Select a business or part of a business that you are very familiar with. The business
must already exist. This is not an assignment to evaluate a new venture proposal.
• Students who select a company, even if it only has one business area, are likely to
score poorly. The marker is looking for a very specific management agenda at the end of
the assignment; this is difficult to develop for a company. Even when the company has one
business area (i.e.: a budget airline) our advice would be to narrow down the assignment
to a part of the company (i.e: a route).
• The assignment can be based on an internal department or service.
Assignment Structure Guidelines (1300 words maximum, 15 pages maximum – The assignment
flysheet, contents page and bibliography are not part of your word count or page length
1. 100 words maximum
Provide background to the business, or part of a business, you are basing your assignment
on (this is to familiarise your marker with your subject matter). Hints:
• A tabulation showing sales, profits etc. for the business over time is usefully
employed (Note: Company data can be included but you should primarily provide business
• What is the role of the business, or part of a business, you are basing your assignment
on? How is performance evaluated?
• What percentage of portfolio sales/performance does the business account for?
• In 2. below you identify a customer target. How important is this customer target to
the business and what are current levels of performance?
2. 100 words maximum
Select customer target. Outline the customer ‘job to be done’, what they want,
crystallise customer needs.
• Quantify, stress relative importance (weights) of customer needs in a tabulation
• If different customers have very varied needs it may be appropriate to focus in on one
market segment with similar needs or even just on one customer
• Once you have considered and weighted customer needs consider how well you (and
competitors if you have them) satisfy them. Consider Price vs. Needs – this starts to
address elasticities and Value.
• You do not have to accept current customer needs; they change over time; your desired
strategy may be to re-educate customers to a novel set of
requirements you can uniquely satisfy. Note: customers may not be able to articulate
• You may wish to reflect on the Decision Making Unit, Decision Making Process,
Influencers (Marketing course)
3. 100 words maximum
Outline your current and desired position/core value proposition in broad terms (a
positioning statement outlines how you intend to meet the ‘job to be done’/customer needs
in a distinctive manner). Your current and desired position may be the same. If the
position is the same your assignment is primarily concerned with how you can execute that
position more effectively, efficiently and build for the future. Note: You cannot decide
on your desired position until you have conducted your Audit in Section 5. Your desired
positioning in this Section informs the marker of the outcome of your subsequent
• Ensure your desired positioning is consistent with your Audit analysis in Section 5.
• Normally a positioning statement outlines how you intend to satisfy customer
requirements better than competitors. For an internal service how you could deliver
better value more cost effectively, or, better than potential external providers
• Business Strategy Workshop readings: M.E. Porter’s Generics, Need/Access/Variety; the
Value Map; Distinctive Tag Line and Strategy Canvas can be used to help illustrate your
desired position (as well as Workshop content: The Discipline of Market Leaders, Zig-Zag
Positioning, Spider Graph, SNAP charts). Grant’s chapter 7 considers, ‘The Sources and
Dimensions of Competitive Advantage’
• Your desired position should link closely to step 5 (your Audit) and step 8 (the
4. Optional tabulations: Marketing P’s and Key Success Factors You may wish to audit:
a) How well you translate your desired position in the Marketing P’s: Product/service,
Price should have already been outlined in Section 3 – Positioning, your core value
proposition. These can be recapped and Promotion and Place audited. b) How well you
compare to your Key Success Factors and Key Performance Indicators, Key Result Indicators
Your audit aims to identify areas for improvement, given your desired core value
proposition – your final management agenda outlines how to improve in these areas.
5. 500 words maximum
Audit how well the business, or part of a business delivers its position currently in the
Hints – an audit:
• Initially you need to explain/describe what is done currently (stressing quantification
– use diagrams/tabulations for this.)
• You should outline what are the key choices, activities, costs and resources at each
stage of your operating model – quantify.
• Detailed diagrams tend to score better.
Please ensure you include your student number and the assignment reference
(SM/Student Number/Jul13/1) in all submitted assignments and that assignments
are paginated. Failure to do this may lead either to a grade not being assigned or
being wrongly assigned
? If information is not readily available provide best estimates and press on
? Diagrams and text should consider Fit: Consistency, Reinforcement and Optimisation of
the business or part of the business being considered
? Emphasise Fit with customer requirements – from current and desired positions
• Compare/contrast against best practice/Key Success Factors. The aim being to find gaps
in performance – areas for improvement
• In auditing the business, or part of a business, USE ONLY ONE of the following
? The Strategy Canvas
? The Business System
? The Value Chain
? The Activity System Map (pre-Workshop readings are provided on each)
6. Optional tabulations: Resource & Capability evaluation After explaining and describing
the key activities, costs and resources in your operating model, a resource and
capability audit is an optional application followed by a strength/weakness versus
strategic importance evaluation. (R. Grant chapter 5 considers resource and capability
analysis.) If you decide to have these optional tabulations include them straight after
your description of your operating model in section 5 – before your 500 word audit.(Note:
in the Workshop team 3 will apply this methodology twice to Unilever and Ice Cream)
7. 200 words maximum.
Linkage internally to other areas of the company and to the external ecosystem. The
assignment’s focus is on your business or part of a business. This Section allows you to
reflect, and comment on how well key internal and external linkages are aligned, areas
that can be improved. Focus on one internal linkage you would like to create or
strengthen and one external linkage you would like to create or strengthen
8. 300 words maximum
Management Agenda – for the next 18-36 months A management agenda is a blueprint for
action, describing in detail how you intend to move from the current to the desired
position (A to B). How the operating model will be strengthened to attain the desired
• Your strategy may not be fully implemented in the next 18-36 months. This is not a
concern, a strategy is a ‘work in progress’.
• If you are changing a lot, overview in your first paragraph the changes to be made and
then focus in on the key actions in the remainder of your agenda
• Agendas will set out action plans, associated costs, resource allocation, milestones,
responsibilities (You should consider a tabulation to help you present your agenda)
• Agendas naturally have a cost:benefit justification – why the recommendations should be
• Assignments need to outline how the change is to be accomplished, it is not enough to
say we will set up a committee to analyse this issue. An agenda outlines what you will
• You should be happy passing on this script to your colleagues, senior management, as a
well reasoned/argued way forward for the business.
• Your agenda should be realistic – what you believe actually can be accomplished.
The assignment should be at maximum 1,300 words plus diagrams and tabulations which are
not part of the word count. Your assignment should be no longer than 15 pages. (The
assignment flysheet, contents page and bibliography are not part of your word count or
page length guidelines). Assignments significantly in excess of the word count or length
guidelines will be penalised. Supporting appendix data is not wanted. Please do not
explain concepts, the marker is familiar with them, just managerially apply them.
Quantify, be analytic, be managerial.
You should not omit data/analysis needed to complete the assignment on the grounds of
confidentiality. If you have concerns over confidentiality you can:
– Change the name of your company/business area
– Use a disguise factor (i.e.: divide all data by a percentage)
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