eco204_summer_2009_paper2_guidelines

eco204_summer_2009_paper2_guidelines - University of...

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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 2 Guidelines This mandatory paper is worth 10% of your total grade. It is based on the HBS case DHL Worldwide Express, which will be discussed on Friday July 24th. The paper is due at the beginning of the tutorial, Friday August 7th. Five points will be taken off each day the paper is late. Like the first paper, this second 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. 1 University of Toronto, Department of Economics, ECO 204. Summer 2009. S. Ajaz Hussain In this particular case the report should have a maximum length of 20 pages (including the cover page and executive summary). 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 be 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 . The grading criteria are: Coverage of the major points: 30% Valueadded: 20% Organization & Presentation: 20% Quality of arguments, analysis: 20% Quality of writing (Grammar, Spelling etc.): 10% Now, a few words about the paper: you will write a report on the following major topics to be discussed in the DHL case: What is the main issue DHL has to deal with? (read the introduction and conclusion carefully). For each side of the issue, what are the DHL executives' arguments? In theory, what should DHL do? In practice, what compounds the theoretical argument? Who sets prices? Would you recommend any changes? Does the way managers are compensated complicate matters? Does the accounting system pose problems for DHL? Is DHL pricing its products with an eye on the future? At the very least, you are expected to address these issues and time and space permitting any other issues that you may find interesting. 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 Note that you have much latitude in the topics you can emphasize/deemphasize and to touch upon topics that we didn't discuss in the case. For example, once we've done game theory, you'll be able to delve deeper into the case, particularly, on setting prices to avoid a price war with Fedex. As another example, notice how some DHL managers are advocating a premium pricing strategy because they feel DHL has a strong "brand". You could investigate this issue further since the case contains evidence on perceptions about DHL. You could use that data and what you've learned in consumer theory to say something meaningful about such managers' positions. These are just two examples of what you can do: there are many other topics you can touch on that were deemphasized or not discussed in the DHL case. 3 ...
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