Capstone Project Essay The Capstone project allows students to demonstrate advanced scholarly, professional, and sophisticated levels of knowledge regarding business concepts and strategy expected of MBA degree holders by performing a General Strategic Review (GSR) of a company that leads to the recommendation of a specific strategic plan (i.e. a Specific Strategic Focus or SSF) whose ultimate goal is to increase shareholder value by solving a critical business problem through a set of measurable objectives. Capstone Project Steps: Students should select a publicly traded company for their project. A private firm may be selected as long as appropriate information is available to complete the project per requirements. Firms and the project proposal need to be approved by the instructor. Submit a project proposal of 1,500 to 1,800 words (body) for your selected firm for instructor approval by the appropriate deadline. Describe briefly the company and what the company does. Give a brief overview of the type of literature you will use in your project to meet the project requirements. Submit a 7,500 to 7,750 word (body) paper by the end of Week 7. The paper should include: Title Page (Use Capstone title page only) Table of Contents Acknowledgements (if desired) Executive Summary (see How to Write an Executive Summary handout) Introduction*: Introduce selected firm that will be discussed in project. Perform an internal scan that explains: Products and services Firm’s value proposition (What is it and how is it achieved?) Capstone Project Essay Types of customers / markets served Operational design (domestic, international, functional, matrix, etc.) Chronology of important recent events firm is addressing Financial status (use publicly available statements, ratios and analyst reports) Perform an external scan that explains: Market / industry characteristics (i.e. market/industry size, life-cycle stage, growth rates, direction, trends, etc.) Competitive environment Geographical issues Governmental/political issues Technological issues SWOT analysis General Strategic Review* (GSR) Identify three to five areas of strategic deficiency that could be addressed in order to increase the firm’s shareholder value. These areas of deficiency could either include flawed strategies that are currently being pursued by the firm or beneficial strategies that are not currently being pursued by the firm (but should be pursued). Some generalized examples of areas of strategic deficiency are: (note: this is not an exhaustive list – other areas of investigation are possible) Organizational structure Organizational systems and processes Corporate culture Leadership Talent development Performance management Ethics Managing internationally Virtual / digital capacity Innovation Marketing strategy / Go-to-market strategy Risk management Maximizing employee performance using management coaching IT Systems Governance Other (needs instructor approval) Specific Strategic Focus* Capstone Project Essay Choose a Specific Strategic Focus (SSF) from one of the three to five areas of strategic deficiency identified in the GSR above. You will then develop a specific, detailed strategic recommendation to address this onearea of strategic deficiency. Search for relevant peer-reviewed research and materials based on peer-reviewed research and trade publications (i.e. Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, or material from well-known financial advisory or consulting services) that provide an appropriate background and context for informing the development of your strategic recommendation. Make sure your sources are up-to-date. Literature Review Findings: Summarize the major findings from your literature review that inform your development of the strategic recommendation. Strategic Plan Recommendation: Capstone Project Essay Develop a specific plan to address the area of strategic deficiency based on the findings from (1) your literature review and (2) business strategy and other concepts you have learned throughout the Capstone course and your entire MBA program. This plan should include: (1) Specific steps the firm should take to address the area of deficiency, (2) An explanation of how/why shareholder value will be improved once the plan is implemented, and (3)Capstone Project Essay A detailed plan for measuring/evaluating the extent to which the implementation of the recommended strategy is successful (provide specific success metrics, timeframes for evaluation and how the data for those metrics will be obtained). References: Make sure all citations in the paper are properly referenced in this section and that all appropriate citations/references are included. Paper should have at least 20 sources, most of which are peer-reviewed journals. Professional publications like Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, etc. can be used as long as the material from such sources is driven by peer-reviewed sources like academic journals. Appendices (supporting material)
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