Group Assignment Details
This document contains the details for the group assignment for Strategic Enterprise Planning semester two, 2019. 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/)
How to earn better marks
UNDERSTAND and FOLLOW the:
• task requirements (what you are asked to do); and
• formatting requirements (how you are to write/format the report)
These are clearly set out on the following pages—to ignore these or to undertake these in a lackadaisical manner just sends the message that ‘you don’t care’ and your marks will reflect your effort.
If you are not clear about the requirements, ask your lecturer.
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. and 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 assignment is as follows:
1. The proposal—20 marks THIS WAS DONE
2. The plan—60 marks
a. Report—50 marks
b. Presentation—10 marks.
Task Requirements Preamble
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.
A limited number of workshops and material will provide insight and guidance to both the strategic planning process and the creation of an actual strategic business plan.
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 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 some unknown reason too many students choose to ignore the above requirements—why? I have no idea but in larger organisations there is a ‘template’ of how they want their reports done—this is no different. There are marks allocated to this but they are not ‘freebies’—if you do not follow the requirements then you are just giving away marks!
Despite these formatting requirements being clearly set out in this document and lecturers reinforcing them before assignment submission, far too many students ignore them. You should use the above list as a checklist, i.e. ask yourself questions like:
1. Does the Title page have all the required information?
2. Have I formatted the page numbers correctly?
3. Have I addressed the aspects that are shown in the Assessment Criteria Sheet? See the last two pages of this document.
4. Have I used Australian English? (You only use American English when you are directly citing an American source and in the Reference list) and
5. Are the paragraphs fully-justified?
If you are unsure, ask your lecturer.
Assignment: Strategic Enterprise Plan—Report (50 Marks) and Presentation (10 Marks)—Total (60 Marks)
Value: 50% of your final mark 10% of your final mark
Style: Business report PowerPoint slides
Length: Circa 5,000 words Max of 20 slides
Date: Wednesday 30th October 2019 8am Wednesday 30th October 2019 8am)
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—(10 Marks)
You must load the slides into Moodle by the day/date of your group’s presentation—your lecturer will give you these details.
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 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for 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
Strategic Plan: Marking Criteria
Student Student ID Email
Assessment Task 2: Strategic Enterprise Plan—Report (50 marks), Presentation (10 marks)
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA % COMMENTS
Presentation—report format/workshop presentation, overall structure/flow, referencing, etc. Workshop presentation and engagement. 10
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. 10
Strategic Direction—including analysis of options, underlying drivers of competitive advantage, logic and rationale for the selected/recommended strategic option(s) 5
Implementation—this will require a range of key implementation considerations and areas of implementation 15
Research/data—range, breath, robustness, quality and credibility of data used/presented, your approach to accessing/generating this. Remember, this may be across many areas and might include a mix of more typical business analysis/research data and some more academic sources, etc.
Assumptions—identification and robustness of the core assumptions underpinning key aspects your plan, the link between assumptions and research and analysis, etc. 10
Logic and rationale—overall recommendations and feasibility of plan/decision. Overall alignment of corporate strategy to wider factors, i.e. both internal and external. 10
TOTAL (60% of the total course marks) 60