eco204_summer_2009_paper1_guidelines

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Unformatted text preview: University of Toronto, Department of Economics, ECO 204. Summer 2009. S. Ajaz Hussain ECO 204 Summer 2009 S. Ajaz Hussain Paper 1 Guidelines This mandatory paper is worth 5% of your total grade and is based on the questions in and discussion of the HBS case, The Prestige Telephone Company. It is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, July 2nd. Five points will be taken off each day the report is late. This paper is an exercise in economic and business analysis and an opportunity for you to develop your business report writing skills. These skills are developed through learning by doing with constructive feedback and as such both Asad and I are available to help you develop and hone these skills, provided you approach us with a draft of the paper. In other words, talking to us to get a feel for the right answer or "desired" approach is discouraged and will be detrimental to your grade. You're also encouraged to make use of the University of Toronto Writing Centers and the excellent, cheap book The Elements of Style by William Strunk 3rd. One of the aims of this paper is to train you in how to write a professional business report. It is therefore important that the report should have a professional look and content, an endeavor that takes time and multiple revisions. Do not leave this paper to the last minute. In general, there are no restrictions on font size and spacing, but you should obviously use common sense. Some guidelines for a business report are: The report should have a cover page with your full name and student ID. The report should have a one page executive summary (after the cover page). o The one page executive summary or memo is critical in business and is arguably the most difficult writing component of a business report. Given its importance and difficulty, companies like Proctor & Gamble require new recruits even from top MBA schools to spend a month training how to write a 1 page memo. In this particular case the report should have a maximum length of 12 pages (including the cover page and executive summary). 1 University of Toronto, Department of Economics, ECO 204. Summer 2009. S. Ajaz Hussain The report should be bound, i.e. it should have some sort of binding. Please note that stapling a report is not binding: it looks shoddy and unprofessional. The report should have page numbers and spell checked. In this particular case, if you need to cite something from the case, you can do so in a footnote. In general, you will need a bibliography. If you need to show the reader critical calculations, include these in the body of the paper. Otherwise relegate these to exhibits at the end of the report. The tone of the business report should be mindful of the fact that it is targeted at a business audience. It is easy to forget that business people are unfamiliar with economic terms ("elasticity", "marginal revenue") and that to effectively reach such an audience, economic jargon and nomenclature must be kept to a minimum. Of course economics is used in the analysis. But be empathetic to the reader by keeping technical jargon to a minimum 1 . To help you, here are some samples of excellent papers on a different case from last year's ECO 204: Sample 1, Sample 2, Sample 3, Sample 4, Sample 5, Sample 6, Sample 7. Turning to the content of the paper: at the very least, you must describe what is going on in the case and the proposals in questions 2 and 3 on ameliorating losses. If you want, you can think of question 2 as Ms. Susan Bradley's proposal and question 3 as Mr. Daniel Rowe's proposals. While you must discuss both questions 2 and 3, you're also encouraged to add value to the case, for which you will be rewarded. Many students interpret this to mean they must perform specific calculations to obtain additional mark and instead of thinking deeper about the case, tend to guess what we're looking for. This is incorrect. What we're looking for is whether you can extend calculations in some interesting way. We're not going to penalize you for not performing certain calculations that we may have thought of; after all, there are many ways to extend the case discussion. Rather, we want to see effort in tweaking assumptions, or digging deeper. Here are some examples: For the breakeven calculation, we omitted some costs. You could include the omitted costs and see how sensitive the breakeven number hours answer is to that assumption. Alternatively, you could calculate how long it would take to breakeven. For the proposals about raising/lowering price of commercial hours, the case gives you the expected (percentage) change in demand. For the given percentage changes, the change in profits is negative, so that profits do not increase when commercial prices increase/decrease. You could therefore calculate the percentage change in quantity needed for the change in profits to 1 Read the Economist magazine as an example of complex, technical analysis presented simply and clearly. 2 University of Toronto, Department of Economics, ECO 204. Summer 2009. S. Ajaz Hussain be positive. Alternatively, you could hold (percentage) change in quantity constant and investigate the increase/decrease in prices needed for the change in profits to be positive. Even though everyone must at the very least discuss questions 2 and 3 in the case, the "tone" of your business report will depend on whether you are writing from Mr. Daniel Rowe's or Ms. Susan Bradley's perspective. You could imagine that you've prepared a report for the meeting (mentioned in the case) between Mr. Rowe and Ms. Bradley. If your student ID ends in an: Odd number (1,3,..,9) you will write the business report from the perspective of the President, Mr. Daniel Rowe. Even number (0,2,..,8) you will write the business report from the perspective of the manager, Ms. Susan Bradley. To reiterate, the content does not depend on whose perspective you're writing from. Rather, the perspective dictates how the arguments are presented and developed. The grading criteria are: 3 Coverage of the major points: 30% Valueadded: 20% Organization & Presentation: 20% Quality of arguments, analysis: 20% Quality of writing (Grammar, Spelling etc.): 10% University of Toronto, Department of Economics, ECO 204. Summer 2009. S. Ajaz Hussain 4 ...
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