Writing a case analysis is not like answering homework problems in the back of the book. You need to read a case several times to gather information. Give yourself plenty of time; do not attempt to write your case analysis the night before it is due. It helps to “sleep on it” to develop ideas and formulate strategy. Start by reading the questions that appear at the end of the case. As you read through the case, you can identify pertinent information that may be related to those questions. I am not looking for a question-by-question answer format. The Hilton Manufacturing questions appear on page 2 of the case.
Instead, I would like a carefully written essay, written in the 3rd person, which includes an introduction and a conclusion. Cases should be typewritten using a word processing program to identify spelling and grammar errors. Describe the company, any relevant history, and the people involved in your introduction. Provide analysis and discussion of the problems presented in the central part of your discussion. Any computations should be presented as well-designed, properly labeled exhibits, prepared on spreadsheet. Refer to the exhibits and their results, which have been stapled to the back of your case write-up, as you provide your analysis.
Support your conclusions. Do not copy or repeat case exhibits; it is a waste of time and provides no meaningful assessment. You can refer to the case Exhibit as “Case Exhibit 1, 2, etc. ” Each student should design his/her own exhibits. You may talk with one another about the case, but I expect each write-up to be unique. Identical exhibits will result in a penalty on your final grade. Your exhibits should be designed in such a way that the reader is able to follow the numerical computations. There is no need to state in your write-up “I multiplied 3 by 2 and got 6. I should be able to see that in the Exhibit.
Poorly designed exhibits are those that are disorganized and difficult for the reader to comprehend. It goes without saying that mathematical errors are unacceptable for a professionally designed exhibit. Have the spreadsheet program do your math, but always check the logic of your formulas. Put yourself in the role of management. What information would be helpful in making a management decision? If you suggest an action, back up your suggestion with analysis. No company would take action on a suggested course without identifying the implications of such action.
The quality of your analysis is important. Superficial suggestions will be penalized. For example, stating “I suggest that the company drop the product line,” without analysis of such a move, is a superficial suggestion. Finally, you are expected to write in a clear, concise fashion. Grammar and spelling errors are unacceptable, as they would be in a business setting. Proofread your cases or have others proofread them for you. How you say it is just as important as what you say. A component of your final grade will be related to how well the case is written.