MBA 599 – Strategic Management Case Project

This capstone course requires each student to construct a detailed and well-thought-out analysis of a
business employing all the relevant strategic analysis tools studied in the course. This project will take the
full term to complete. It is our sincere hope that you will find this project to be the most rewarding effort in
your educational career.

Project Overview
This course is designed to help you develop strategic skills that can be used in management. The
process of strategic planning is an iterative cycle of research and analysis, ending with a series of choices
about what will be attempted and how it will be approached. The most tangible output is the strategic
planning document. The most important output is the increased understanding that the participants
acquire. Accordingly, the assessment of the final project will be heavily dependent on the quality of the
strategic thinking inside that polished report. Students who focus on the expeditious completion of the
steps may find that they have shortchanged the important and time-consuming exploration and thinking
that are necessary to create a quality strategic case. Since not all tools can tell the planner which factors
and alternatives are important to consider, the planner should pull in as much diverse information and
perspectives as possible. Additionally, you should put yourselves in the competitor’s shoes and consider
how the “game” will play out. Your homework and subsequent improvements are intended to become a
primary basis for the exploration and questioning that drives your strategic understanding and creative
ideas. In addition, it is important to test your strategic thinking and your use of analytical tools in
preparation for your final project.

Tips for Selecting an Organization
As you select an organization for your class project, it is important that you select one that is interesting,
possibly useful to you in your career, industry, or interests, and allows you to explore strategic challenges
in a meaningful way. If you select the industry in which you currently work, you must address two critical
issues: (1) integrating and clearly citing existing information. (You will need to delineate work you’ve
contributed as opposed to pre-existing information), and (2) succinctly presenting existing information
while adding new insight, analysis, and plans that substantially add to strategy development,
implementation, and/or assessment of the organization. An organization or industry you are interested in
should give you better access to information although you need to pay careful attention to the points
made above.

Do not underestimate the degree to which you will need to be an expert in the selected industry and
related areas. It is impossible to create a strategy without understanding the terms, technologies, market
changes, and so forth in great depth. As soon as you select a topic, you should establish (or monitor)
news feeds from several major sources of business news to keep abreast of actions in your industry.

Public companies are preferred for these plans as SEC filings and investment analyses are available
through research. Some of the firm’s main competitors will likely be public so that you can research them
as well. Large, diversified, companies can be difficult for purposes of this course (unless their
diversification is relatively narrow, and largely in one “solutions space”). Large organizations (e.g. GE)
may file consolidated reports, and you may not have access to dis-aggregated information on the division
that you are analyzing. Additionally, it’s better to select a company/industry under “duress” or at least
struggling. The reason is its very difficult to add new strategic ideas for a company that is doing well.

You may select any form of organization including profit, non-profit, and government organizations.
However, please take into consideration that within these various organizations, the strategic thinking can
be quite different, and some can pose challenges for the planner. Most organizations have some type of
customer base and opportunities for improvement. Charitable organizations compete against other
nonprofits for time and money. Educational organizations compete for students. Regulated utilities
compete for customers among themselves (e.g., gas versus electric) and in conjunction with governments
to attract new industry. Units of governmental entities may be the most difficult, but even those

organizations have customers who can choose to live in a different locality or elect government officials
willing to change the status quo. If you are undecided, medium or small-size competitive, profit-oriented
organizations may provide the best platform for applying course concepts.

Project Deliverables

Phase 1 – Class Meeting 1-3 (Outline for Strategic Management Case)
Note: Phase 1 is to be a minimum of 8 pages to a maximum of 10 pages in length and doubled spaced.

• Introduction of the
o

o

o

Description of the firm and its
Company history (brief history, critical events, competitors, leadership), including strategic

elements of its history
Vision and mission statement
Assessment of mission and vision o

• External
o EFE and CPM with strategic implications

o Analysis of competitive position, opportunities, and threats
• Internal

o
o
o

IFE with strategic implications
Financial ratio analysis with key conclusions and implications for strategic choice
Overall analysis of internal capabilities and implications for your strategic decisions

Class Meeting 1: Select company and secure instructor approval. Once approved, create plan outline,
insert current mission and vision.

Class Meeting 2: Complete an EFE and CPM for your company (including analysis and conclusions)
and insert in your working draft which you will hold until you submit Phase 1 during
Class Meeting 3.

Class Meeting 3: Complete an IFE and calculate financial ratios (including analysis and conclusions)
for your company and insert in your plan to submit at the end of Class Meeting 3.

Submit all of Phase 1 to the appropriate Assignment folder. (This Assignment folder is linked to Turnitin.)

Phase 2 – Class Meeting 4-6 (includes revisions to Phase 1 based on the instructor’s feedback)
Note: Phase 2 is to be a minimum of 12 pages to 16 pages in length and doubled spaced (This
includes Phase 1 pages).
• Internal assessment (continued from Phase 1—include IFE and financial ratios)

Current strategy (brief description of the firm’s current strategies), be sure to discuss
current use of technology
SWOT matrix with strategic implications for the company
BCG matrix with strategic implications for the company (if
appropriate to your company)
Space or other matrices with strategic implications for the company
Possible strategic alternatives
Evaluation of current organizational structure
Recommendation changes (if needed) to the structure, culture (including values), processes,

o

o
o

o
o
o

Class Meeting 4: Integrate instructor feedback from Phase 1.

Class Meeting 5: Develop SWOT, BCG, SPACE, and IE matrices with strategic implications for the
company.

Class Meeting 6: Develop alternative strategies for your company with strengths and weaknesses of
each.

Submit all of Phase 2 to the appropriate Assignment folder. (This Assignment folder is linked to
Turnitin.)

Phase 3 – Class Meeting 7-8 (includes revisions to Phase 2 based on the instructor’s feedback)
Note: Phase 3 is to be a minimum of 19 pages to 25 pages in length and doubled spaced (This
includes Phases 1 and 2).
• Strategic analysis, choices, impact, and measurement

Product-positioning map
Evaluation of strategies and objectives to achieve most favorable market position
Description of how you would implement your strategies
Milestones (steps for each major initiative with their timelines
Specific results you want to achieve including market, financial, and product or service goals
Financial projection (minimum three years)
Presentation with audio – see below
Executive summary – see below

o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o

Presentation with audio
The final submission for your project includes developing a PowerPoint presentation with
embedded audio files. Each slide must contain an audio file in which you offer insight to the
material in the slide and key points the professor should take away from the visual
information in the PowerPoint. You should minimize repeating points made in the slide other
than emphasizing important components. To put this simply, please do not read the slides
verbatim but make sure to add value to what is presented on the slide to improve the
understanding of your work. The presentation with audio is a significant component of the
final submission, so please makes sure to offer your best work, speak clearly, emphasize the
strategic implications of your work, and engage the viewer.

Executive summary (compiled with concise and critical elements from the detailed work)
While done as a last step, this goes in front of the report, after the index. A final and all-
encompassing analysis is presented, along with the recommendations that you would make
to the firm’s board of directors. This includes identifying what you recommend, and briefly
outlining alternatives considered, key implementation steps, and the impact of the
implementation on the company’s performance and competitive position.

Class Meeting 7: Develop a product-positioning map with strategic implications for the company.
Conduct final evaluation of alternative strategies and detailed description of selected strategy.

Class Meeting 8: Develop detailed implementation and assessment plan.
Complete financial projections.
Create presentation with audio.
Complete the executive summary and insert into the plan.
Complete all editing, verification, and citing of all sources, and insert graphs and illustrations.

Submit all of Phase 3 to Chalk and Wire using the link in Class Meeting 8 folder. Students who do not
submit the assignment to Chalk and Wire will receive a zero. This is a key program assessment; the
results are used to ensure students are meeting program goals. Video and PDF instructions can be found in
the Key Assignments Module. PDF instructions are also located in the Key Assignments module. This
Assignment folder is linked to Turnitin.)

Project Submission
Please do not jeopardize completing your MBA! Before you begin, read the plagiarism policy in the
syllabus and catalogue. There is zero tolerance for plagiarism in this course. Any case of plagiarism will
be taken seriously. All assignments will be submitted to Turnitin and be subject to additional validation by
the professor. Work from prior classes cannot be used in this course without prior, written permission
from the professor.

Project Evaluation
All sections of the plan are evaluated based on:

1. Correctness and completeness: models/matrices used in the case are reasonably sound/accurate and
thorough.
Strategic analysis and conclusions: points made are insightful and clear with relative importance
distinguished (not just a “rehash” of the facts).
Logical sequence and continuity of writing: the reader can seamlessly move from paragraph to
paragraph or section without losing his or her train of thought.
Grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure are at the graduate level.
External sources: the ability to integrate and interpret external sources of information. As a
capstone class, the external research is extensive, relevant, and informative to the company’s
direction, its competition, industry, and choices.
Language: the effective use of standard business terms especially those emphasized in the David text
and prior business courses.

2.

3.

4.
5.

6.

See the full grading rubric in the Key Assignments Module.

Tips for Completing the Project
You should expect to build up a large mass of analyses before you can put together a coherent case. In the
end, a great case will always look “simple” relative to the countless hours going down many different paths in
order to build understanding. The volume of material generated can distract from the creative part of the
process. The following suggestions are designed to serve as a reminder for things not identified distinctly in the
assignments, the syllabus, or the textbook Plan preparation guidelines.

1. Company and industry background
Use your own judgment to determine the amount of background to include. Over-detailed
company history is usually irrelevant and rarely improves the report. On the other hand, a history
of strategic moves and competitive reactions might be very illustrative. Decide what to include
based on whether that information is important to understanding the future environment and
strategic choices. Market share, financial strength, brand image, and the like are always relevant
strategically.

2. Address uncertainty
In your strategic analysis, make sure to state any assumptions related to your business. If you
believe there is going to be high risk, describe contingency plans or alternate scenarios.

3. Discuss the things that create organizational culture and behavior necessary to support
the strategy
a. What operational and motivational processes create the culture (acting your way into a new

way of thinking, identity orientation, incentives, etc.)?
What organizational structure fits the mission/vision, the operational approach, and the need
for adaptability or stability?
Make sure to delineate your ethics standards including values the company lives by.

b.

c.

4. Internal/external (IE) matrices
All matrices used in the strategic management case must be added as appendices and not
inserted within the body of the paper. Be sure to provide an analysis/explanation of all matrices.
Avoid inserting a matrix without a detailed explanation.

5. Implementation
Your implementation strategy must show how it is aligned with your strategic objectives. The
strategic-level implementation questions are mainly resource-related (where the money/people
come from) and timing issues (when are initiatives expected to happen). In addition, if there is
something specific mentioned in the analysis (e.g., a trend, a weakness, concerns about the
competitive response) that affects implementation, then you need to include the relevant part of
the implementation approach mentioned as part of the strategy. If there is not anything notable
in these kinds of areas, then specific content is not required in the report.

6. Overall assessment of the strategy
As you prepare your strategies, it will be helpful to review Rumelt’s four criteria:
a. Consistency

i. Strategy should not present inconsistent goals and policies.
ii. All of the pieces of your overall strategic approach should be aligned.
Consonance b.
i. Strategy should examine sets of trends.

c.
d.

Feasibility
Advantage
i. Strategy should include creation or maintenance of competitive advantage.

7. Sources
Follow APA style guide to write the case. Cite within the body of your case and include a
reference list. This is particularly true for any source data that will come from financial reports and
corporate websites.

Project Grading (See detailed grading rubric at end of these instructions)
Eighty percent (80%) of the course grade will be determined based on the Strategic Management Case
as distributed below:

1. Phase 1: Proposal and initial analysis (20% of course grade)
2. Phase 2: Substantive draft (20% of course grade)
3. Phase 3: Final Case (30% of course grade) – Presentation

10% of course grade)
Example Outline and Structure for the Strategic Plan (Headings)
The outline below is an example and should be modified to fit your company. The primary headings are
good ways to organize your work into logical sections (e.g., internal analysis, external analysis, etc.). In
sum, all matrices may not be appropriate for your company. It is wise to consult your instructor when
selecting the appropriate matrix.
Cover Page
Index

Executive Overview

Introduction of the Company
Description of the firm
Company history
Vision and mission statement
Strategic elements of the history
Overall assessment

External Assessment
EFE and CPM
Analysis of competitive position, opportunities, and threats

Internal Assessment
Financial ratio analysis
IFE
Analysis of internal capabilities and implications for your strategic decisions to follow
Current strategy, be sure to discuss current use of technology
Possible alternatives
SWOT matrix
BCG matrix
Space or other matrices
Description of core values you would use to create the desired culture
Evaluation of current organizational structure
Recommendation changes (if needed) to the structure, processes, rewards or technology

Strategic Analysis, Choices, Impact, and
Measurement Product-positioning map
Evaluation of strategies and objectives to achieve most favorable market position
Description of how you would implement your strategies
Milestones (steps for each major initiative with their timelines
Specific results you want to achieve including market, financial, and product or service goals, and
how and when they will be measured
Financial projection (minimum three years)
Presentation with audio

1

8

[Your Paper’s Title: Title Is Centered and Bold, Three or Four Lines Down From Top]

LEAVE A BLANK SPACE

[Your Name]

[Your Affiliation, e.g. Department of Social Work, Saint Leo University]

[Course Number and Name, e.g. SWK 327: Research Methods for Social Work Practice]

[Your Professor’s Name, e.g. Professor Waddell]

[Assignment Due Date, e.g. January 21, 2020]




Graduate Studies in Business Academic Honesty Statement

My signature entered below constitutes my pledge that all the writing in this document is my own work, except for those portions which are properly documented and cited. I understand and accept the following definition of plagiarism:

1. Plagiarism includes the literal repetition without acknowledgment of the writings of another author. All significant phrases, clauses, or passages in this paper which have been taken directly from source material have been enclosed in quotation marks and acknowledged in the text itself as well as on the Reference page.

2. Plagiarism includes borrowing another’s ideas and representing them as my own.

3. To paraphrase the thoughts of another writer without acknowledgement is plagiarism.

4. Plagiarism also includes inadequate paraphrasing. Paraphrased passages (those put into my own words) have been properly acknowledged in the text and in the references.

5. Plagiarism includes using another person or organization to prepare this paper and then submitting it as my own work.

6. Plagiarism includes resubmitting my own previous work, in whole, or in part for a current assignment without the written consent of the current instructor.

Saint Leo University’s core value of integrity requires that students pledge to be honest, just, and consistent in word and deed. I fully understand what plagiarism is, and I further understand that if plagiarism is detected in my paper, my professor will follow the procedures for academic dishonesty set forth by Saint Leo University, the Donald R. Tapia College of Business and the Graduate Student Handbook.

Student Signature: [Type Full Name Here]


Abstract (if needed) [replace what is provided in brackets]

[According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), “An abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper” (APA, 2020, p. 38). The
only
purpose of the Abstract is to summarize the goals, purpose, findings, conclusions, and any recommendations of the essay. The Abstract allows readers to survey the contents of an article quickly and, like a title, it enables persons interested in the document to retrieve it from abstracting and indexing databases. An abstract may range from 150 to 250 words (APA, 2020). The first line of the abstract should not be indented. An abstract may not be required for all papers; adhere to your instructor’s requirements.]


Title of Your Paper [Centered, Bold]

Begin your paper with the introduction on the next double-spaced line after the title. Do not label the introduction. The introduction serves a very important purpose in an academic paper. The introduction frames the issue being studied; it engages the reader, sets the tone for the essay, and explains the topic or the problem the essay explores. The introduction should also conclude with a clear thesis statement which explains the purpose and focus of the essay (APA, 2020, p. 75).

Remember to indent the first line of all paragraphs by 1/2 inch. The seventh edition of the APA manual advises one character space between sentences (APA, 2020, p. 154).

When writing in APA style, you have two choices for in-text citations: narrative citations or parenthetical citations. According to a fictitious book by Harding and Jiménez (2020), a narrative citation occurs when you include “authors’ names as part of your sentence” (p. 24). Furthermore, Harding and Jiménez (2020) explain that you only need to provide a page number at the end of a narrative citation when directly quoting from the source. If the authors’ names do not appear in your sentence, you will use a “parenthetical citation” (Harding & Jiménez, 2020, p. 24). Similar to the above example, you only need to include a page number when quoting the authors’ original words (Harding & Jiménez, 2020). The APA manual summarizes these rules and related concepts on pp. 261-264.

All Headings Are Bold and Written in Title Case (Level 1, Bold, Centered)

The heading immediately following the introduction should be a Level 1 heading. You can read more about formatting section headings in the APA manual on pp. 47-49. Not included in this template is a level 5 heading, which is virtually identical to a level 4 heading, except it is italicized. According to the APA (2020), “The number of levels of heading needed for a paper depends on its length and complexity; three is average. … [S]hort student papers may not require any headings” (p. 48).

Level 2 Heading (Bold, Left Justified)

You may only need Level 1 headings for your essays. Based on the length and complexity of the essay, it may be appropriate to use additional levels. However, be mindful that you need at least two subsections at each level.

Level 2 Heading (Bold, Left Justified)

There must be at least two subsections at each level.


Level 3 Heading (Flush Left, Italicized, Bold, No Punctuation)

Begin indented paragraph here. A couple of important new rules concerning in-text citations appear in the APA manual. The first pertains to citing works by three or more authors. Instead of writing each author’s name in the first citation, then utilizing the abbreviation “et al.” for all subsequent citations, the APA manual advises writers to use the “et al.” abbreviation for every in-text citation for works by three or more authors. For example, my first in-text citation for a work by three authors would look like this (Harris et al., 2020). This new guideline reduces the amount of clutter created by listing each author’s name. You can read more about the use of “et al.” on p. 266 of the APA manual.


Level 3 Heading (Flush Left, Italicized, Bold, No Punctuation)

The other significant change to in-text citation formatting has to do with repeating narrative citations. For example, if I am writing a paragraph focused specifically on the work of Brown (2016), I would need to provide the year in parenthesis only after the first reference to Brown. As you can see, I could write more about the groundbreaking work of Brown without cluttering my paragraph with multiple in-text citations containing the year. However, if I am referencing more than one work by Brown, I must provide a complete in-text citation after each reference to Brown. That way, my reader won’t be confused. I would also need to provide the year in any parenthetical citation referencing the author (Brown, 2016). This new rule is described on pp. 265-266 in the APA manual.

Similar Rule. (Level 4, Indented, Bold, Title Case, Punctuated) In a similar vein, if I am writing a long paraphrase of a single work, I need to provide only one in-text citation at the beginning of the paragraph as long as “the context of the writing makes it clear that the same work continues to be paraphrased” (APA, 2020, p. 269). In other words, I could continue to write more about how the manual provides a helpful figure of this rule on p. 270. I would not need to provide a citation when telling you that if the paraphrase is long enough to warrant the creation of a new paragraph, you will need to provide an in-text citation at the top of the new paragraph. As you can see, I am still discussing the APA manual in a specific context, so I am not required to cite the manual again in this paragraph unless I introduce information from a new source. Even so, if you think your professor or reader might question where you found a certain piece of information, it won’t hurt to provide an extra citation or two.

Level 4 Heading. (Indented, Bold, Title Case, Punctuated). Text begins on the same line and continues as a regular paragraph. It is not necessary to memorize these settings. Follow the guidelines provided in the APA Publication Manual. Remember that there must be at least two subsections at each level.

Punctuating In-Text Citations

So far, you might have noticed that parenthetical citations typically appear before the sentence’s end punctuation because the parenthetical citation is just another element belonging to the sentence. However, there is one specific instance when the parenthetical citation comes after the end punctuation. In the case of block quotations (a quotation of 40 words or more), you will introduce the quotation and demarcate it using special indentation:

Pretend that this is the beginning of the block quotation. First, notice that this long quotation is not surrounded by quotation marks. It is the only time in your paper where you will quote something without using quotation marks. Next, the entire quotation is indented 1/2 inch from the left, and it is left-justified, meaning that the quote’s left margin forms a straight line up and down. Last but not least, you will provide the parenthetical citation after the end punctuation (and because it’s a direct quotation, you will include the page number). Use block quotes sparingly. Long quotations interrupt the author’s voice and the flow of the paper. (Harding, 2020, p. 49)

If the original paragraph continues after the quotation, begin on the next double-spaced line, making sure that the line is flush left. If you want to begin a new paragraph after the block quotation, you will indent the new paragraph 1/2 inch from the left margin. Finally, if you include a narrative citation when introducing the block quote (i.e. “According to Harding (2020) …”), only include the page number in the parenthetical citation after the block quote. You can read more about these rules on pp. 272-273 of the APA manual.]


References [Centered, Bold]

Hanging indent for all references. To keep this format, simply place the cursor at the front of this line and paste or type your reference material. Then press enter. Remember to organize your references alphabetically. Please delete this line of text and any other template text or notes before submitting your paper. Delete all information in brackets.

Surname, A. A., & Surname B. B. (Year). Reference entry titles are written in sentence case: Sentence case titles for articles and shorter works are plain text and capitalized as if you were writing a sentence. Publication Name, 234(2), 40-190. https://doi.org/12.029303 (Example of journal article with DOI)

Surname, C. C. (Year). This is the title of a book about China and India: Notice that book titles and titles of longer works are italicized. Publisher Name. (Example of book and e-book. Writers are no longer required to identify e-book platform (e.g. “Kindle”) or database (e.g. “EBSCO”). For e-books, provide a DOI or URL if one is available. Read more on p. 321 of the manual.)

Utilize a hanging indent for all references. Click here to watch a tutorial video on how to achieve this indentation. Again, this APA-produced sample paper demonstrates correct reference list formatting on pp. 10-12. Some notable changes to reference entry formatting in the manual’s 7th edition include the following:

1) Publisher location is no longer a required element (APA, 2020, p. 295).

2) Except in certain cases, do not provide “database information for works obtained from most academic research databases or platforms because works in these resources are widely available” (APA, 2020, p. 297). Read more about the exceptions on p. 297 of the manual.

2) The words “Retrieved from” no longer precede a URL (APA, 2020, p. 299).

3) Write a DOI as a hyperlink, e.g. http://doi.org/10.1002/bsl.2373 (APA, 2020, p. 299).

4) Rather than the previous maximum of seven authors, you may provide up to 20 authors’ names in a single reference entry (APA, 2020, p. 286).

5) The updated manual includes reference entry examples for previously undefined source types including social media posts, TED Talks, and YouTube videos (APA, 2020, pp. 317-352).

Disney

Phase 2 – Class Meeting 4-6 (includes revisions to Phase 1 based on the instructor’s feedback) Note: Phase 2 is to be a minimum of 4-5 pages in length and doubled spaced (This includes Phase 1 pages).

BCG matrix with strategic implications for the company (if

appropriate to your company)

Space or other matrices with strategic implications for the company

Please Include Refernces correctly and Cite work