Mar 31, 2010

MBA study material-What is Benchmarking

Benchmarking relies upon a comparison between the activities of your own organization and those of another. Originally benchmarking was used in manufacturing operations where one process could be compared and contrasted with another.

Think about it in basic terms - you measure a piece of wood along your bench. You keep one end of the wood level/flush with the end of the bench and cut a notch in the bench itself with your chisel at the other end. Then you place other pieces of wood in the same location - the shorter ones you reject and the longer ones you cut down. A benchmark is a measurement tool.

Basic types of benchmark.

Competitive or Industry/sector benchmarking enables an organization to compare its performance with competitors trading in the same industry or sector.

Best-in-class benchmarking is similar to industry or sector benchmarking. However managers would compare their organization to the market or sector leader i.e. the best-in-class.

Internal or historical benchmarking is the internal procedure for comparing results from past performance to current or forecasted performance.

Functional or external benchmarking involves comparing your business activities with those of companies from other industries/sectors with similar processes.

Collaborative benchmarking involves two phases; firstly between two voluntary collaborators within a sector, then secondly between the two collaborators and a party outside the current sphere of competition. Of course this is better suited to the public sector e.g. hospitals, police services since commercial rivals are unlikely to collaborate in this manner.
Benefits of benchmarking (Gift 1996)

* It is an effective approach for achieving operational change. Benchmarks are the catalyst that moves an organization to higher levels of performance.
* Since customer requirements are so rigorously defined, benchmarking improves customer orientation.
* It focuses upon the processes that improve results - not simply results.
* Performance measures are often improved as a result of benchmarking.
* Decision making improves because the organization has enhanced customer knowledge, process focus, and performance measures.
* Benchmarking improves innovation and creativity since self-imposed barriers to success are removed.

Potential pitfalls with benchmarking.

* Benchmarking needs to be supported and driven by senior leaders.
* Prerequisites (such as organizational structure, processes) need to be in place.
* Conducting benchmarking for the wrong reasons can be problematic e.g. to produce data - ignoring processes and insights gained into practices that produce benchmarks.
* Selecting the wrong benchmarks.
* Selecting the wrong benchmark partner.
* Not gaining management support for plans resulting from benchmarks.

Marketing benchmarking.

When applying benchmarking techniques to an organization's marketing activities you are essentially comparing one or a number of your company's marketing activities to those of another part of the business, a competitor or a business that operates in another industry. Vorhies and Morgan (2005) used the following marketing benchmarks in their research:

* Pricing
* Product Development
* Channel Management
* Marketing Communications
* Selling
* Market Information Systems
* Marketing Planning
* Marketing Implementation

Essentially they focus upon the marketing mix, marketing information, planning and operations. Each of these could be sub-divided and new factors introduced e.g. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - to suit your own organization's marketing strategy.

Camp, R.C. (1995) Business Process Benchmarking: Finding and Implementing Best Practises. Milwaukee: ASQC Quality Press, p18.

Camp, R.C. (1989 Benchmarking: The Search for Best Practises that Lead to Superior Performance. Milwaukee: ASQC Quality Press, p12.

Gift, R.G. (1996) Today's Management Methods, P245 - 261.

Prasnikar, J., Debeljak Z. and Ahcan, A. (2005) Benchmarking as a Tool for Strategic Management, Total Quality Management, Vol.16, No. 2, 257 - 275, March 2005.

Vorhies, D.W. Morgan, N. A. (2005) Benchmarking Marketing Capabilities for Sustainable Competitive Advantage, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 69, Issue 1, p80-94.

MBA study material-PEST analysis

It is very important that an organization considers its environment before beginning the marketing process. In fact, environmental analysis should be continuous and feed all aspects of planning. The organization's marketing environment is made up of:
" 1. The internal environment e.g. staff (or internal customers), office technology, wages and finance, etc.

2. The micro-environment e.g. our external customers, agents and distributors, suppliers, our competitors, etc.

3. The macro-environment e.g. Political (and legal) forces, Economic forces, Sociocultural forces, and Technological forces. These are known as PEST factors.

Political Factors.
The political arena has a huge influence upon the regulation of businesses, and the spending power of consumers and other businesses. You must consider issues such as:

1.How stable is the political environment?

2.Will government policy influence laws that regulate or tax your business?

3.What is the government's position on marketing ethics?

4. What is the government's policy on the economy?

5. Does the government have a view on culture and religion?

6. Is the government involved in trading agreements such as EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, or others?

Economic Factors.

Marketers need to consider the state of a trading economy in the short and long-terms. This is especially true when planning for international marketing. You need to look at:

1. Interest rates.

2. The level of inflation Employment level per capita.

3. Long-term prospects for the economy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and so on.

Sociocultural Factors.

The social and cultural influences on business vary from country to country. It is very important that such factors are considered. Factors include:

1.What is the dominant religion?

2.What are attitudes to foreign products and services?

3.Does language impact upon the diffusion of products onto markets?

4.How much time do consumers have for leisure?

5.What are the roles of men and women within society?

6.How long are the population living? Are the older generations wealthy?

7.Do the population have a strong/weak opinion on green issues?

Technological Factors.

Technology is vital for competitive advantage, and is a major driver of globalization. Consider the following points:

1. Does technology allow for products and services to be made more cheaply and to a better standard of quality?

2.Do the technologies offer consumers and businesses more innovative products and services such as Internet banking, new generation mobile telephones, etc?

3.How is distribution changed by new technologies e.g. books via the Internet, flight tickets, auctions, etc?

4.Does technology offer companies a new way to communicate with consumers e.g. banners, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), etc

MBA study material-International & Global marketing

What is International Marketing ?

International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country. However, there is a crossover between what is commonly expressed as international marketing and global marketing, which is a similar term. For the purposes of this lesson on international marketing and those that follow it, international marketing and global marketing are interchangeable.

The intersection is the result of the process of internationalization. Many American and European authors see international marketing as a simple extension of exporting, whereby the marketing mix is simply adapted in some way to take into account differences in consumers and segments. It then follows that global marketing takes a more standardized approach to world markets and focuses upon sameness, in other words the similarities in consumers and segments. So let's take a look at some generally accepted definitions.
What is International Marketing?

At its simplest level, international marketing involves the firm in making one or more marketing mix decisions across national boundaries. At its most complex level, it involves the firm in establishing manufacturing facilities overseas and coordinating marketing strategies across the globe.

Doole and Lowe (2001).

International Marketing is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of a company's goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit.

Cateora and Ghauri (1999)

International marketing is the application of marketing orientation and marketing capabilities to international business.

Muhlbacher, Helmuth, and Dahringer (2006)

The international market goes beyond the export marketer and becomes more involved in the marketing environment in the countries in which it is doing business.

Keegan (2002)

What is Global Marketing?

Global marketing refers to marketing activities coordinated and integrated across multiple country markets.

Johansson (2000)

. . . The result is a global approach to international marketing. Rather than focusing on country markets, that is, the differences due to the physical location of customers groups, managers concentrate on product markets, that is, groups of customers seeking shared benefits or to be served with the same technology, emphasizing their similarities regardless of geographic areas in which they are located.

Muhlbacher, Helmuth, and Dahringer (2006)

Global/transnational marketing focuses upon leveraging a company's assets, experience and products globally and upon adapting to what is truly unique and different in each country.

Keegan (2002)

So, as with many other elements of marketing, there is no single definition of international marketing, and there could be some confusion about where international marketing begins and global marketing ends. These lessons will assume that both terms are interchangeable, and will define international marketing as follows:

International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country.

Doole, I. and Lowe, R. (2001), International Marketing Strategy - Analysis, Development and Implementation, Thomson Learning, 3rd Ed.
Johansson, J.K. (2000), Global Marketing - Foreign Entry, Local Marketing, and Global Management, Johansson, International Edition.
Cateora, P.R., and Ghauri, P.N. (1999), International Marketing, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, European Edition.
Muhlbacher, H., Helmuth, L. and Dahringer, L. (2006), International Marketing - A Global Perspective, Thomson, 3rd Ed.
Keegan, W.J., (2002), Global Marketing Management, Prentice Hall, 7th Ed.

MBA study material-Annual report

What is Annual Report
An Annual Report is a statement prepared by companies that are traded publicly. The development of an Annual Report provides inherent value in the process of reviewing major financial and operational achievements that occurred during the past 12 months.
The contents of Annual Reports may vary by industry, but usually includes the following:

* A Balance Sheet
* An Income Statement
* Company stock pricing trends
* A Letter to Stockholders
* An Individual Report from the Chief Executive Officer
* An Individual Report from the Chief Financial Officer
* Major Accomplishments during the past year

In the United States, the contents of an Annual Report became more stringent after the passage of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. Prior to that act, some companies had been less than forthcoming or in some cases even deceitful in their reports. The financial aspects of an Annual Report are audited by a certified accountant.

The more detailed disclosure was required in order to better inform potential stakeholders such as those outlined below:

* Current Shareholders
* Potential Shareholders
* Current Donors (if applicable)
* Future Donors (if Applicable)
* Potential Business Partners
* Employees
* Customers
* Applicable Government Entities

An Annual Report does not have to be viewed as a staid document full of boring figures. In fact, an astute marketer can mine the basic elements for marketing gold. Just as promotion tactics are devised with marketing segments in mind, in like manner an Annual Report can be tailored to speak to the concerns of its audience.

MBA study material-Brainstorming

What is Brainstorming
Brainstorming is simply a means of getting a large number of ideas from a group of people in a short time. Brainstorming is great for marketers! Marketers can generate new creative ideas for products, services, solutions or concepts. Not only is brainstorming useful for creative thinking, but is can also be used for marketing problem solving and marketing decision making.

Successful brainstorming depends upon four key rules:

1. Suspend judgement.

2. Let yourself go and freewheel.

3. Go for quantity - quality implies evaluation (which means that you have not suspended judgement).

4. Cross-fertilize - pick up someone else's ideas and suggest others leading from it.
Steps in Brainstorming.

A. State the problem.

B. Restate the problem.

C. Select restatement.

D. Warm-up.

E. Brainstorm.
Oiling the Wheels

If brainstorming group dries up the leader can get the ideas flowing again by using any one of the following approaches:

1. Silent review - let the group review silently the ideas already generated in order to stimulate their thinking.

2. Quantity targets - encourage the group to go for 10, 50 or 100 ideas!

3. The one idea - get the group to focus on one idea and use that as a stimulus.

4. Select a restatement from the list the group produced earlier and brainstorm it.

5. Wildest idea - let the group silently review the ideas already generated in order to use the wildest idea as a stimulus for more productive ideas.
Evaluating ideas

1. Scrutinise all the ideas and pick out any that instantly jump out at you.

2. Sort the remaining ideas into groups of a manageable size and examine using some predefined criteria e.g. profitability or relative competitive advantage.

3. Subject ideas to reverse brainstorming. Ask the question 'In how many ways can this idea fail?'

Mar 14, 2010

MBA Outsourcing

Business schools are turning to a new kind of curriculum.Its called outsourcing.Outsourcing is the term used for outsource any white coloured job to a country which has lower labour cost.Many MBA students from Indiana’s Kelly business school are travelling within India to learn and research outsourcing management.America is outsourcing white coloured jobs to countries like India where they are completed at a much lower cost as compared to USA.
President Obama has repeatedly emphasized that he will do his level best to retain these white coloured jobs in USA.This is his plan of controlling mass unemployment in USA.Business schools in America are increasingly bringing major changes to their curriculum.Executive MBA in outsourcing management is hot topic now days.Some business schools may even offer online MBA in outsourcing management technology.
America is shifting thousands of jobs overseas in order to curb cost and increase profits.Around 15 billion US$ is payed to countries like India and Philippines for completing outsourcing jobs. Other business schools besides Indiana are offering courses or other instruction in offshore outsourcing, and students are signing up in an effort to add to their managerial tool kits.
Other M.B.A. programs, like those at Cornell, Stanford and Bentley College, also offer looks at offshore outsourcing. Bentley, in Waltham, Mass., just began a course called ''I.T. Off shoring,'' to be followed by a 14-day trip to India. Is off shoring the next booming industry in USA after IT and Finance.Its very likely that Stanford and Tuck school of business might jump into MBA in outsourcing bandwagon.Even the top business schools find it hard to ignore outsourcing as a subject.India is the top outsourcing hub followed by China and Philippines.India leads in service industry due to its huge pool of English speaking youngsters.

MBA in trouble

Financial crisis seems to be reaching the professors after all!The applications for business schools have gone down a whopping 50% as a result of difficult to get education loans and a slump in the job market.With many experienced investment workers on the street the going is tough for business schools who rely on student fee as a major source of revenues.So far the business teachers were well payed and had a job security unseen any where else.
The campus interviews have taken a nose dive with very few placements.For students the placements are a major draw when they fork out thousands of dollars for the schools.Even the Business school teachers are at a loss of words when asked about when the situation might improve.Majority of the students in US business schools come from Asia mainly from India.This year students are taking it easy.
Robert kinesis a MBA school aspirant says that his confidence in business studies has gone down as he says even after spending thousand of dollars these so called financial engineers cannot understand the head or tail of finance.Others argue that business cannot be learned in school.It comes from the spirit of entrepreneurship and leadership with which one is born.Bill Gates or Warren buffets are not MBA’s and so are 90% of business leaders.

Mar 3, 2010

Tips to prepare PowerPoint presentation

I hate PowerPoint presentations. Let me clarify; I don’t hate PowerPoint. I actually like the program quite a bit. But most of the PowerPoint presentations I am forced to sit through seem to combine all the world’s worst presentation habits into one unbearable hour of pain, sadness, and cheesy fonts. Here are four things I’ve learned from years of delivering PowerPoint presentations.

1: Choose a simple PowerPoint template and apply it consistently across your deck

Honestly, I’m not even sure how people manage to do this, but I routinely see presentations with a ransom note assortment of fonts, sizes, and styles on each slide. PowerPoint goes out of its way to make it easy to apply a consistent style; take advantage of it. In PowerPoint, for example, click the Design tab and choose one of the themes. And keep it simple; make sure the text is readable against the background and that there isn’t a busy design competing with the text. Remember what Halle Berry told me once in a dream: Just because a theme exists, doesn’t mean you should use it.

2: Less is more

Don’t feel the need to pour your entire speech into your slides. As a rule of thumb, each slide should list three to five main points in bullet form. You’re in the room to expand on those nuggets verbally. The slides are there to enhance your overall presentation, not to replace you. If it takes more than a few seconds to process the text on any given slide, it’s too much: Your audience will spend its time reading instead of paying attention to you, and probably end up doing both of those things somewhat poorly.

3: Test your links

If you embed video or links to content on the Internet or a network share, for the love of Woden test it before you walk into a conference room and try presenting it to a dozen people. I can’t tell you how frequently I encounter folks who don’t know how to launch an external link from within their deck or who have linked to an obsolete version of the document they wanted to show. Do you homework.

4: Test your projection

Along the lines of testing the innards of your presentation, be sure you know how your laptop connects to the projector. As a rule of thumb, make sure the laptop is fully booted and then connect the VGA cable. If you’re on Vista, you should then choose Win+X to open the Windows Mobility Center and click Connect Display. (If you’re testing Windows 7, it’s even easier: Press Win+P to open the projection settings directly.)


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