Real world

The purpose of this assignment is to apply the various concepts discussed in class to “real world” examples.


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Assignment: Students will complete an internal and external analysis of a diversified firm of their choice. Students will analyze the corporate and business strategies of the firm, recommend a blue ocean strategy, and explain implementation. The student is to assume the position of a consultant. Be objective and don’t ‘fall in love’ with your firm. Be able to point out negatives and risks. Paper is due in the Courseden dropbox no later than 11:59 PM on Tuesday, December 1.


Deliverable: Students should create a 3,000-3,200 word typed document (That’s about 10 pages) of their findings and opinions plus additional pages for title page, table of contents, and references. Paper should be formatted as12-point Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, double spaced, left justified, and page #s at bottom center. The paper should include generous use of strategy terms and analysis. The paper should cover the following at a minimum:


Corporate strategy

· What is the corporate strategy of the firm?

o What businesses does the firm compete in?

o How did the firm enter these businesses?

o Has the firm created value across the different businesses?


Business strategy (choose one business of the firm, likely the point of departure for your blue ocean strategy)

· Think about Porter’s generic strategies. Which does this firm pursue? Explain.

o What activities of the firm support your answer?

o Is the firm successful at this strategy?


Internal analysis:

· What are the firm’s strengths? Weaknesses?

· Does the firm own or control strategic resources?

· What value chain activities are most important to the firm?


External analysis:

· What threats and opportunities does the firm face in the external environment?

· What stage of the lifecycle is this industry at?

· What degree of competition does the firm face?

· Build comprehensive 5-Forces and strategic groups models. Insert figures of both in your paper and explain them.


Recommended blue ocean strategy and implementation (most important topic to address)

· Short description of your strategy

· How will the firm create an uncontested market space?

· How will the firm make competitors irrelevant?

· How will the firm create and capture new demand?

· How will the firm break the value/cost tradeoff?

· How will the firm align its whole system of activities in pursuit of differentiation and low-cost?

· What is your capacity for delivering this product/service?

· At a very high level, what will this endeavor cost?

Note: Blue ocean strategies are major changes…incremental change and status quo are not blue ocean strategies!


Advice: This is a lot of material to cover in 3,000 words, so choose your content carefully. However, I expect you to spend generous space on the blue ocean strategy and its implementation. You should reserve half the paper for your blue ocean strategy. Imagine that your audience is the Board of Directors and they already understand much about the company. Be as detailed as possible without going over your word limit. Style, substance, and grammar will be graded. It would help to watch the following video: Writing Good Paragraphs. Overall, I am looking for three things:


1. Your knowledge of the strategy concepts

2. Your knowledge of the firm

3. The comprehensiveness of your strategy recommendation (most important)



Note on grading: The first thing I will do in grading this assignment is to go through the following checklist.


1. Does the submission look professional?

2. Is the text portion of your paper 3,000 words (excluding cover page, references, and appendices)? If not, I will make an initial deduction proportional to the missing content.

3. Is the Blue Ocean Strategy portion 1,500 words?

4. Are margins set to 1-inch? Is the entire paper double-spaced?

5. Are sections clearly labeled with section headers?

6. Are there 5-forces and Strategic Groups models?

7. Is there a professional table of contents?


If any of the above are not met, I reserve the right to reject, or severely penalize, the submission. After assessing the above seven criteria, I will grade the content of the paper.

News Sources

Best Resources




Annual Reports






Federal Reserve System


Financial Times




The Economist


The New York Times


Wall Street Journal


Washington Post


Yahoo Finance


Other Resources




Advertising Age


American Demographics Online


Atlanta Business Chronicle



Bloomberg Financial News


Business Week


Business 2.0


Byte Magazine


Bureau of Labor Statistics


Capitalism Magazine


The Capitalism Site








Company Digest


Dow Jones




Dun and Bradstreet


Edelman Trust Barometer




Fast Company




GA Dept of Econ Development


Guerrilla Marketing


Harvard Business Library










Industry Week


Maclean Hunter Business Magazines


Marketing Magazine


Minority Business Entrepreneur






Red Herring Online


Securities and Exchange Commission


Strategy Magazine


The Economic Times



Time Magazine


U.S. Department of the Treasury

*These are only my suggestions. Use any legitimate resource you desire.



International Business Sources

Country-specific information




CIA World Factbook


U.S. State Department


Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions


Human Development Index (United Nations Development Programme)


World Economic Forum



Global Competitive Index (World Economic Forum)



Business and trade sites




Executive Planet (business etiquette)


Business Traveler Site


U.S. Government Export site


SBDC – International Trade Center


US Government Trade Agencies


Bureau of Labor Statistics


GA Dept of Econ Development – Intl’ trade






Expat Explorer Survey by HSBC


Cost of Living Pay Scale


International Organizations






European Union


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),3675,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


Corruption/Risk indices




Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International)


Country Risk Index (The PRS Group)


Passport information




U.S. State Department







Global Talent Competitiveness (GTCI)


Environmental Performance Index


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development,5&sRF_Expanded=,p,5



Edelman Trust Barometer

*These are only my suggestions. Use any legitimate resource you desire.

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