Cases are useful learning tools. They allow you to analyze an actual business situation and to consider real marketing problems. The purpose of the case analysis is to define the problem facing the firm, generate alternative solutions, and suggest the best solution based on market place conditions and the firm’s resources. Your analysis and recommendations will be richer if you spend time trying to discern and then employ the appropriate set of theoretical frameworks and analytical tools that you have been exposed to thus far.
Even though these are real business situations, you should not be concerned in your analysis about the actual decisions of the firms (some of the cases are old enough that decisions have been made and results are obvious). First, there are always many options available to managers, and you should not assume the managers made the optimal decision. Second, sometimes cases are simplified, the time frame shrunk and/or only a portion of the situation is presented to you. Therefore, the real situation may have been more complex or even slightly different from the case presentation, to make your task easier. Third, even if a firm made a “good” decision, it is likely that other effective alternatives were available. Therefore, there will be no grading criterion which includes the firm’s actual decisions, and you should NOT spend time trying to locate the “real” decisions at the expense of thoughtful, original analysis.
The use of background data (as the “Internal Consultants” and “Management” teams – the two case teams) will typically not be needed as the case packet provides the relevant and requisite information. However, recent theories, analytical tools and marketing frameworks to analyze the industry, the product, the market, the consumers, the competitors, etc., can be used to structure your analysis.
ALL INFORMATION NOT DIRECTLY REFERENCED IN THE CASE MUST BE PROPERLY CITED. If you are unsure about how to cite any type of source, see the instructor for guidance.
HONOR CODE: In this course that entails that you are additionally NOT allowed to consult any past work done on these Harvard cases (whether from other students or from Internet sources) unless you have specific permission from the instructor.
CRITERIA: While There Are No “Correct” Solutions To Cases, There Are Clearly “Wrong” Or “Bad” Decisions. Therefore, each case analysis is judged on the recommendations it makes based on the available facts, combined with the sophisticated use of marketing theory, analysis, and clarity of logic.
You will do a 1-page write-up outlining the pertinent issues and your recommendations.