an undergraduate admissions telephone . where he was a telephone sales representative for one of the world’s largest mutual fund and discount brokerage companies. is positioned in the marketplace. this will complete the exercise. until he eventually landed in the investment industry. Inc. Service and Operations for another company in the same field. heading up three admissions units for a large online university. in Unit 2 of the exercise. establishing himself after five years as Vice President of Sales. the proprietary education industry. and then finish by developing tactical actions and metrics to advance the strategy. He proceeded for the first several years to hold a number of sales and customer service roles. and he has worked in a few industries besides the investment business. Inc. Brett Sullivan. Brett Sullivan. Inc. both from an environmental scan of the marketplace and by performing a SWOT analysis of the situation. Currently. Inc. Inc. is employed in the proprietary education industry. and most recently.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 2 Strategic Management for Brett Sullivan.

(Taylor & Schroeder. Environmental Considerations For the purposes of considering the environment as it pertains to Brett Sullivan. or with another reputable company in the proprietary education industry. which is responsible for re-enrolling students who have dropped out. as well as the office of returning students. My skills and ability allow me to meet my personal income and career advancement objectives by helping employees understand and develop the skills to perform their jobs well. the undergraduate admissions live chat unit.. In his current work environment.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 3 unit. Brett should be able to establish himself in an even more senior role. Inc. while delivering solid financial results for our investors. that the financial services field . or Vice President at either his current company. Inc. which is the preference. as well as my strengths in understanding. helping create and deliver world-class experiences for our customers. 2012). is to continue to do well in my career by leveraging my educational background. and given his background and reputation. The majority of Brett’s career has been spent in the financial services sector. my work and industry experience. been dismissed or graduated. developing and motivating people (people skills) to continue to “do well by doing good. communicating with. 2003). Personal Vision The personal mission of Brett Sullivan. most likely as the head of admissions. Mission The personal mission for Brett Sullivan. Inc.” (Thaler. and it was though when he left that sector in 2008 to pursue a career in proprietary higher education. is to continue to grow and advance in his career. it is important to examine the industries in which he has significant experience.

the political climate for the industry has been somewhat tenuous. has fairly well established itself in this company.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 4 no longer offered the types of opportunities or the security desired. and this appears to still be the case. (The Economist. which helps the market for this industry. 2012). In particular. the overall political environment did have a negative impact. and initially this was true during the latest downturn. This sector hit a major rough spot in 2010. As already acknowledged. Brett Sullivan. (Field. the industry typically is counter-cyclical during bad economic times. and this industry. negative media attention turned public perception against the proprietary education industry for a time. Social implications are closely tied to the economic implications outlined above. Economically. (U. One factor that is helping the industry and the company rebound is that certain demographic changes in the economy have made it imperative for people to get retrained and re-educated.. the industry and the company continue to remain relatively strong. as previously mentioned. The results of these reports and investigations had a severe negative impact on Kaplan itself and the industry as a whole. Inc. For this reason. (International Labour Organization. however. 2009). From an economic perspective. was able to establish himself in what was at that time the rapidly-growing field of Proprietary Higher Education. and the reason that Brett Sullivan. Inc. the environmental considerations will focus here. since then the company has started to come back significantly. due to actions taken by Kaplan University. 2010). the rhetoric and perceptions around Kaplan have improved considerably. Leveraging his background and experience in telesales leadership. however. . 2010).S. although it has toned down significantly over the past 8-10 months. Government Accountability Office. with the release of a series of reports from the Government Accounting Office as well as a senate subcommittee investigating potential deceptive practices in the industry.

2012). Society is re-awakening to the need for different educational alternatives and sees that proprietary schools can help to fill the current gaps. 2004). Brett has a strong track record of success.The National Education Association. He can use his strong people skills to offset this. Kaplan continues to be on the cutting edge of changes to the industry as they allow students to interact with their educational environment through computers. the biggest concern is becoming age. influence and motivate people from many different backgrounds in a variety of ways. telephone sales. SWOT Analysis The greatest strengths the Brett Sullivan. Brett’s greatest strength is his people Being middle-aged at this point.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 5 but now it appears to be on the rebound. smartphones and even personal music players.. he has the ability to engage. brings to bear are a breadth and depth of experience running large sales. there may be a perception on the part of others that Brett may not be able to keep up with the pace of work and of change. as longstanding definitions of education and its deliver are evolving. Impatience can also be a factor of weakness for Brett. He also possesses a strong process orientation. As to the weaknesses of Brett Sullivan. which has helped him build a history of streamlining processes and driving efficiency and effectiveness in different roles. (Kaplan. (NEA . both the industry and the company seem to be positioned well. tablets. Technologically. and specifically admissions operations units. he sometimes loses patience and becomes frustrated when others demonstrate that they are not as quick as he is. In both his current role as well as past positions both within and outside of Kaplan. Inc. His job performance when measured against peers in his current role is simply outstanding and he is viewed as a leader among his peers. Inc. This type of approach continues to give Kaplan a competitive edge. .

” In addition. Most of the other people in the Executive Director role seem to be reluctant to take action when needed. Strategy.. This. he unique access to senior leaders in the organization. Objectives and Tactical Actions and Metrics In the next unit we will expand upon this analysis by exploring strategy and objectives as well as tactical actions and metrics for Brett Sullivan. are a result of the regulatory and public relations turmoil that were introduced to the industry and to Kaplan beginning in 2010. . the industry remains somewhat of a “hot topic. which could cause challenges for Brett in moving to a different industry or company. One other threat-related consideration for Brett Sullivan.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 6 Among opportunities present for Brett Sullivan. In addition. including the Chief Operating Officer and the President of the Kaplan University Group. Inc. While the regulatory and media scrutiny has improved significantly since then. the greatest opportunity in his current organization is that there is somewhat of a leadership vacuum at his level. Inc. The biggest threats to Brett Sullivan. combined with the need for change in the organization as well as the company itself. due to Brett’s leadership of the Office of Returning Students. Inc. provides a huge opportunity. the weaker performance of Kaplan as a result of this turmoil could conceivably have made Kaplan a potential target of merger or acquisition in the future. fewer executive-level positions are available. Inc. has to do with the overall economic situation in the US the past few years. As companies have trimmed staff and taken extreme moves to boost margins. which presents a real opportunity for Brett.

BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 7 .

BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 References 8 Field. (2009.. Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry. September). or Not! Retrieved March 10. Retrieved March 12. Boston: Harvard Business NEA . (2012). K.pdf Taylor. March 2).The National Education Association. from Kaplan: Our Programs: Online Education: http://www.nea. H. K. S.ilo. R. Corporate Citizens Can Do Well By Doing January 26). (2012. from Bloomberg News: Business Class: http://www. & Schroeder. International Labour Organization. 2012. 2012. ( ument/wcms_103263. The Chronicle of Higher Education.pdf Kaplan. 20-Something Visionary Promotes Obama's Higher Eduction Goals. Are Online Programs Right for You? Retrieved March 11. 2012. . from International Labour Organization: http://www. (2003).bloomberg. Thaler. February 24-25). Proprietary Education: Threat. (2004. Retrieved March 13. from NEA Higher Education Research Update: http://www. Impact of the Financial Crisis on Financial Sector Workers. 2012.

(2010. 2012. July 22).economist. from United States Government Accountability Office: Higher Education: Information on Incentive Compensation Violations . 2012. February 23). Retrieved March 12. (2010.items/d10370r.gao. from The Economist: Business and Finance: http://www.pdf . For-Profit Colleges: Monsters in the Making? Retrieved March U.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 9 The Economist.S. Government Accountability Office.

BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 10 Appendix .

patents intellectual property issues global communications Note: PEST analysis can be useful before SWOT analysis because PEST helps to identify SWOT factors. is on the cutting still some negative perception edge. grants and initiatives home market pressuregroups international pressuregroups wars and conflicts Political  Significant political turmoil that was initially stirred up relative to the industry in 2010 exists. jobs growth is slow. 2012)/ Economical  While economy does appear to be improving. (Kaplan. social. 2012)  Society in the US continues to recognize the need for educationKaplan & other proprietary schools go a long way toward filling that need by allowing students to meet their educational goals on their own times and on their own terms. criteria examples competing technology development research funding associated/dependent technologies replacement technology/solutions maturity of technology manufacturing maturity and capacity information and communications consumer buying mechanisms/technology technology legislation innovation potential technology access. SWOT stands for strengths. tablet. economic. from the standpoint of a particular proposition or a business. threats.  Current employer (Kaplan) and several others are making efforts to mitigate negative economic implications through pursuit of Military & International offerings. 2004). weaknesses. This allows Kaplan to provide lingering as a result of extreme student-facing and classroom negative political & media scrutiny experience via many platforms. and current somewhat mixed at present. (NEA .2010. PEST and SWOT are two different perspectives but can contain common factors.The National Education Association. technological) assesses a market. beginning in mid. has been recognized for Kaplan Commitment. (The Economist. resulting in much slower job growth  Politicians & media have begun to realize country can’t achieve education goals without input from proprietary sector.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 PEST Analysis Template 11 Situation being analysed: Brett Sullivan. smartphone and  Negative perceptions of proprietary even MP3 player. which helps the market for the proprietary education industry. a risk-free approach that removes much financial risk from consumer. Kaplan University. PEST analysis (political.students may not be willing to incur debt. computer.  Some studies now emerging that many in the private sector actually provide students’ job skills at a lower cost than many not-for-profit providers  Current employer. it can have positive portent for the education industry in all sectors. demographic changes still make it imperative for people to get retrained & re-educated. company.  This can still have negative impact on people’s ability or willingness to attend school. 2010) criteria examples home economy economy trends overseas economies general taxation taxation specific to product/services seasonality issues market/trade cycles specific industry factors market routes trends distribution trends customer/end-user drivers interest/ exchange rates international trade and monetary issues criteria examples lifestyle trends demographics consumer attitudes and opinions media views law changes affecting social factors brand. & SWOT analysis explanation . Inc. criteria examples ecological/environmental current legislation future legislation international legislation regulatory bodies and processes government policies government term and change trading policies funding. exaggerated. technology image consumer buying patterns fashion and role models major events and influences buying access and trends ethnic/religious factors advertising and publicity ethical issues Social Technological  Social implication relative to the  Technology continues to reshape the proprietary education industry are educational environment. career potential for the proprietary secondary education industry. While this is a negative trend for the economy overall.  In spite of improvement in US economy. This has gone a long way to improve public image of current employer (Field. opportunities. Kaplan. have realized that many anecdotes & Kaplan’s early entry into this market position about the industry were helps it to stay ahead of others. including competitors. licensing. which dramatically lower the impact of students’ needs to however toned down significantly. Still is employer.  While other educational providers education industry have dissipated somewhat as politicians & the media continue to expand their offerings.

Inc. In addition. to do with my ability to engage. My peers usually seem reluctant to step up – my boss has encouraged me personally to do more to fill this vacuum. succession? Philosophy and values? criteria examples Market developments? Competitors' vulnerabilities? Industry or lifestyle trends? Technology development and innovation? Global influences? New markets. production. vertical. Identify criteria appropriate to your own SWOT situation. Although controversy relative to the proprietary education sector has dropped significantly. including the COO and the President. Many criteria can apply to more than one quadrant. criteria examples Disadvantages of proposition? Gaps in capabilities? Lack of competitive strength? Reputation. there is still a fair amount of discussion that could result in impact.the poor US economic conditions for the past 4-5 years have resulted in limited opportunities for people at my executive level & with my skill set. IT. behavioural? Management cover. distraction? Reliability of data. export. we could become a target of merger or acquisition. People?  Strong process orientationExperience. major contracts? Business and product development? Information and research? Partnerships. ideas? Vital contracts and partners? Sustaining internal capabilities? Obstacles faced? Insurmountable weaknesses? Loss of key staff? Sustainable financial backing? Economy . quality? primary component of my success has Accreditations. etc? Processes and systems. systems. qualifications. there is still potential that. weather effects? Threats  Regulatory environment still represents some threats. many of the jobs that do exist don’t pay what they used to. reduced margins & driven for greater someone who is middle-aged.experience as well as geographical? repeated profiles indicate that a Price. leadership? Accreditations. commitment.home. I often become frustrated & lose patience when people demonstrate that they aren’t as quick as I am. plan predictability? Morale.reach. certifications? Processes. awareness? often perceived & positioned as the Innovative aspects? leader among my current peers Location and  People skills. distribution? Volumes. criteria examples Strengths  Breadth & depth of experience running Advantages of proposition? large sales. I may be perceived by others as not being able to keep up with the pace of work and of change  Analytical skills – as one is primarily an intuitive leader & manager. I need to continue to develop & leverage expertise in this area. Companies have reduced staff.While people skills are a strength for me. .  The organization & the industry both have a serious need at this time for someone at my level to develop new ways of driving efficiencies & effectiveness into the business.  Economy. Weaknesses  Age. influence and motivate people. I need to remember that leaders are often teachers and work to help others understand concept & ideas. agencies. data analysis is not my initial response.BSullivanIndividualAssignmntUnit1 SWOT Analysis Template 12 Situation being analysed: Brett Sullivan. etc? Management cover. knowledge. fashion influences? Opportunities  There is currently something of a leadership vacuum at my level in the organization. communications? Cultural.both internal points)? and external to current company Resources. likely current roles returns?  Performance outstanding when Marketing . resulting in fewer jobs at senior levels. start-up cashdrain? Continuity. succession? criteria examples Political effects? Legislative effects? Environmental effects? IT developments? Competitor intentions various? Market demand? New technologies. economies? Seasonal.  My position with management oversight of the Office of Returning Students gives me unique access to senior leadership of the organization. value. presence and reach? Financials? Own known vulnerabilities? Timescales.’s personal SWOT Analysis _________________________________________________________________ This SWOT example is for a new business opportunity. import? New USP's? Tactics: eg. supply chain robustness? Effects on core activities. telephone sales and Capabilities? admissions operations units Competitive advantages?  Track record of success in current role USP's (unique selling as well as past positions. abroad? Seasonality.while the business in which I work is getting healthier. due to many changes to the industry & the company. Assets. horizontal? Niche target markets? Geographical.  Organizational threats. compared against current peer groupdistribution. surprise. Since this is an area where I excel I should do more here. demonstrable history of streamlining data? processes & driving efficiency in past & Financial reserves. weather.  Impatience. services. deadlines and pressures? Cashflow. attitudinal.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful