APPENDIX B – Firm Project
Imagine that you have been hired to consult a Fortune 500 firm. The firm needs strategic advice related
to external and internal problems. Your task is to identify the problems and propose solutions. Some of
the executives did not attend business school at USM, so you will need to provide clear and
comprehensive explanations for your recommendations. If you impress them, you will collect your fee
and probably be invited for future engagements. If not, you have wasted valuable time and injured your
professional reputation with many involved parties. You might even lose your apartment.
I am giving you the freedom to choose your own firm for this project, but no two students will analyze
the same firm. You are limited to the 2021 Fortune 500 (see list under the Documents module in
Canvas), and you must email me your “Top 5” list of prioritized choices as soon as possible. The first
student to choose a firm (as evidenced by time/date stamp on the email to email@example.com) will
get to analyze that firm. The deadline for choosing your firm is 9/18/2022.
You may use any source of information and must document your sources and references appropriately.
The finished product will be an original analysis paper that will ultimately be the primary content of your
Presentation. The Firm Project paper must be submitted electronically through the Turnitin Assignment
link found in the Canvas writing module by 11:59pm on 11/20/2022.
The required format of the paper is as follows: 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, margin
of 1” on all sides, and page numbers in the lower right corner of each page. The paper should be
consistent and compliant with APA, MLA, or some such other common writing standard for manuscripts
in an academic context. You must use current firm-specific accounting data (as of 12/31/2021 if
available) as appropriate for the firm analysis. The length of the properly formatted Firm Project
document should be approximately 20-25 pages.
1. Situation Analysis (40%)
a. SWOT Analysis (20%) – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
i. In table form, present a 2×2 matrix which displays the top two entries that are
relevant to your focal firm in each of the four categories
1. This will require one 2×2
table (see example at right).
ii. In paragraph form, explain the items
in section 1.a.i. above.
b. Firm-level trend analysis (20%)
i. In table form, present data from the
focal firm and two industry
competitors (from same 4-digit SIC)
with four important financial ratios
over at least four years.
1. For more information, drill
down to 4-digit SIC at
ii. In paragraph form, explain the data trends in section 1.b.i. above.
(example #1) (example #1)
(example #2) (example #2)
(example #1) (example #1)
(example #2) (example #2)
SWOT Analysis – Market:Ticker
Joel Bolton, Ph.D. MGT660 Syllabus Fall 2022
Page 8 of 14
2. Identify and explain management problems and solutions in the focal firm (60%)
a. External environment: Choose one problem from any two of the following areas:
i. Political factors
ii. Economic factors
iii. Sociocultural factors
iv. Technological factors
v. Ecological factors
vi. Legal factors
b. Internal environment: Choose one problem from any two of the following areas:
i. CEO, Executives, Corporate Officers, Board of Directors
ii. Corporate culture, Organizational structure
v. Human Resources
viii. Information Technology
ix. Research and Development
c. You will identify a total of FOUR problems: two external and two internal.
d. Why does each of the four identified problems exist?
i. Who are the stakeholders involved in each problem that you have identified?
1. There MUST be at least two stakeholders involved for a problem to exist
in the first place.
a. Examples include: Investors, Creditors, Customers, Suppliers,
Employees, Partners, Governments, Communities, Media, etc.
ii. What are the competing demands of the stakeholders involved?
1. Stakeholders must have competing (mutually exclusive) demands for a
problem to exist.
a. If mutually exclusive demands of involved legitimate
stakeholders do not exist, then the “problem” is not worth
management’s attention to address and resolve and is, thus,
NOT a real problem.
iii. For each problem, is the firm pursuing the best strategic solution?
1. If yes, then IDENTIFY, EXPLAIN, and DEFEND the firm’s choice.
2. If no, then IDENTIFY, EXPLAIN, and DEFEND a better strategy.
e. Predict the future of EACH problem and solution.
i. If the global economy contracts, how should each strategic solution be shifted?
ii. If the global economy expands, how should each strategic solution be shifted?
NOTE: Do not forget your role in this imagined assignment. You are a consultant who has been hired to
identify problems and propose strategic solutions. You are NOT a cheerleader or a public relations
manager or an internal sales champion or a member of the human resources staff. You should be cool
and dispassionate as you analyze the firm. Your singular focus is the sustained competitive advantage of
the firm that has hired you. The fact-based realities of global business are not always nice and happy
and covered with unicorns and rainbows. As you do the hard and necessary work to create value for the
firm and its stakeholders, keep in mind that your solutions may ruin someone’s year. So be it.
Be the smartest person in the room… The one the firm cannot imagine life without. #MBA #ToTheTop