BA598 Key Case Questions – Spring 2007
Part 1: Cases up to Exam 1
Question Case Name Key Questions & Issues Group
A 1) How does BP add value to its businesses?
Planned 2) What are BP’s most important resources?
Team 2 3) When does BP add most of the value to its businesses?
Berkshire 4) How imitable is BP’s strategy? Partners 5) Are they earning Ricardian or Schumpeterian rents? B 6) Who appropriates the rents? Random 7) Would you change BP’s strategy?
1) Evaluate the general environment to determine the opportunities and threats facing the U.S. Airline
Industry and Southwest Airline’s in particular. What are the key opportunities and threats?
A 2) Do you anticipate any new opportunities and threats? Random 3) Use Porter’s Five Forces Model to determine the attractiveness of the U.S. airline industry.
4) What are Southwest’s tangible and intangible resources? Which are more important as a source of
sustainable competitive advantage? Southwest
Airlines 5) Identify and describe Southwest’s strategic assets and distinctive competencies.
6) Perform a SWOT analysis. What does the analysis suggest? B 7) Discuss Southwest’s business-level strategy. Is this strategy appropriate to offset the forces in the Planned 3 industry (based on the five forces analysis)? Team 8) Should Southwest expand internationally? Or should it exhaust its domestic expansion
opportunities first before expanding internationally?
1) Assess the financial condition of the firm (e.g., ratios: profitability, liquidity, leverage,
activity/efficiency) relative to competitors. What is you overall assessment of their financial health
relative to competitors?
2) Evaluate the general environment to determine the opportunities and threats facing Apple
A Computer. What are the key opportunities and threats? Planned 3) How would you define the industry? Then use Porter’s Five Forces Model to determine the
Team 4 attractiveness of the industry, as you define it. In your assessment, examine market size, growth
rate, scope of rivalry, rival concentration, vertical integration, pace of change, product/service
differentiation, economies of scale, and barriers to entry. Apple 4) Analyze and asses the competitive environment – their competitor’s future objectives, current Computer strategies, assumptions, and capabilities.
5) What are Apple’s strategic mission, goals and objectives, and strategies?
6) What is Apple’s strategic intent? This will involve assessing their (i) resources and capabilities, (ii)
determining which ones are strategic assets and distinctive competencies, and then (iii) determining how B they are being leveraged to effectuate their strategies. Random 7) Use your analysis in #6 and a SWOT analysis to evaluate Apple’s strategic alternatives. Which
alternative seems optimal?
8) Why did the first mover advantage Apple had in the computing industry not lead to a sustainable
1) What evidence do we have that BO is a stellar performer? Is BO’s success attributable to the
attractiveness of the industry? A 2) What are the keys to BO’s success? Random 3) Examining BO’s value-chain, is it a low-cost producer, a differentiator, or both?
4) Strategy-wise, does BO have to make any concessions to reap economies of scale? Banc One
5) What are BO’s most valuable resources? B 6) Is BO’s strategy sustainable? Planned 7) Why did BO buy the Deposit Insurance Bridge Bank? Is it consistent with BO’s strategy? Team 1 1) 8) What should BO do with the Bridge Bank?
1) What is Cooper’s corporate strategy?
A 2) How does it create value?
Random 3) How easy is it for another company to replicate this value?
4) What are its key resources? Cooper
Industries 5) How is Cooper organized to realize the value in their corporate strategy? B 6) What is your assessment of Cooper’s corporate office and the value it creates? Planned 7) Should Cooper’s acquire Champion Spark Plugs? Team 5 8) What are the limits to Cooper’s corporate strategy?
1) What bureaucratic challenges do foreign companies face as they make investment decisions about
2) What particular challenges do the bureaucracies of China present to foreign entrants into the
Chinese beer industry?
3) What economic and demographic changes make the Chinese market more attractive now (2005) for A foreign brewers than it was during the 1990’s, when many foreign brewers invested and then exited Planned at extremely high costs? Team 6 4) What decision criteria does the Chinese beer drinker use when he/she decides to purchase beer? 5) The case describes how some Chinese breweries form joint ventures with western breweries to take
advantage of their operational and managerial expertise. How important is this strategy? Anheuser-Busch 6) Is the beer industry a global industry? Why? Does being a global company in a global industry and Harbin give a company an advantage in the Chinese beer industry? Brewery Group 7) Why do AB and other foreign brewers think the Chinese beer industry is so attractive? Use in China Porter’s Five Forces Model to make an assessment.
8) What is the relative attractiveness of the three segments of China’s Beer Market? [Hint: Do your
analysis using the data from Appendix 1].
9) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the top competitors in the Chinese beer industry? How B important is their access to managerial and operating expertise through foreign companies [do the Random analysis by company]?
10) What are the possible strategies for AB and Harbin in the short run and the long run? 11) Harbin Brewing Company had been acquired at a cost of $720M, 50 times 2003 earnings. What
did AB get for its investment? Would you have outbid SABMiller or let them have Harbin at a
30% premium over market price?
BA598 Key Case Questions – Spring 2007
Part 2: Cases after Exam 1 but before Exam 2
Question Case Name Key Questions & Issues Group
1) Why did Birds Eye (BE) develop as a vertically integrated producer? A 2) What explains BE’s choices at each stage in the value chain? Planned 3) What sort of advantage did BE build over the other vertically integrated producers? Team 1 4) How did BE preserve that advantage?
Birds Eye (BE) 5) Why did the frozen food industry deintegrate?
6) What could BE have done to stop this? B 7) What problems did BE have in the late 1970s? Random 8) In this situation, is there any benefit to being vertically integrated?
What should BE do?
1) How does Textron add value to its 28 businesses? Are there negatives in their value-creation
2) What other types of firms are similar to Textron the way that they adds value to their businesses A (e.g., LBO, bank)? Planned 3) What systems, structures and processes does Textron have in place to ameliorate some of the Team 6 negatives you previously identified regarding its sources of value creation?
4) Regarding Textron’s incentive scheme: Why pay a 100% bonus? Why use one financial number? Textron
Why is it fixed for long periods of time? Why not use stick options?
5) How do they choose which companies to enter? Why?
6) Why can’t they cope outside these parameters (related to question #5)? B 7) Which businesses do they rid of? Is this appropriate? Are the businesses unrelated? Random 8) Is this a good corporate strategy? Was it a good strategy in the sixties? Would it be a good
strategy for the nineties?
1) Has the transformation been a success? Why?
A 2) What’s left at the headquarters? Is it justified?
Random 3) Why change the culture? How was it changed? Smashing the 4) How do you measure success? How long will it take to complete? Cube: Ciba-5) Has the transformation gone too far? Not far enough? Geigy B 6) Why is corporate HR struggling? Planned 7) Should purchasing be centralized? Team 2 8) How has the role of group company head changed?
A 1) How did Beatrice create value in the dairy business? Planned 2) Describe Karnes’ unrelated diversification strategy.
Team 4 3) Did it create value? Is this imitable? Beatrice 4) What was Dutt’s vision? B 5) Should Dutt be removed from his position in 1985? Why or why not? Random 6) Regardless of who leads the company, what should Beatrice’s corporate strategy be (be specific)?
1) Evaluate the general environment to determine the opportunities and threats facing Enron. What are
the key opportunities and threats?
2) Define the industry they are in? How attractive is the industry, as you define it. In your assessment,
examine the forces of change and key survival factors. A 3) Analyze the internal environment of Enron, including its resources and capabilities, its strategic Random assets and distinctive competencies, value chain, financial condition, strategic mission, and strategic
4) Use your analysis performed in #3 and a SWOT analysis to assess what strategic alternatives Enron Enron could choose from. Which one was the optimal choice?
5) Were Enron’s efforts at gaining political influence an ethical business practice?
6) What could have been done to prevent Enron’s fraudulent business activities? B 7) After examining the case on Enron, how can companies improve their governance structures? Planned 8) The case said that Enron had a corporate culture that made most employees “afraid to express their
Team 5 opinions or to question unethical and potentially illegal business practices.” Its culture also rewarded
initiatives and results? Are these two aspects of a corporate culture contradictory? And did the
company or its employees truly break any laws?
1) Evaluate Nestle’s tangible and intangible resources. Which are more important as a source of
competitive advantage? A 2) What are Nestle’s Capabilities? Are any of them distinctive competencies? Random 3) Does Nestle have a sustainable competitive advantage?
4) Provide a SWOT analysis for Nestle. What is the key challenges/problems facing Nestle? Nestle 1) Discuss Nestle’s business-level strategy in the yogurt market. Is this strategy appropriate for the B competitive situation in the industry? Do you recommend any changes? Planned 2) Is Peter Brabeck an effective strategic leader? Explain. 1Team 3 3) What approaches to innovation did Nestle emphasize in its development of LC?
4) What has happened to Nestle since the case?
*** This site is subject to change at my discretion ***