All written assignments should be typed and double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins. They should conform to a standard system of citation (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.) and formatting unless indicated otherwise. Page limits refer to the upper page limits; there is no minimum number of pages for any assignment. At the end of every paper (and not included in the page limits), you must write and sign the following statement: “I verify that the work contained in this paper is my own, with the exception of sources that have been properly cited” (for individual papers), or “We verify that the work contained in this paper is entirely our own, with the exception of sources that have been properly cited” (for group papers).
1. Introductions: Required. Due 9/12.
Objectives: To help students and faculty make connections. To reflect on how your current profession fits within a business organization and with your long-term goals.
a. Obtain your CSUN email address: http://www.csun.edu/itr/guides/account.html
b. If you have another preferred provider, set up automatic forwarding from your CSUN address: http://www.csun.edu/itr/guides/autoreply.html
c. Post a message at the class electronic discussion board (follow the WebCT link from the course website). In this message you will introduce yourself to the class by: (1) describing your educational background before enrolling in the MBA program, (2) describing your current job and explaining how it fits within a business organization, and (3) briefly stating what you hope to achieve in the program, explaining how it fits in with your long-term plans. Messages should be three paragraphs and about 200 words.
d. Read all your fellow students introductions by one week later, 9/17.
2. Myers Briggs Type Inventory instrument: Required. Due 9/12.
Objectives: To assess personal preferences in behavior and to consider how these differences play out in organizational settings.
Assignment: Complete, then score, the MBTI Form M. After determining your MBTI Type, read “Introduction to Type and Teams.” Be prepared to turn in your MBTI type in class.
3. Referencing Assignment: Required. Due 9/26.
Objectives: To make sure all students understand the need for appropriate referencing of research materials. To learn an acceptable method of referencing.
Assignment: Using the following passage from Steven Lynch’s 1997 book Arrogance and Accords: The inside story of the Honda scandal, published by Pecos Press of Irving, Texas, complete the following tasks. You may use any well-known referencing format (e.g., APA style), but make sure you are consistent.
a. Referencing. Write a complete reference for the text (such as what would go in your reference list or bibliography).
b. Citation. For each task below, include a citation when necessary.
1. Make a direct quotation of material from the text.
2. Paraphrase something from the passage.
3. Cite a fact from the passage.
4. Directly quote a sentence, but modify one or more words within the sentence, appropriately indicating which words are the original author’s and which have been modified.
5. Make a statement that requires no reference to the passage.
Honda dealership profits lived and died on new automobile sales – over half of a dealer’s earnings were generated by the new car department. During the mid-1980s, the increased availability of new Hondas, thanks to the Marysville factory, caused Honda prices to drop to “only” MSRP. The average Honda went over the curb with a fat $1,700 gross profit for the dealer, with Accord sedans and Preludes averaging more than $2,000 per unit. It was not uncommon for some dealers to squeeze $2,500 per car out of hungry Honda shoppers, with an occasional “home run” of up to $5,000 on a particular vehicle. Any gross profits over $700 per car flowed straight to the bottom line. Dealers’ spending on advertising was minimal, since word of mouth among customers was selling Hondas. Dealers’ floorplan costs – the interest paid on loans to purchase cars from the factory – were also low, because Hondas rarely sat on the lot for long. Non-Honda dealers grossed only about $950 profit per automobile, on units that required far more spending on advertising and floorplan expenses than did Honda cars. (Lynch, 1997, pp. 77-78)
c. Read the CSUN policy on Academic Dishonesty (in the Schedule of Classes and the University Catalog; also available on the university’s website).
d. Type, date and sign the following statement: “I have read and understood the CSUN policy on academic dishonesty and the policy of this class as printed on the syllabus. I promise that all of the work I submit in the program will be my own (in the case of individual assignments) or of my group (in the case of group assignments) and that all references to other sources will be properly cited. I understand that this statement will become part of my student file here in the College.”
4. Economics paper: 20%. Due 10/10.
Objectives: To apply economic tools to make better business decisions. To enhance critical thinking and analytical skills, and to develop a clear and concise writing style appropriate to business.
Assignment: Read the case, “Downtown Wine & Spirits,” posted on the website. Write a memo analyzing the decision the firm needs to make and answering the questions listed at the end of the case. Your paper should be no longer than six double-spaced pages including tables and figures, or five double-spaced pages not including tables and figures. (A memo is usually not double-spaced, but this one should be.)
5. Management paper: 20%. Due 10/17.
Objectives: To apply readings on management theory and practice. To enhance critical thinking and analytical skills, and to develop a clear and concise writing style appropriate to business.
Assignment: To be provided later.
Your paper should be no longer than four double-spaced pages.
6. Industry Project: Industry paper: 15%, presentation: 15%, company paper: 20%
Objectives: To integrate concepts from the course via an in-depth study of an important industry, and to develop research, writing, presentation and teamwork skills.
Assignment: Each team will analyze a selected industry. From the industry selected, each student in the team will analyze a specific company and the strategies that company employs to deal with industry issues. The industry paper should include an analysis using Porter's Five Forces. The company paper should include a SWOT analysis.
Industry Selection (a.k.a. “Homesteading”): Beginning on 9/19, teams may select an industry by claiming it on the Web CT course discussion forum. Once an industry has been claimed, no other group may select that same industry. This homesteading process will continue through 9/26, by which time each team must have selected an industry. Make sure your proposed industry is not too broad (e.g., “food”). The faculty will monitor the homesteading process and disqualify industry claims that are too broad or unacceptable for other reasons.
Select an industry for which you can obtain data. It is a good idea to find out how industries define themselves, for example through industry groups, SIC or NAICS codes, etc.
Industry Proposal and Pitch: Due 10/10. Each team must submit to both professors a brief (limit 3 pages) proposal, based on an outline provided by the faculty. The proposal should include a meaningful data-driven definition of the industry and a list of viable sources for industry and company information. Proposals will be defended during an “industry project pitch” to the faculty on 9/18, during which the team will also provide a preliminary list of industry contacts, tentative assignment of team members to specific duties, and a timeline for completing the project. Proposals will be revised until accepted.
Company Paper: Due 11/7. Each individual will write a five-page report on a single company within the team’s chosen industry. The paper’s sources should include an interview with someone within that company. Please submit the Individual Interview Form to the faculty prior to conducting an interview.
Although your team may research an industry in which a member is employed, you may not write your individual report on a company for which you work, nor may you interview someone who works in your firm.
Industry Project Paper: Due 11/28. Each group will prepare a written report on its chosen industry. The research should be integrated and interpreted, culminating in a discussion of the future of the industry.
Industry Project Presentations: Due 11/28 or 12/5. Each group will present the results of its research to the rest of the class. All members of the group must participate. The presentation should not exceed 20 minutes in length, to be followed by Q&A. It may be useful to think as if you are making a recommendation to a potential stockholder.
7. Participation: 10%. Due throughout.
Objective: To practice and demonstrate critical thinking, analytical ability, informal public speaking, and professional behavior.
Assignment: Most classes will offer an opportunity to participate in discussion. Students are expected to be prepared to contribute. It is not necessary for every student to make a comment during every class, but each student should be contributing on a regular basis. Students’ participation will be tracked using participation forms, which students will turn in at the end of the class session during which the contribution was made. Participation comments are evaluated for their quality. Quality contributions include those that seek clarification likely needed by many in the class, that offer an extension or application to the discussion content, or that present a challenge or alternative to the theory at hand.