Sample OBOW exam

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Sample OBOW exam

  1. 1. <THIS  IS  A  SAMPLE  PAPER> 1 of 5GRE 401 Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage Final Examination for February 2012 PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY• This is an open-book, ‘open-web’, essay-type examination that you will complete at a place of your own choosing.• The maximum time period allowed for this exam is 24 hours.• This examination material remains the property of Asian International College.• By taking this examination, you acknowledge this and agree not to disclose, publish or disseminate the examination materials or make infringing copies, either in whole or in part. GRE401: Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage [February 2012]
  2. 2. <THIS  IS  A  SAMPLE  PAPER> 2 of 5 THE CONTEXTThe Chief Executive Officer of your company travelled from India to the UKrecently to attend the Business for the Environment (B4E) Summit in Londonat which Björn Stigson gave the opening address. Your CEO had not beenthat enthusiastic about attending and, before leaving the office, she hadwritten off Stigson as “just another greenie trying to undermine business”.Björn Stigson Image source: flickr.com/photos/greenweek2009/Björn Stigson is the outgoing president of the World Business Council forSustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led, global association of some200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainabledevelopment. An expert on the challenges of sustainable development, hisbackground in international business has enabled him to lead the WBCSDover the past decade as it has established itself as the world’s leadingorganisation focused on business and sustainable development.Since resigning as President of the WBCSD in December 2011, his energiesare now focused on serving boards and committees advising the Chinesegovernment, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), the Kennedy Schoolof Government at Harvard University, the Clinton Global Initiative andthe Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRE401: Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage [February 2012]
  3. 3. <THIS  IS  A  SAMPLE  PAPER> 3 of 5After attending the conference, your CEO appears to have changed heropinion of Stigson. It seems she may also have been influenced by the factsome very prominent members of the Indian business community – mostnotably Mukesh Ambani (Reliance) and Kris Gopalakrishnan (Infosys) – aremembers of the WBCSD Executive Committee for 2012, but she was alsopersuaded by the content of Stigson’s opening address, and she has askedyou to review a video recording of his speech.In this keynote speech, Stigson talks about the importance of businessplacing a higher value on social equity, natural capital and ecosystem servicesin an era of burgeoning population growth, climate change, and increasinglyscarce resources.However, it is not all doom and gloom because, according to Stigson, thegreen economy heralds a new era of opportunity for those companies that areready to make the paradigm shift and formulate corporate strategies foundedon the principles of sustainability. The ‘race to be green’ is on, says Stigson,and those slow to adapt may be left behind.The next B4E Global Summit is to be held in Berlin in May 2012, with thetheme Collaborate, Innovate, Act – Delivering the Green Economy, and is setto explore transformative business models, smart cities and innovativefinancial solutions, with a view to developing proposals for a better, moresustainable future.Importantly, the outcome of the B4E Summit discussions will be shared withkey decision makers at the ‘Rio +20’ United Nations Conference onSustainable Development (more commonly known as the Earth Summit) to beheld in June this year, which marks the 20th anniversary of the first EarthSummit in the same city back in 1992. Image source: uncsd2012.org/rio20/ GRE401: Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage [February 2012]
  4. 4. <THIS  IS  A  SAMPLE  PAPER> 4 of 5 THE TASKPrior to attending the London seminar, your CEO had not been exposed to theconcept of sustainable development (or she had a misconception of the term,at least). After the event, she has started reading more on the subject,specifically, the work of government ministers and various thought leaders inthe field of sustainable development, whose eyes are presently on the 2012Earth Summit.While her understanding remains at a largely superficial level, she has beenpersuaded that sustainable development might be of strategic importance tothe company, and early adoption could assist in securing competitiveadvantage.The CEO wants to put forward a draft proposal at the next BoardMeeting. As she lacks expertise in this area, the CEO is seeking the counselof staff within the organisation (many of whom are studying for MBAs) andhas called for submissions in the form of discussion papers.As a recent graduate of Sustainable Development and Competitive Advantageclasses delivered by a leading Indian business school, you decide to make asubmission. Your brief, very simply, is to critically evaluate the likelyimpact on the competitive position of the company if it were to pursue abusiness strategy based on sustainable development. GUIDE TO THE TASKTo help guide your thinking, you have discussed the matter with colleaguesand, among other things; they suggest you contemplate the following:ü Consider the theoretical underpinnings of sustainable developmentü What are the contending perspectives on sustainable development? Does the market mechanism help or hinder a move toward sustainable development?ü What sorts of changes in thinking are required to achieve sustainability, and what are the obstacles to change that the company faces?ü Is the company likely to be affected by public policy? Are the current policy settings (at a national and international level) supportive of a move toward sustainable development? GRE401: Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage [February 2012]
  5. 5. <THIS  IS  A  SAMPLE  PAPER> 5 of 5IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING THE PREPARATION OF YOUR WORK1) In completing this task, be sure to draw on relevant concepts and analytical tools you have learnt about during GRE 401 Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage, making direct references to the module materials (i.e. the online courseware, videos, articles, and other resources). Students who fail to comply with this directive will not receive a passing grade.2) You must upload a written response of no more than 1500 words (+/- 10% excluding references) in 24 hours’ time.3) The piece of writing you submit should be referenced in the normal way, using an internationally recognised referencing system. Students who fail to comply with this directive will not receive a passing grade.4) This is a broad question that invites a variety of ‘equally correct’ answers.5) High marks will be awarded for good, critical analysis, rather than content cut and pasted from websites and other electronic sources.6) The expectation is that you will not have the time to submit an answer of the quality of a term-time assignment. However, you should try, as much as possible, to submit an answer of similar quality. END OF PAPER GRE401: Sustainable Development & Competitive Advantage [February 2012]

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