intended as a capstone

| June 5, 2016

Course Description

This is intended as a capstone course taken in the last two modules of the MBA program in two parts. In module-7 it is registered as a 2 credit course under the course code PRJ600 and in Module-8 it is registered as a 3 credit course with course code PRJ601.

The intent of this course is that the student will bring to bear all the learning and knowledge from the previous courses and their professional experience to show competence in the field of Business Administration. Specifically, we expect students to submit a comprehensive work, developing a Business Plan Proposal, in addition to an operational plan for a new venture within their existing organization or as a new enterprise. In addition, the students will develop professional Power Point presentations, which could ultimately be used to present the content to either a funding source (e.g., venture capitalists, bankers, etc.) or to their corporate leadership.

Course objectives:

The course aims to achieve the following objectives related to the knowledge and competencies gained during the course of the MBA program at AUM.

1. Demonstrate the ability to integrate the knowledge gained from all courses taken in the MBA program.

2. Demonstrate the ability to develop a business plan worthy of implementation

3. Show competency in feasible operational planning

4. Conduct appropriate level of research and knowledge acquisition required to make a convincing business plan.

5. Be able to articulate the business plan professionally in written and verbal format to the appropriate stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course the student is expected to:

1. Have a good understanding of developing business plans.

2. Ability to strategically position a new venture taking into consideration the existing products and competition.

3. Be able to evaluate a new venture from strategic, marketing, human resources, operational and financial perspective.

4. Demonstrate effective, efficient and doable execution plan.

5. Be familiar with funding options for a startup venture.

6. Be familiar with professional written business communication.

7. Be comfortable communicating ideas and concepts verbally using appropriate props.

8. Be able to connect knowledge from different business disciplines to evaluate the feasibility of a business proposal.

Notes about written assignments:All assignments, activities, reports, are due as hardcopies in class unless otherwise advised. Softcopies are required to be uploaded intoTurnit-in. No assignment will be accepted if not uploaded toTurnit-in.

Project Grading Criteria

You will be assessed on the following general criteria:

Applicability of Final Project – It is important that you have gained the technical and business knowledge to produce either a plan or proposal worthy of funding, and applicable to the situation posed. However, many good ideas may not be feasible from a business perspective. In developing a business plan, it is important to provide proof that it is an executable idea. This may be proven through acceptance by your Senior Management, Venture Capitalists, and ultimately by the Faculty in the AUM MBA program. A minimum of two faculty will be reading your final project and assessing you orally.

Quality of Writing – This is fundamental to communicating in any business as well as in an academic program. Please follow the APA manual guidelines for writing utilizing the APA publications manual, and the on-line reference guide as well.

Clarity and Succinctness of Thought – This can be a challenge. This does not mean write what you want to say in as few words as possible. Rather, what will be sought after is that you provide clear ideas, reasons for the ideas, and any primary or secondary support or analysis for your ideas in a clear and understandable manner. Quantity does not mean quality in this case.

Proof of your ability to think critically – This will be evidenced through the development of your plan or your proposal, your self-reflection piece, and through participation as evidence with your interaction with the faculty and your team mates, and your sharing ideas, thoughts, questioning and challenging those thoughts and ideas you may disagree.

Quality of Your Analysis, Ideas, and Positions – How much better do we understand the subject you are critiquing or writing about? How well supported are your ideas? Did you adequately research your topic and conduct the due diligence necessary for a comprehensive plan or proposal. Do you gain any insights or understanding? Do you add knowledge to the area of study through your own research and experiences? Does the evidence and support you give adequately provide reasoning for your ideas and conclusions? Note – When taking positions, it is important to have those positions supported through research/experts and scholarly writings, and of course cited appropriately.

Comprehensive Plans covering all dimensions of the venture– It is expected that you will have complete detailed strategic, financial, HR, marketing and operational plans as a component of your project supported by relevant data. It is expected that you will do some primary data collection for critical areas in addition to secondary data that you may use to support the positioning of your venture.

The following tentative grading rubrics will be used for your Project and the Professional Presentation.

Project Report Grading Criteria


Use of MBA Course content


Comprehensiveness/Completeness of the Scope


Research/References/Citations/Supporting Data




Critical Thinking/Integration/ Innovation/Creativity/ Novelty/Strength of Arguments/ Application & Execution


Team functioning


Functional Area Assessment


Project Presentation Grading Criteria


Executive Summary/Opening Statements


Comprehensiveness/Focus Balance




Strategic/Marketing/Financial Story Line


Communication/Presentation/Graphics/Visual Aids


Organization/Structure/Flow of presentation


Strength of Arguments/Support/References/Contact Information




Project Plan

The final report of the business plan will typically be 15-20 pages of written content (Times new roman, 12 Font size, Single Spaced) without Cover page, contents page, List of figures and tables, and bibliography. Additional exhibits, appendixes and supporting materials are expected to extend the report to 30-50 pages.

The report should include at the minimum the following elements:

1. Cover sheet

2. Table of contents

3. List of figures and tables

4. Strategic Positioning and Plan (10%)

a. Business description

b. Mission Statement

c. Business overview

d. Products and services

5. Market Analysis (10%)

a. Market size & trends

b. Market profitability

c. Segmentation

d. Target customer Profile

e. Online markets

f. Business Environment and market trends

6. Competitive Analysis (10%)

a. Porters five force model

b. SWOT analysis

c. Internal & external competitive analysis

d. Resource based analysis of competitive advantage

7. Marketing Plan (15%)

a. Situation analysis

b. Opportunities analysis

c. Targeting and positioning process

d. Marketing strategy for products and services

e. Pricing

f. Distribution

g. Promotional mix

h. E-marketing

i. Marketing budget

j. Implementation and control

8. Human Resource Requirements and Plan (10%)

a. HR Strategic Positioning

b. Organizational Structure

c. Job analysis (at least 3 key roles with CEO being one of them)

d. Recruitment Plan

e. Selection Plan

f. Performance management & Compensation Plan

g. Training & development plan

h. Retention plan with focus on nationals

9. Operating Plan (15%)

a. Resources and Production

i. Material Sourcing & Suppliers (Supply Chain Analysis)

ii. Facilities and equipment

iii. Operations

1. Production and Service delivery methods

2. Inventory management

3. Billing and collections

4. IT Plan

a. Processes & IT Policies

b. Business Process Automation

c. Hardware and software requirements

5. Other specific operational issues of the venture

b. Legal issues

c. Ownership and Management

10. Financial Plan (forecasted to a minimum 4 years, Monthly for the first two years then by quarter) (20%)

a. Financial Assumptions

b. Financial Statements

i. Income statement

ii. Cash flow statement

iii. Balance sheet

c. Financial Analysis

i. Financial ratios

ii. Breakeven analysis

iii. Sensitivity/Scenario analysis

11. Executive Summary (5%)

12. Project Plan- Preferably using project management software (5%)

13. Appendix (10-30 pages) (Mandatory as supporting documents for your main report)

Deliverables (refer to the weekly outline for due dates):

Report-1 (Module-7):

· Initial Business description (2 pages) (Times new roman, 12 Font size, Single Spaced, not including Cover page)

· Project Plan (as additional attachment)

· 15 min presentation

Report-2 (Module-7): Should include:

· Market Analysis

· Competitive analysis and Marketing plan in detail

· At least a brief coverage of operating plan and Financial plan (including assumptions and templates)

· Total about 10-12 pages (Times new roman, 12 Font size, Single Spaced, not including Cover page) & supporting documents

· Subject area faculty consultation log

· 30 min presentation

Report-3 (Module-8):

· First draft of the report due (should include most of the appendices)

· A scheduled feedback session with the project coordinator by each team separately

Final Report Submission (Module-8):

· Final Report (15-20 pages + 10-30 pages appendix) (guidelines for formatting specified above)

· Any deliverables such as product prototype, service demonstration video, etc

· Detailed subject area faculty consultation log

· Professional power point presentation

· Team presentation (30 min)

· Individual oral evaluation (15 min)

· The final report should be hard bound and six copies submitted for evaluations. Report & PowerPoint presentation to be submitted as both soft and hard copy.

All reports should be submitted in turnitin in addition to the hard copy submissions.

Final Presentation

The final presentation for each team will be 30 minutes to present their business plan and make the case followed by a 15 minute individual oral examination

Supporting Textbook (Optional):

Selected articles on various aspects of Business, Business Planning, Proposal Writing, Marketing plans, and Organizations.

HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case e-Book:

Additional Resources & Links:

1. Various resources available through theAUM Library Databases

2. The Elements of a Business Plan- Purdue Extension document

3. Harvard Business School Resources on Developing Business Plans.

4. University of Berkeley Business Plan Competition

5. Rice University Business Plan Competition – Example of Success stories

6. George Washington University – Sample presentations

7. Carnegie Mellon University Business Plan Index – An index of business plans by business types available online at the CMU library website.

8. The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans – An MIT course on Business Plans with extensive online resources.

9. – Sample Business Plans from the MootCorp® Competition at the University of Texas. Also, it has a good collection of tools helpful in developing strategic, marketing and financial sections of the report- Check in guidelines.

10. U.S. Small Business Administration – Planning tools to help in the development of a business plan.

11. – Resources and tools for developing business plans, including some business plan examples.

12. – A website with a step-by-step instruction on creating a business plan.

13. Resources Specific to Kuwait:






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