Math-Finance and Management (Final exam paper)
How do you think your overall education would benefit from a more strategic approach? Draw on the course materials (lectures, readings, etc.) in answering the question
The overall education that I have acquired in the course has given me the chance to view the environment in a different light. More particularly, it allowed me to address situations in a more strategic and scientific approach. Hence, certain issues those pertain to anything, from the mundane to the highly technical, compel me to place the issue in three major stages: strategic analysis, establishing a strategic direction, and creating an action plan. The following discussions shall be expounding that supposition.
The course provided an in-depth account on how to look at the environment and make the most out of it to your advantage. In a two words, this is called strategic analysis. In applying this element of strategic planning on education, one may consider a lot of things. First, a scrutiny of the environment is deemed necessary. It requires reviewing of the elements that may affect the planning process. After the learning that I’ve received from this course, the use of the PESTLE analysis would be highly helpful so as to understand and be aware of the drivers in the environment. Other planners employ the model provided by Porter, particularly the Five Forces model to demonstrate the particular appeal of a particular strategy with regards to a specific environment. So as to realize the basic capabilities of the company and how it relates to the environment, some planners employ the SWOT analysis.
However, this process may vary depending on the person. There are planners who would only consider the environment only after their consideration of the actual mission statement or vision-mission. However, I prefer to conduct an in-depth analysis of the environment first before delving into how I want to accomplish things. In this manner, I am able to identify the key issues and key drivers that would help in addressing a particular situation.
Establishing a Strategic Direction
Upon completing the course, I am now changed to a person who carefully reaches a conclusion regarding situations and what should be done as implicated by the present conditions and possible opportunities available. At some point, one must realise that in order to effectively achieve the ends that one desires, one must take into consideration and actually establish the general achievements that the individual must acquire and the actual process on how to realise that goal. In technical terms, these are called strategic goals and strategies respectively.
The course also indicated that the goals to be achieved should be unambiguous as possible. It is said that goals should have SMART, that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. This is to ensure that the operations towards the implementation of such goals would not veer off the original intention. (Bilgin 2007) In the same manner, one must realise that the process of installing a particular direction in addressing a particular situation, specific philosophies are required. These are basically explained as the inherent belief systems of the individual in line with the morals that he upholds. Normally, this is seen in the mission statements. For instance, the mobile communication monolith Nokia have a mission statement indicating that it seeks to establish a “world where everyone can be connected.” (Nokia 2008) This is seen in their individual products where they constantly at the top of the game with reference to innovation. In its simplest sense, these elements indicate the purpose of the individual facing a particular set of conditions. It is a set of principles that constitute the actual strategy. Normally, the scope of such missions is expansive yet succinct. It specifies the particular purpose of the strategy. It explicitly states the rationale behind the said action.
Another element that helps in defining the strategic direction of the company is the statement of the vision of the actual strategy. (Hill 2002) These are more specific than mission statements. However, these are particularly more persuasive and detailed to the point that the vision shall be explicitly saying how a particular goal shall be achieved or how a particular issue shall be addressed. To some extent, this is a list of priorities held by the individual in addressing a specific condition. It specifies the scope and indicates the limitation of the strategy. In military jargon, it is the rules of engagement held by the person in addressing the situation. Normally, the vision is often influenced by morals and customs and is compelled primarily by laws and public policy.
Creating an action plan
Creating an actual action plan involves the measured designing of the specific goals that the individual requires to accomplish. (Isaacs 2001) In this regard, the specific objectives and particularly the specific outcomes are aligned with a particular goal. Achieving that goal specific goal also intimate that a specific set of objectives should also be resolved first. An example is seen in the case of companies who implemented an action plan that would lessen the costs of their operations and considerably increase their responsiveness to the market. Following this line of argument, it shows that in order to arrive at one’s ultimate goal, one must realise the specific objectives of the company. In the same manner, these objectives could only be accomplished if the appropriate tactic is applied.
As with any endeavour, its realisation depends on the specific responsibilities it incurs as well as the strict compliance with the schedule. Added to that set of requirements is the issue of money. There can never be enough finances but most of the time individual find themselves lacking of such element. This is where budgeting comes in. Like in strategic planning, budgeting affords the individual with a financial plan to guide him/her to the course of the strategy. One must realise that every tangible thing in this world somehow has a dollar value. It is thus imperative that such resources are well-spent. This is ensured by planning in a comprehensive manner and recognising the capabilities of the company by its resources and working on it to its maximum potential. In a sense, in order for such an action plan to be successful, it must be done with ample preparation leaving nothing to change and eliminating the uncertainties in the process.
- Provide us with your personal five year strategy and show us how the lectures and readings have influenced the crafting of your plan.
The following discussions include a personal strategic plan. It shall consist of a review of the internal capabilities and drawbacks of the writer and the possible implications of the external environment. It shall be giving several statements that provides for the overall intention of the five-year plan to establish my own business. Hence, a mention on the vision, mission statement, objectives and specific goals shall be provided in the following discussions.
The SWOT Analysis shall be presenting the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that I may encounter in the course of my pursuit for the 5 year plan to establish my own business.
There are several strengths that I possess to help me in the realisation of this strategic plan. For instance, I have a good background on business management and finance. This will help me determine the what, how, where, and when of establishing a business. Moreover, I would like to believe that I have a strong leadership style. This would be the basis for the actual management of the company. This is compounded by my motivation to excel in every endeavour that I engage in. Hence, the drive and the actual capability to actually accomplish the specific goals shall realise this strategic plan on schedule.
The main weakness at this point is capital accumulation. If ever the strategic plan should push through, it shall be highly dependent on borrowed money. This means that at the initial periods of operation, the company shall be expecting minimal profit. In the same manner, given that the company shall be a new entrant in the market, customers are significantly unaware of the company. In the same manner, since this is going to be my first venture in mainstream trade, there would be a significant dearth of expertise. Most of the decisions that I will make as CEO would be based primarily on the theories taught in the academe. Moreover, since the company will be in its humble beginning, it is advisable to make sure that there are low overhead costs. This means that the operations shall define itself within the few but carefully chosen employees.
One of the opportunities for the company is the potential of export markets. This is triggered by the distribution channels that opened up and which are seeking for the products and services that shall be offered by the company. This is significantly improved by the opportunity provided for by online transactions and e-commerce. This makes correspondence with suppliers, clients and customers a more efficient process.
A major threat in the plan is the possibility that the market may shift to a considerably different direction as triggered by the fast paced alterations in technology. Another threat is the possibility of reduced demand for the products and services provided by the company. This is triggered by the impending recession and economic slowdown that the rest of the world is experiencing. This is compounded by the threat that with this economic slowdown, the market may shift from preference to quality and differentiation to a more price sensitive one. Hence, there is a huge possibility that the demand curve of the market may incur some changes as shifts in the pricing may influence the demand of the customers.
The vision of the strategic plan is to build a company, Echsoware Inc., to provide the best hardware components and equipment in the world. It shall be operating in he heart of London and geared towards to an annual income of $30M. The company shall be expanding by means of organic growth, collaboration with existing players, and acquisition of weaker organisations.
The key intention in creating Echsoware Inc is to provide the public of efficient delivery and distribution of advanced hardware used in computer manufacturing and assembly. The products of the company are sold from business to business which means that the company transacts with computer companies of all sizes. In the same manner, the company through its website shall be catering to B2C processes employing the current models used by online monoliths like Amazon.com.
The values that Echsoware Inc shall adhere to shall be include the following:
The operations shall be in accordance with public policy, good conduct and customs of the land. Moreover, the company shall operate within the highest standards of ethics with its suppliers, customers, and allies in the market. It is also recognised that the company shall establish a culture of innovation to sustain the standing in the market.
The operations of the company shall lean towards the realisation of its long term objectives which states that the company shall ensure quality by imposing international standards such as that provide by ISO. The company should also acquire an aggressive stance in its expansion efforts by constantly exceeding specified quotas in its operations. It should also be emphasised that the company’s culture of innovation shall be its greatest tool for success.
These shall be the major strategies on which Echsoware Inc shall find alterative ways in creating capital for the company. In line with this, the company seeks to increase the quality of the products offered by aggressively finding suppliers and establishes alliances in the industry. Echsoware intends to build a capable human resource by employing the very best in the industry. In the process, the company would constantly conduct consultations regarding the elements of the business like finances and the real properties held by the company. Furthermore, the company desires to enter into business with overseas companies.
These goals are to be realised within the five year period of the operations of the company. The first is to acquire $500M in sales by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. This shall be implemented by constantly making a profit of an amount nothing lower than $30M per year by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. The company seeks to acquire a 40% market share by the end of it first year of operations. More importantly, the company intends to be the most successful provider of computer hardware and peripherals in UK and the rest of Europe within 5 years.
The following shall be the action programme of the company:
- Generate a comprehensive business plan
- Close contracts that will help in accumulating capital
- Start looking for competent individuals to hold the positions of HR Director and Technical Director
- Make a plan for the market entry and consequent plans to sustain developments.
Bilgin, K. (2007) “Performance Management for Public Personnel: Multi-Analysis Approach toward Personnel.” Public Personnel Management. 36(2), 93.
Hill, J. (2002) “Strategies for Surviving in the E-Government Evolution: How Government Organizations Are Using Technology to Manage Performance and Align Organization, Citizens, and Suppliers in One Strategic Direction.” The Public Manager. 31(1), 43.
Isaacs, W. (2001) “Toward an Action Theory of Dialogue.” International Journal of Public Administration. pp 709.
Nokia. (2007) “Annual Information 2006.” Available: http://www.nokia.com/NOKIA_COM_1/About_Nokia/Sidebars_new_concept/Annual_Accounts_2006/Nokia_in_2006.pdf [Accessed 29 December, 2008]