Comments on assignments and advices for the exam
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Comments on assignments and advices for the exam. Professor JP Bonardi University of Lausanne – Faculty of Business and Economics. The exam. 4 hours Date to be announced Open book A short case

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Comments on assignments and advices for the exam

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Comments on assignments and advices for the exam

Comments on assignments and advices for the exam

Professor JP Bonardi

University of Lausanne –

Faculty of Business and Economics


The exam

The exam

  • 4 hours

  • Date to be announced

  • Open book

  • A short case

  • You will be asked to perform an analysis of the case and provide strategic recommendations to the company

  • I’ll be there the day of the exam, in case there are questions

  • There will be assignment questions to guide you


Exam similar format as the assignment should include

Exam = similar format as the assignment; Should include:

  • An executive summary

    • Summarizing the key problematic

    • Highlighting your recommendations

  • An explanation of the key problem(s) the company faces

  • Probably an analysis of the firm’s current strategy

  • An analysis of key dimensions: for instance: industry analysis; company’s core capabilities; company’s source of competitive advantage; etc.

  • A clear presentation and discussion of the main strategic options/alternatives

  • A set of recommendations, logically articulated with the rest of the analysis

  • Mention if likely to face implementation difficulties


  • On the assignments 1 each case has a problematic

    On the assignments (1): Each case has a problematic

    • It is critical to identify the problematic of each firm/case

    • This problematic should be apparent right from the start, in the executive summary

    • Even firms which are doing well face problems

      • To extract from being a pure niche player

      • To keep growing

      • To protect against unexpected changes in its core market

    • To prepare for the exam: you should review each case we’ve discussed and make sure you identify the problematic


    Comments on assignments 2 try to quantify if you can

    Comments on assignments (2): Try to quantify if you can

    • Each time you make an important statement in a case, try to see if you could back it up with data

    • Quick computations go a long way in making an argument more convincing

    • Not always possible, obviously, but really worth a try

    • To prepare for the exam: you should review how we did that in the cases we discussed

    • Also remember: When you make calculations, explain the implications  what do they mean for the company, its competitive advantage,….?


    On the assignments 3 common mistakes

    On the assignments (3): “Common” mistakes

    • Lack of conclusion on the 5 forces analysis in most cases

      • Is it a good market to be in? Will it stay so?

      • Also: lack of definition of the boundaries of the industry. Example: in which industry is Cirque du Soleil? How do you define it? This is not always totally obvious and conclusions can vary

    • Be careful with long list of stuff  you need to highlight what is really key

      • Ex: when you characterize a firm’s capabilities

      • Ex: when you evaluate what makes a new entrant a threat

      • Ex: when you evaluate each single force in the 5 forces framework

    • Sometimes: things coming from nowhere in the recommendations

      • Very important to have strong logical links between your core analysis and your recommendations


    Also use of case facts data

    Also: Use of case facts/data

    • No need of general summary of case (such as Company history, list of capabilities, description of competitors, etc.)

    • You need to use the case facts, but to demonstrate something

    • That also means selecting the right ones and computing them (either through calculation, graphs, etc.)


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