Strategic Enterprise Plan
Major Assignment Details
This document contains the details for the major assignment for BUMGT5928 Strategic Enterprise Planning semester one, 2020. It can be done individually or as a group. Included are aspects such as:
• The assignment requirements;
• How they meet the Learning Outcomes—refer to the course description;
• How the assignments are to be formatted; and
• How they will be assessed by using an Assessment Criteria Sheet.
You must read these in conjunction with the course description which contains other pertinent information on submission, etc. It is your responsibility to fully acquaint yourself with these requirements. If you are not clear on any aspect please speak with your lecturer.
The overall purpose of the assessment is for you to demonstrate an “advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge” (AQF Level 9—Masters http://www.aqf.edu.au/aqf/in-detail/aqf-levels/)
Good luck with the assignments.
Overview of the Assignments
Nominally, this assignment is a group project but many students decide to do it by themselves, e.g. they do it for their employer and hence, there are issues concerning commercial confidentiality. If you do it as a group project then there is a maximum of three students in a group. Whatever the approach, your lecturer must approve it.
This two-stage (but three pieces of work) assessment task centres on both the process of, and development of, a strategic plan. This plan could be for an entire enterprise, an SBU of a corporation, or for a start-up (e.g. for-profit or a social entrepreneurship venture).
It brings together all the requisite aspects of strategic business planning/decision making, culminating in a fully integrated and robust strategic business plan being developed and presented. As such, it draws on key theory and principles that have formed the basis of many of the courses you have undertaken as part of the MBA program.
However, this assessment requires students to have not only just a demonstrated knowledge of the core principles, etc. but also an ability to (a) integrate these and (b) apply them in a real-life business plan. This reflects the capstone nature of this course and part of the assessment is designed to equip you with ‘decision making ready’ skills/capabilities and for you to be an effective contributor to wider business planning activities in future situations.
While there is a very clear emphasis on your own research, analysis, thinking, planning and creativity, your report must be based on well-developed arguments, logic, evidence and rationale. As such it will be necessary to undertake considerable research, analysis and synthesis to develop your ideas. A key aspect is to be able to support your ideas and direction, etc. with logic and evidence. To this end you will need to reference key material used in this assessment task. Referencing is not just related to meeting academic criteria—it also reinforces to the reader, (e.g. potential investors) the underlying logic and rigour of your plan, etc.
The structure of the assignments is as follows:
1. The proposal—20 marks (report)
2. The plan—60 marks
a. Report—40 marks
b. Presentation—20 marks.
Task Requirements Preamble
Working individually or in a groups with a maximum of three students, you are required to develop a fully integrated strategic business plan—from initial research through to final implementation/review, etc. of the actual plan.
This will require all keys facets to be considered and of course, to include the key area of implementation and performance measurement. It is not just about the direction but also a sense of how the firm/organisation can successfully implement the plan. Inherent in this is the need to address key risk areas and associated risk mitigation measures the organisation might need to have in place.
Here are some suggested options that could be considered:
1. Start-up Business/Organisation—developing a business case for a non-existent firm. This might be the ‘blue print’ for a business you want to start after graduation; and
2. Existing Business—developing a future strategic direction for an existing firm/organisation. Examples might include firms where you have access to good information/data or an ability to develop a VERY sound base understanding.
• High profile/publicly listed firms where there is a wide range of public domain information. Has rarely been done—results were poor mainly because students had far less understanding of the organisation and industry than they thought.
• Case studies—firms where RECENT case studies provide a good base understanding. Has never been done as access to appropriate cases is highly restricted.
• Prior/inside knowledge—it may be a firm that you are working in, or have worked in.
Examples from recent semesters are:
1. A start-up for a Ballarat-based family run restaurant specialising in African food.
2. A plan for a division of a major regional hospital.
3. A plan for a family business to help its transition the leadership from the founders to the next generation of the family.
4. A plan for an existing regional-based café that employs people living with disabilities.
5. A plan for a new revenue stream for a major not-for-profit organisation.
6. A start-up for an online sports clothing, equipment and entertainment retailer.
7. A plan for the commercialisation of a new, more sustainable building material.
8. A plan for a new Domino’s Pizza outlet in Sydney.
9. A start-up for a home-based Indian food delivery and takeaway business.
10. A start-up for a health food café in a Victorian regional town.
11. A start-up for a new maternity and obstetrics health care business in rural India.
12. A start-up for a Ballarat-based retailer specialising in children’s shoes.
13. A three year plan for an existing sole proprietor in the funeral services industry.
14. A three year plan for an existing sole proprietor in the domestic cleaning services industry in suburban Melbourne.
Your choice of organisation/firm MUST be approved by your lecturer PRIOR to beginning this task.
A term that is frequently used today is BUSINESS MODEL but there does not seem to be universal acceptance of just what this means. There appears to be some overlapping of terms such as business model, business strategy and business plan which only adds to the confusion. However, putting that issue aside, you should consider how to incorporate a business model into your strategic enterprise plan.
I have reviewed a number of plans that have been submitted over the last couple of years and I believe there has been a wide range of approaches taken on the financial aspects of the plans—from very little to very extensive. I see little value in you developing great sounding plans/strategies if there is no or very little financial reckoning of those plans/strategies. There is an opportunity here to conduct limited sensitivity analyses which can highlight how robust your predictions are considering various assumption changes.
I have also observed that many plans encompass the breadth and depth I would expect of a strategic enterprise plan covering, e.g. organisational behaviour issues, contingency plans, HR aspects, risk management and so forth. If your plan has a too narrow a focus on say, marketing, then the course aims are not being met. You should re-visit the Learning Outcomes and the Course Content sections of this CD as you, e.g. gather data, conduct analysis, develop strategic options, evaluate options and compile the plan so as to remind you as to whether your plan takes a sufficiently broad organisational perspective.
The Proposal (20%)
In the early stages of this course you are required to submit a written proposal outlining key factors such as (but not necessarily limited to):
1. Selected firm/organisation;
2. Underlying issues to be addressed, span of the project;
3. Research methodology;
4. Information/data sources;
5. Likely/possible key challenges in developing the plan, etc.; and
6. Key outcomes and timeframes.
This is very similar to a business consultant proposal to a firm—done in response to a request by the firm to have some business planning/business plan developed. This is typically done prior to any detailed work being undertaken and prior to any approval being given. In a commercial situation, this proposal would also include information on costs, etc.
It is hoped that students will agree to the lecturer sharing their proposals on discussion boards in Moodle so that all students have the chance to provide class mates with additional feedback. This is not compulsory but insights from fellow students could benefit the final plan.
On Moodle there are two samples from Mt Helen students for the second semester 2018. They are noticeably different, with one providing far more information but they both address the basic requirements as laid out in the relevant Assessment Criteria Sheet—see the end of this CD. Do NOT just ‘copy’ these—they are guides only—they represent the minimum standard I am expecting from final semester MBA students doing the capstone course.
The Strategic Enterprise Plan (60%)
At the end of the teaching period you will be required to produce the following:
• A presentation
• A report
Presentation: This will be to the wider group and might also include other people—invited guests with a very real awareness of business plans and business planning. Possible candidates might include financiers involved in assessing business cases, business management consultants, and other lecturers.
Ideally this would as a Power Point presentation format with ensuing discussion and debate.
The above format will allow for constructive criticism, review and feedback to be provided with you doing the same for other business case presentations.
Report: After the presentation/workshop session (considering the feedback, etc.) you will be required to develop a fully integrated business plan. The plan will cover all key aspects of a strategic enterprise plan.
Guidance on how to develop a strategic plan will be provided in a workshop session and associated readings, etc. You will have the opportunity during the teaching period to view a couple of business plans BUT you cannot keep them or take photos. The purpose is simply to give you a better insight to the breadth and depth that we expect of MBA students in the capstone course.
General Formatting Requirements for the Reports
They are to satisfy the following requirements.
• Report format—business (not an essay)—see Report Writing notes on Moodle and other FedUni Library resources.
• Use a report Title page making sure you have all the required details—course code and name, assignment title, your name and ID, submission date/time, lecturer’s name.
• The Executive Summary is placed before the Table of Contents.
• Insert the Table of Contents by using the Word steps—click on References, click Table of Contents and automate the process. If you have tables and figures you may want to consider having a Table of Tables and a Table of Figures shown after the Table of Contents.
• Page numbering. The Titlepage is not numbered. The number format for the Executive Summary and the Table of Contents is i, ii, etc. The body of the report starting with the Introduction is numbered 1, 2, 3, etc.
• DO NOT write in the first or second person (I, we, our)—write in third person only.
• Proof-read at least three times for spelling, grammatical and logic errors.
• Font—any San Serif font, e.g. Arial.
• Paragraphs—fully justified.
• Paragraph spacing—one space before and after.
• Line spacing—single.
• All tables and diagrams labelled—they do not form part of the word count. Check APA 6th Ed. Manual as tables are labelled differently to diagrams.
• APA reference style. http://federation.edu.au/current-students/learning-and-study/online-help-with/referencing
• Use Australian English, e.g. organisation NOT organization. You only use American English when you are quoting an American source. To assist you please visit http://www.tysto.com/uk-us-spelling-list.html Further, make sure you set your language in WORD as English (Australia).
The is a Word file in this course’s Moodle titled Executive Summary Guidelines RE BOS that many of you will have seen in the Marketing Management course. Please read carefully and follow what is put forward. If you are not sure of any point, ask your lecturer. My expectation is that an MBA graduate can make a reasonable attempt at writing a cogent Executive Summary—it is a very good skill to have in the business world.
For the group assignment you will be required to submit your report via the Turnitin tab in the course’s Moodle shell. Turnitin is an electronic text matching system that compares text in a student assignment against a database of sources. The database contains copies of electronic text on the Internet, in published works, on commercial databases, and in assignments previously submitted to Turnitin by students in universities all over the world, including assignments obtained from Internet sites that sell student papers. This will help you identify where your referencing requires attention so that you can minimise plagiarism occurrences.
For more on plagiarism see:
ONLY submit your report—DO NOT submit the School’s cover sheet where you state that you have complied with the University’s referencing rules and DO NOT attach the assignment’s Assessment Criteria Sheet (ACS) to the report as this will also affect the Turnitin score. The ACSs are at the end of this document—please submit these via the designated submission icon in Moodle.
Group Assignment: Proposal—Report (20 Marks)
Value: 20% of your final mark
Style: Business report
Length: Circa 1,500 to 2,000 words
Date: Partner Lecturer (PL) to insert day, date, time
Submission: Submit via Moodle Turnitin—Word document (NOT pdf)
Marking criteria: See Assessment Criteria Sheet at the end of this document
Details: Handout and Moodle
Group Assignment: Strategic Enterprise Plan—Report (40 Marks) and Presentation (20 Marks)—Total (60 Marks)
Value: 40% of your final mark 20% of your final mark
Style: Business report PowerPoint slides
Length: Circa 4,500 words Max of 20 slides
Date: PL to insert day, date, time PL to insert day, date, time
Submission: Submit via Moodle Turnitin—Word document (NOT .pdf) Presentation—3 slides per page handed to lecturer prior to presentation. Also submit via Moodle—PowerPoint file
Marking criteria: See Assessment Criteria Sheet at the end of this document See Assessment Criteria Sheet at the end of this document
Details: Handout and Moodle Handout and Moodle
Presentation Format and Requirements—(20 Marks)
You must submit the slides to Moodle by 8am Saturday March 14 and bring a hard copy to class for the lecturer.
General First presenter should introduce the topic, his/herself, group members and what section each member is covering. When finishing a section the person should introduce the next person and the section to be covered
Time Circa 25 minutes plus 10 minutes for discussion/questions
Font size Minimum font 20 point
Maximum number of points per slide Three (3) and two sub-points per main point (do not drown your audience in information)
Maximum number of slides 20—all slides are to be numbered
Colours Light background, dark font
Tables, charts, etc. Yes, these can be included but do not make slide look cluttered or difficult to comprehend. The audience needs to be able to see a clear link between the information on the slide and the point you are aiming to make. Use animation tools in PowerPoint to highlight what is relevant
Referencing Make sure you reference as per APA 6e
Assessment Tasks 1 & 2: Resources
Below is a range of resources that will assist you throughout your degree. As you are seeking to enhance your problem solving skills and demonstrate an ‘advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge’ (AQF Level 9 – Masters http://www.aqf.edu.au/aqf/in-detail/aqf-levels/). It is critical that you can demonstrate a structured approach to your thinking.
Your assessment is graded based on you meeting the AQF Level 9 requirements. There is an expectation that you are using the resources below or the resources available to you in the assignment folder to assist in achieving this.
If you want to improve the strength of your argument/writing it strongly recommended that you purchase
The Case Study Handbook: How to Read, Discuss, and Write Persuasively About Cases by William Ellet. This book is an excellent resource in any degree where creating a logical, coherent argument in support of a recommendation or key insight is the primary focus (e.g. a business degree). http://www.amazon.com/Case-Study-Handbook-Discuss-Persuasively-ebook/dp/B0106P71RS/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=
Key Business Solutions: Essential problem-solving tools and techniques that every manager needs to know (Financial Times Series) 1st Edition by Antonio E. Weiss . This book has an excellent approach to problem solving as well as providing a description of all the main tools of business analysis. http://www.amazon.com/Key-Business-Solutions-problem-solving-techniques-ebook/dp/B00A8EZL7A/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=
Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills by Michael Kallet. Simple and yet detailed book on how to approach problem solving. http://www.amazon.com/Think-Smarter-Critical-Problem-Solving-Decision-Making-ebook/dp/B00JOIGXP0/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1445814846&sr=8-1
If you are not familiar with writing in a business context it is strongly recommended you purchase: HBR Guide to Better Business Writing by Bryan A. Garner. http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Better-Business-Writing-Series-ebook/dp/B00B0YPJ0G
If you are not familiar with presenting in a business context it is strongly recommended you purchase: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Durate. She teaches Harvard students how to present. You will find some excellent presentations by her on Youtube. http://www.amazon.com/HBR-Guide-Persuasive-Presentations-Series-ebook/dp/B009G1W9JO/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1DHZJH3QV7CE72ME7M7K
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. Fantastic book if you want to break free on boring and unengaging presentations. http://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Zen-Simple-Delivery-Edition/dp/0321811984
BUMGT5928 SEP Proposal: Marking Criteria
Student Student ID Email
Assessment Task 1: Strategic Enterprise Plan—Proposal—20 marks
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA Marks COMMENTS
Well-developed, realistic/plausible and clearly defined project. 2
Suggested Research Topics & Theories/Concepts
1. Research Topics
What topics need to be covered, e.g. analysis of the organisation, macroenvironment, competitors, industry, target markets, etc.
a. Data Sources
Well-developed and clearly demonstrate understanding of key data sources and associated accessibility, quality and credibility considerations.
Articulate what theories/concepts will be used to analyse the data and develop alternative strategies. 10
Project Outcomes/Deliverables (the Strategic Enterprise Plan)
A demonstrated understanding of the key areas/sections that will be included in the final strategic enterprise plan and the associated linkages/sequencing of these key sections. (Not every plan will be exactly the same in the range/depth key areas/sections.) 3
Project Milestones/Key Deadlines
Well-developed understanding of the key time deadlines and related deliverables, developing a staged/sequential framework. This will allow further reinforcement of the need for discipline and to establish key milestones in the process of researching and developing strategic enterprise plans. 2
Report aesthetics, formatting, APA referencing, etc. 3
TOTAL (20% of the total course marks) 20
BUMGT5928 Strategic Enterprise Plan: Marking Criteria
Student Student ID Email
Assessment Task 2: Strategic Enterprise Plan—Report (45 marks), Presentation (15 marks)
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA % COMMENTS
Presentation—overall structure/flow, content, delivery, engagement, referencing, etc. 20
Executive Summary—introductory sentence/paragraph, Major Findings, Major Recommendations 5
Strategic Audit/Analysis—internal/external. Key areas including approaches to analysis, use of frameworks (where applicable), approach to analysis and individual synthesis, implications/ideas generated as a result of this analysis.
Research/data—range, breath, robustness, quality and credibility of data used/presented, your approach to accessing/generating this.
Assumptions—identification and robustness of the core assumptions underpinning key aspects your plan, the link between assumptions and research and analysis, etc. 12.5
Strategic Direction—e.g. mission statement/vision, goals and objectives, logic and rationale for the recommendations, overall alignment of strategy to wider factors, i.e. both internal and external. 10
Other considerations—implementation, financial analysis, contingency planning, etc. 7.5
Report aesthetics, formatting, APA referencing, etc. 5
TOTAL (60% of the total course marks) 60