Case Write Ups (20 points)

Case Write Ups (20 points)
Each student must submit short (300 words only!!) case write ups that we will term Position Outlines (PO).  I will not accept any PO’s longer than 300 words.  Students will hand in a PO at the beginning of the class, and submit an electronic copy via Canvas drop box. Omitting either the hard copy or the electronic copy earns an automatic 5-point penalty on the assignment.  If you must miss class on the day that an assignment is due arrange for a classmate to bring your hard copy to class or notify me via Canvas email.  The assignments must be neatly typed and should consist of one side of one page, double-spaced (you can add tables, figures, etc. beyond the one page, but they must complement rather than substitute for one page of text).  The PO should present your main idea(s) about the case for discussion. In other words, give me what you think is important about the case.  Do not summarize or review the events of the case (I have read the material).

Bold or highlight the key course concepts mentioned in your PO that support your analysis and your single most important idea.  Leaving out formatting requirements will cost you 5 points or one half of a letter grade so be sure to include them.  Over highlighting is just as bad as leaving out bolding and highlighting options.  POs that exceed 300 words are not acceptable.  If you go over the word count limit, you will have your choice of two options 1. take a ten-point penalty on the assignment; or 2. condense your PO and resubmit it in a timely fashion.

The criteria that I will use in evaluating your PO are: (1) How well (insightfully) did you apply concepts to the case? [most important] (2) How clearly and forcefully did you make your point? (3) Style and appearance of the paper (grammar, spelling, punctuation, logic, flow, etc.).  Here are a couple of hints on the PO’s.  Do not try to cover every issue in the case.  It is much better to develop one or a few issues than to deal superficially with several.  Finally, write these assignments in paragraph form not outline form.  The rubric for assignment evaluation is posted on Canvas.  Please be sure to read the rubric carefully. If you do not understand the assignment clearly, please ask me for help.  I am available to help you.  Do not get frustrated with the assignment (s) and avoid asking for help.  I want everyone to master this exercise and will answer questions and try to help you.

After you read the case, determine the central issue or issues management needs to address.   Your PO should focus on applying the course concepts to address that issue.  Note that the rubric and the discussion of the assignment requirement do not include the requirement that you emerge from the case analysis with the same opinion of the company/situation as mine.  I do not care what position you take on the company.  Whatever position you take, you must support that position and give me a compelling argument for your position in order to get full marks on the assignment.  Also, you must work in specific evidence from the case that supports your points.  Remember to stay in the time frame of the case.  It does not matter what management elected to do after the case time period.  I want to know what you think, given the information available.  If I want to know what management thought about the situation, I’ll research the company myself.

If you get a low score on a PO, it is because you did not fulfill the requirements of the assignment – not because I do not agree with your position.  Note that if your position does not jive with the case facts, the course concepts we’ve covered, common sense, or includes unsupported assertions, your PO will be incorrect.  For example, if you recommend that a company go into paper manufacturing because the capital investment required is lower than it is in Internet retailing, you must include figures to back up that assertion.  If those are not available in the case, then you’ll have to get them from independent research (citing your sources).

There are a few important points to keep in mind with regard to your writing style.  Do not use passive voice.  Do use first person if you make a recommendation.  Rather than saying, “It is recommended that IBM develop a new computer platform;” say, “I recommend IBM develop a new computer platform.”  Write your PO as if it were going to appear on the desk of the busiest executive in American.  Make your key point(s) in the first sentence (s) of each paragraph and use the remainder of the paragraph to support that point.  You must show your analysis in your PO and include both supporting course concepts and specific supporting evidence from the case in order to get high marks on your POs.  All PO’s must be written in essay style with NO BULLET POINTS or lists.  Do not use paragraph headings.

Finally, if you choose to include exhibits, graphs, or tables (recommended when appropriate) make those exhibits extremely user-friendly.  I should be able to nearly instantly grasp the gist of the exhibit and evaluate its validity.  Specifically, use a maximum of 1 decimal place for numbers unless the addition of more decimal places adds value (such as in some scientific instrument readings).  If a column is made up of all dollar figures, just use a dollar symbol on the first number in the column (ditto for percentages).  Make sure your column headings and the titles of the tables are meaningful.  Ask yourself if the table/graph/exhibit adds meaning to your PO or is a key support for an argument in your PO.  If the answer is no, do not include it with your assignment submission.  Reference your exhibits in the PO or do not include them with your assignment.  Do NOT reproduce tables/exhibits that are included in the case.  You may reference them with a footnote.  You may use figures from different exhibits for calculations or combine them in a new format that makes a meaningful contribution to your analysis.

The PO should look like this:

Sentences 1&2 – Your conclusion and/or recommendation for management (5 points)
Remaining Sentences of the PO – supporting course concepts (20 points) and analysis with evidence — persuasive qualitative or quantitative facts or interpretations of them (20 points)  — that confirms your position and refers to the attached exhibits written essay style in a total 300 words.  Analysis and overall effectiveness will account for 40 points of your score.  Formatting is worth 5 points, and writing style accounts for 10 points of the assignment.

Exhibits – calculations, graphs, tables showing the use of course frameworks such as Porter’s Five Forces (not included in word count)

The PO should not contain:
?    a recitation of case events or facts;
?    bullet points or lists of any kind;
?    section headers;
?    passive voice;
?    unsupported assumptions and opinions from personal experience;
?    more than 300 words excluding exhibits, your name and other administrative details (course number etc…); or
?    a cover page