ASSIGNMENT TASKS

| December 9, 2015

ASSIGNMENT TASKS

Assessment:

Written Exam: 60%
Coursework mark: 40%
– Individual Assignment: 60%
– Short test: 30%
– Contribution: 10%

Individual Assignment task (60%):
Please take the role of a strategy consultant.
You have to pick an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) company with 0-250 staff.

Your role is to provide a deep analysis of the company chosen by the concepts and theories learnt and give advices to your principle/investor (seminar leader) on the future investment opportunities. (Optionally you can find a company which is not a good investment opportunity, so you can suggest not investing in it by your analysis.)
Analyse the strategic position and recommend various strategic options of your chosen company in no less than 3.000 words.
Your analysis must be thorough and must touch upon at least the following points:

• Analyse the macroenvironment of your chosen company using the appropriate analysis learnt.

• Evaluate the industry/sector your company operating in and evaluate whether this is an attractive sector to compete in. (Identify the critical success factors as well)

• Observe the Business Level Strategy of your company and identify the range of “generic” strategic choices your company appears to have made.

• Identify the competitive advantage of your company using the proper framework to prove your findings.

• Using the framework of strategic development directions and methods, further evaluate your company Corporate Level Strategy against the future competition they face.
(your answer must include a review of the company recent performance – see below)

Some guidance notes to this assignment:

? Word Limit: 3000 words +/-10%. The word limit excludes references. There is no allowance for words over the limit.
? Deadline: Turnitin will be open from7 Dec (Mon)- students have to upload their papers on to the Moodle systemtill 14December (Mon) 4:00 pm, which will be passed automatically to the Turnitin program.
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? The importance of your research: We expect you to have completed a substantial amount of relevant research to support your analysis and findings.
As a guide, we would typically expect a well-researched piece of work to have consulted at least 10 different sources.
Please visit/contact with an organisation of your choice, make interviews with the owners/managers and gather data on the chosen topic.
Material on a firm’s resources and capabilities is not always readily available from the firm’s published sources. You will need to learn to look widely through third party commentaries such as business press reports, analysts viewpoints, case studies, etc.
This might typically include identification of key competitors (or strategic groups of competitors), key groups of suppliers and groups of customers, performance indicators that analysts use to review success in the sector, analysis of the concentration of market shares, etc. It is important that your research enables you to understand the sector, the trends, and the drivers of change that influence it – please ensure that you consider trends over the last five years.

? The importance of using course concepts, models and frameworks: The module is designed to teach you about the tools of strategic management and how to USE them. Work which is essentially “descriptive” in nature will fail, so please evaluate and prioritize your findings in all cases.
? An overview of the company chosen (or of its individual competitors) can initially be obtained from annual financial statements and reports (downloadable from websites), and their investors’ websites. You should also seek out analysts’ reports and comments on the sector, and in some instances corporations publish lists of prominent analysts for their sector on their investor websites. Apart from information that analysts will provide on specific issues or performance, they will typically refer to what they, as experts, regard as the Key Performance Indicators for the industry.
? Financial and Performance data: The evaluation of your company success and the strategic development directions of their strategy going forward will require you to review the company financial information, and those for its principal competitors. The data will not simply be available for you pre-packaged in one place, but it is likely you will have to research data from a number of sources. Merely re-presenting the published financial data from the annual report and accounts is inadequate to answer the question, however. More insight canbe gained by analysing trend data, and making direct comparisons with the key competitors and industry average data.
? References and Sources: You will be well aware of the business school’s rules on referencing and acknowledging sources. Coursework which fails to meet these requirements may well be penalized or referred to the Academic Conduct Officer.

1. Short tests on seminars (30%):
You are required to read the selected case studies BEFORE the seminar. Failure to do so will lead to your exclusion from the seminar (and loss of marks).
To assess the level of the case study preparation 3 short test (5 minutes fail/pass) will be taken. (10% each)

2. Seminars and Contribution (10%)
We are interested in developing your ability to apply course concepts and frameworks, and the principle learning vehicle the module uses for this are the weekly seminars where we will examine case studies. Weekly registers will be taken at the seminars, and you must regard preparation, attendance and contribution as compulsory.

Assessment Grid for Class Contribution Scores
Class Contribution Score (%)
Always contributes quality thoughts,ideas and questions 90 – 100
Often contributes quality thoughts,ideas and questions 70 – 89
Occasionally contributes quality thoughts,ideas and questions 50 – 69
Rarely contributes quality thoughts,ideas and questions 30 – 49
Never contributes quality thoughts,ideas and questions 0 – 29

In brief, the set written industry assignment feedback criteria cover:
? Quality and range of research and sources used
You must do enough research to answer the question, and the range of your sources will be important. In addition, we expect you to evaluate the quality of the sources you use – How biased are they? How reliable? What data have they been compiled from? What is the source’s own purpose? To be clear, sources such as Wikipedia can not be credible in business due to the way the data is compiled – these will not gain any credit.
? Knowledge & understanding of course concepts
We expect you to know the course concepts detailed in the course textbook. We do not expect you to describe these concepts to us in assignments, but rather to use them in your analysis of the case scenario. Your understanding of these concepts will be demonstrated by the way you use them…
? Application of course concepts to analyze case scenario
You are required to add insight into the case scenario, and the primary way for you to do this is to use the course concepts to analyse data & evaluate your findings. Analysis also extends to the manner in which you challenge and interpret the reported facts and data on the case scenario.
? Argument & synthesis of viewpoint
This refers to the way you connect the findings of your analysis into a logical argument, with a clear flow of discussion – the starting point of this is drawing conclusions from the individual pieces of your analysis. Ideally, the disparate parts of your analysis “synthesize” into a distinctive viewpoint, insight or main finding. This is the added value that we look for from you in your work.
? Conclusions & viewpoint (including recommendations where appropriate)
Your assignment should always lead to a conclusion or conclusions. Your conclusion must be supported by the evidence of your analysis and the logic of your argument (never introduce new material into a conclusion). You must communicate the conclusion clearly and succinctly (sometimes through an executive summary of your main findings). If the task asks you to formulate recommendations these must also be out across clearly, and must, once again, flow from the report (rather than being conjured up as “good ideas” at the last moment).
? Structure, organization, and presentation
The structure of your report should support your argument above all else. You should distinguish between what you want to say to answer the question, and the work that you must do to provide those answers. A structure which describes and follows your work-plan does not always enhance the flow of your argument. Equally, a professional standard of presentation is expected, and the overall report should be written with the reader in mind.
? Adequacy of referencing
You are, of course, required to follow the standards set by the Harvard system of referencing used at IBS. Please read the regulations concerned. Be aware that failure in this area can lead to your referral to the academic conduct officer, with possible penalties.
Word count
If any work exceeds the word limit, the marker will stop marking once the word limit has been reached. He or she will usually continue reading to the end of the sentence, but no further.
Authenticating your coursework
You must be able to demonstrate that the course work you submit for assessment is your own. You must therefore keep (whether electronically or on paper) working documents that you used or created while preparing the assignment, such as drafts, photocopies of sources, completed questionnaires and internet pages. These should be kept until after the module results have been published on Neptun.
Cheating
All assessments are intended to determine the skills, abilities, understanding and knowledge of each of the individual students undertaking the assessment. Cheating is defined as obtaining an unfair academic advantage and any student found using any form of cheating, attempting to cheat or assisting someone else to cheat may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with IBS regulations. If you are having difficulty with your work it is important to seek help from your tutor rather than be tempted to use unfair means to gain marks. Do not risk losing your degree and all the work you have done.
IBS regulations define a number of different forms of cheating, although any form of cheating is strictly forbidden. These are:
? Submitting other people’s work as your own – either with or without their knowledge. This includes copying in examinations; using notes or unauthorised materials in examinations
? Impersonation – taking an assessment on behalf of or pretending to be another student, or allowing another person to take an assessment on your behalf or pretend to be you
? Plagiarism – taking or using another person’s thoughts, writings or inventions as your own. To avoid plagiarism you must make sure that quotations from whatever source must be clearly identified and attributed at the point where they occur in the text of your work by using one of the standard conventions for referencing. The Library has a leaflet about how to reference your work correctly and your tutor can also help you. It is not enough just to list sources in a bibliography at the end of your essay or dissertation if you do not acknowledge the actual quotations in the text. Neither is it acceptable to change some of the words or the order of sentences if, by failing to acknowledge the source properly, you give the impression that it is your own work
? Collusion – except where written instructions specify that work for assessment may be produced jointly and submitted as the work of more than one student, you must not collude with others to produce a piece of work jointly, copy or share another student’s work or lend your work to another student in the reasonable knowledge that some or all of it will be copied
? Duplication – submitting work for assessment that is the same as, or broadly similar to, work submitted earlier for academic credit, without acknowledgement of the previous submission
Falsification – the invention of data, its alteration, its copying from any other source, orotherwise obtaining it by unfair means, or inventing quotations and/or references.

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