Get an a for your mba strategy paper


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To get a top grade for your MBA strategy paper you need a firm foundation .

This slideshow Introduces a new visual method, developed at the world famous Henley Business School in the UK, for analysing your business environment. This is a key part of any MBA strategy paper. It is essential that this part of the paper gets done well to attract a top grade.

We show how you can use the new method to tell a clear and compelling ‘story’ that leads from key issues to business threats and opportunities. We also introduce a new tool that enables this analysis to be completed on-line and enables the automatic generation of an outline paper including compelling graphics and tabulated data to support your argument.

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  • To get a top grade you need a firm foundation for your MBA strategy paper. This slideshow Introduces a new diagrammatic method, developed at the world famous Henley Business School in the UK, for analysing your business environment. This is a key part of any MBA strategy paper. It is essential that this part of the paper gets done well to attract a top grade. We show how you can use the new method to tell a clear and compelling ‘story’ that leads from key issues to business threats and opportunities. We also introduce a new tool that enables this analysis to be completed on-line and enables the automatic generation of outline reports, graphics and tabulated data to support your paper or presentation.
  • PESTLEWeb is a method and tool for analysing your business environment. This is a crucial first-step towards business strategy development. Research at the world-famous Henley Business School in the UK has scientifically proven that PESTLEWeb models are judged to be more convincing than traditional methods.
  • Both of these books are great reads…and useful references for your strategy paper. They talk to the crucial need to understand the business environment – both in the present and in future scenarios.
  • Traditionally in Business Schools MBA students are taught to perform 'PEST' or 'PESTLE' analysis as an important first-step towards strategy development. There are several problems with this traditional way of working: - It isn't systematic - It generates a confusing 'jumble' of issues which are difficult to explain - It's not very convincing! No 'C' level company leader ever convinced other leaders in their organisation with a random list of ideas. And no business student ever got an 'A' grade without developing a logical argument. PESTLEWeb gives a method to go from an initial list of ideas to an analysis that is: - Systematic - Logical - Convincing Exactly what you need as a basis for your strategy development
  • The task is to identify issues in your business environment and then to systematically analyse them.... They need to be organised into 'threads' or 'stories' - What things might cause this issue? - What might be the consequences? - Which things are changing? Its important to think about dynamics - Does this lead towards a business opportunity or threat?
  • The following slides show a small example of a PESTLEWeb analysis using the editor at . This example concerns a business that is producing 'green' technology – components for fuel-efficient vehicles in the automotive industry.
  • PESTLEWeb uses a common set of symbols to represent different types of issues. Each type of issue has a bright and distinctive color. Users of PESTLEWeb quickly become familiar with these colors and this enables them to read PESTLEWeb diagrams quickly and efficiently. Each of the issue boxes has just enough space for a brief description. We don't want to put too much text in each issue box. We don't want to over-complicate the message. Each box is intended to be a small 'atomic' fact about the business environment. Creating small 'bite-sized' chunks means that each issue can be considered in its own right – for example verifying it against reference sources.
  • The PESTLEWeb editor at is custom made to help you draw and then report on your PESTLEWeb models. The PESTLEWeb editor is easy to learn and use and has simple ‘drag and drop’ functionality. All of the symbols you need are pre-defined to enable you to draw a clear graphic for inclusion in your presentation or strategy paper. And, as you will see later, a built-in report writer enables an outline essay or paper to be generated automatically directly from your diagram.
  • Another advantage of organising issues into discrete facts is that each of them can be analysed in their own right. For each issue consider: - What are the possible causes? - What are the possible consequences. This enables individual facts to be systematically formed into a 'story'. This step provides the 'logic' that makes PESTLEWeb models so effective at communicating and explaining. Joining individual facts into coherent 'threads' enables readers to 'think through' the explanation. Also, thinking logically in this way is much more likely generate a complete analysis without holes or important gaps. PESTLEWeb models are far more than raw facts. They are organised arguments that lead the reader through the message.
  • But where does this analysis lead to? Whilst PESTLEWeb models can be used to make general, abstract arguments about the business environment, normally we are concerned with impacts on our business. So PESTLEWeb comes equipped with a symbol that specifically represents business impacts. These might be negative (threats) or positive (opportunities). But either way, they are important for your business! When you are trying to explain your strategy to other business leaders you need to show how it responds to threats and/or opportunities in your business environment. PESTLEWeb strengthens your argument and makes it very much more convincing.
  • Another way of building an invincible case for your strategy is to support your PESTLEWeb model with comments, references and arguments. . Comment boxes can be used to add any important or relevant information. For example, in this case we have used a comment box to note a required action. References are pointers to other sources of information. You can add huge credibility to your argument by showing that it is supported by articles from journals and the business press. Argument boxes allow you to present your argument more explicitly. For example, if it is not obvious to the reader why one type of issue should lead to another then this can be explained in an 'argument' box.
  • The PESTLEWeb editor at allows you to add rich supporting information to each and every issue. For example, you can collaborate in your organisation to decide which are the most risky issues for your business. This added information provides another way to add richness and credibility to your analysis. Consider that now, rather than simply providing a list of 'random facts' you have built a model that is: - Composed of easy-to-understand issues - Linked together into a coherent, logical story - Supported by comments, references and argument - Underpinned by rich data about risks and time-scales etc. Your analysis has added real value to the process of scanning the business environment. And you have built this information in a form that is clear, convincing and easy to communicate.
  • At some point you will need to write a report (or MBA paper!) on your strategic analysis. This is where the custom-designed editor at really helps. The PESTLEWeb editor creates tabulated results at the push of a button. Report tables contain all of the information from you diagram in a format that is easy to reference. The report table can be copied to your word-processor or included in presentations.
  • But even more powerfully, the PESTLEWeb editor can automatically generate the structure of a full ‘narrative’ report based on your diagram. This text report organises the analysis from your diagram into a ‘report’ or ‘essay’ style document covering all elements from the diagram. Again, this text can be copied into your word-processor to form the basis of a report, essay or strategy paper.
  • PESTLEWeb models are often built iteratively. That is, you first produce a rough outline model, then refine it – either alone or collaboratively. There is a systematic method for improving a PESTLEWeb model until it represents a rich and valuable resource for your business. Review the diagram and consider it as a whole: what is changing? What is important? What is a threat or an opportunity? Remember that all of this information can be added to the ‘issues details’ dialogue for each issue in your model. Then consider each issue in turn. Ask: what could cause this issue to occur? What are the consequences for each issue. This analysis help you think through the ‘logic’. It helps you identify missing issues and gives you ideas for new things to research. Importantly it helps you create a coherent ‘story’ that means sense to others looking at your PESTLEWeb diagram. People can understand and follow this story, which makes it more convincing and easier to remember and communicate.
  • Get an a for your mba strategy paper

    1. 1. Helping you get an ‘A’grade for your MBAStrategy PaperDr Rob © Rob Collins 2010
    2. 2. Basis for your Strategy Paper To get a top grade in a strategy paper you need a firm foundation..  An excellent analysis of the business environment  Explain your analysis in a clear, logical manner  Show how this leads to threats and opportunities for your business Traditional ‘PEST’ analysis is not enough Use ‘PESTLEWeb’ to get you on track for that ‘A’ Grade © Rob Collins 2010
    3. 3. Why PESTLEWeb? Enables businesses to identify threats and opportunities in their environment Allows you to produce an excellent analysis of your business environment for strategy analysis Quick and easy to learn Turns a list of unrelated facts... – Into a well-structured argument – Convincing – Relevant © Rob Collins 2010
    4. 4. What others are saying …  Your business needs ‘radar’ to scan your current environment for threats and opportunities Day, G.S. and Schoemaker, P.J.H “Peripheral Vision: Detecting the weak signals that make or break your company”  Your strategic success depends on a deep understanding of future scenarios Van Der Heijden, (1996) “Scenarios: The art of Strategic Conversation” © Rob Collins 2010
    5. 5. Traditional PESTLE A ‘key-word’ driven approach to identifying issues.... – P : Political – E : Economic – S : Social – T : Technological – L : Legal – E : Environmental Generates a random list of issues No coherent story or logic © Rob Collins 2010
    6. 6. PESTLE Issues Global Business Environment Specific Industry What… Specific • is changing? Business • is important? Your Strategy • represents an opportunity? • represents a threat? © Rob Collins 2010
    7. 7. Building your first TMPESTLEWeb model © Rob Collins 2010
    8. 8. Issues... Common symbols to represent issues in your business environment © Rob Collins 2010
    9. 9. Brainstorm initial issues ..Use the editor at to brainstorm and organise your initial set of issues © Rob Collins 2010
    10. 10. Links... Create links to show causes and consequences © Rob Collins 2010
    11. 11. Arguments... Predict and explain impacts on your business © Rob Collins 2010
    12. 12. Analysis... Strengthen the analysis with comments, references and arguments © Rob Collins 2010
    13. 13. Rich data...Add rich supporting information to each issue about risks, confidence and time-scales etc. © Rob Collins 2010
    14. 14. TabulateUse PESTLEWeb Editor to automatically create tables for documents © Rob Collins 2010
    15. 15. Report ..and even generate narrative outputthat can be used in essays and reports © Rob Collins 2010
    16. 16. Critically Review each Issue What is changing? What is important? More causes? More consequences? What represents an opportunity? What represents a threat? More information needed? © Rob Collins 2010
    17. 17. PESTLEWeb turns a list of TMunrelated facts into a – Convincing .. – Relevant … – Well-structured ..…argument © Rob Collins 2010
    18. 18. Further Information.. Join us at Use the PESTLEWeb editor to model your business environment Read about our current research Learn more advanced PESTLEWeb TM methods © Rob Collins 2010
    19. 19. PESTLEWeb TMPicture your Business © Rob Collins 2010