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Course & Subject Guides

Strategic Management - CBA - Oakland Campus

Resources for Part 1 (Corporate Strategic Assessment)

Below you'll find links to resources to help you with each stage of the first assignment. 

Firm Overview

"1) Overview of your coporation including a discussion of its mission, objectives, values and any other relevant information related to their strategic planning process."

You can find this information through the following options:

Markets and Lines of Business

"2) Discussion of the product and geographical markets for your company's lines of business, assessment of the corporate portfolio, and diversification strategy."

While this information is typically in the 10-K/Annual Report, Mergent Online also breaks it out for you.

Historical Events and Key Leaders

"3) Significant historical events (e.g. mergers, divestments, etc), and key leaders including the board and top management team."

For historical information:

For additional acquisitions and divestment information, use our Acquisitions and Divestment guide.

For leadership informatoin:

Locations of Core Units

4. Finding all of the locations of core business units is difficult - especially by business line/segment.

Try the following:

Organizational Stucture

"5) Organizational structure including global reporting relationships, if any"

For an overview of the company's broad structure, you can use the following:

However, the organizational structure or hierarchy of people within an organization is much more difficult to find.  Many companies believe this information gives them a competitive advantage and so don't release it. Possible options include:

Financial Analysis and Benchmarking

"6) Financial analysis and financial benchmarking of competitors to assess your firm's type of competitive advantage."

Part 1: Determine a relevant set of competitors

Part 2: Determine relevant benchmarks to analyze across competitors

Part 3: Determine the competitive advantage, parity, or disadvantage of your firm to the selected competitors

Note: Use the light grey tabs at the top of this box to go through each part of the analysis and benchmarking process.

One way to find accurate competitors at the firm level (not business segment), is to calculate the percentage of sales for each business segment to the firm's total sales. You can then do this for various other firms to determine which have the greatest overlap.

To start, use Mergent Online to get a base list of competitors.

Use this information to calculate the %of sales for each segment, and record in your template.

To find a base list of competitors, use Mergent Online.

Take a look at each of the competitors' profiles. How are their business lines defined? If they are not listed for you on the Company Details->Business Segments or Company Details->Business sections of Mergent Online, try checking out their website or 10-K/Annual Report.

If they seem to have some of the same business lines/segments, calculate the % of sales for each of their segments, and record it in your template.

Now that you have your list of competitors, you have to conduct financial analysis relevant to your set of firms.

Start with Mergent Online.

You will be selecting the indicators that will help you evaluate the firms. Keep in mind that some industries have specific metrics and ratios they use to benchmark.

To learn more about the types of metrics available, check out Investopedia's guide on financial ratios.

Consider non-financial metrics as well. This could be along the lines of sustainability, workplace/HR culture, innovation, etc. You can often find a lot of this information on the company's website or 10-K/Annual Report.For more information, check out the Corporate Social Responsibility Guide.

Take this information and use it to determine if your firm has a competitive advantage, parity, or disadvantage compared with its competitors. Use the chart below as a template.

Competitive Advantage Template
Metrics Your Firm Competitive Advantage (A), Parity (P), or Disadvantage (D) Competitor A Competitor "N"
Metric 1   A, P, or D    
Metric 2        
Metric "N"        


Strategic Issues

You will probably find these as you have been working on this assignment. Some places to check are: