Thunderbird School

  • FordA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students By Anne Campeau, Elizabeth Clark, Jay Jacobsmuhlen, Kyle Scott and Chad Winters

    The future of the automobile clearly does not favor the traditional combustible engine. Can Ford adjust and prosper in the new global green environment?

    Josh Watson, a 35 year old accountant from Akron, Ohio is looking for a new car in the coming model year. Watson and his wife, Lori, are looking for a car with style and safety. But most important, Josh was to see the numbers, Watson wants to be sure he gets good mileage. Lori's priorities mirror Josh's but she also wants a car that will be environmentally friendly. The Watsons, lifelong Midwesterners, want to buy American if they can and Lori has a personal affinity for Ford, since her father worked for the company for over 25 years. They both have heard that Ford is working to minimize the environmental impacts of motor vehicles and they have been impressed with some new vehicles Ford has been offering. Having done some research on new cars, Josh and Lori visit a local Ford dealer, Park Ford in nearby Tallmadge, Ohio.

  • BPA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Timothy Houston, Timothy Mayberry, Adam Yestrepsky, Matthew Allred and Bhawin Khanna

    The changing environment of the upstream crude oil procurement industry and recent catastrophic accidents have created numerous issues for British Petroleum (BP). International oil companies such as BP face the challenge of entering markets which are dominated by national oil companies that receive subsidies from local governments and beneficial treatments. BP also has a tarnished public reputation driven by the Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill, which makes global and domestic operation even more difficult. The recent disasters within the oil procurement industry also have driven tighter environmental regulations that require new approaches and techniques to crude oil isolation. BP has developed a comprehensive program to tackle these new hurdles for its upstream oil procurement division. This plan is known as “Project 20K” and involves new technology, unique approaches to regulations, and new business strategies.

  • Southwest AirlinesA study of the current and future state of growth and acquisition strategy, by Thunderbird students Manash Banerjee, Owen Chen, Chris Hardesty, William Keller and Dustin Ward

    “If the Wright Brothers were alive today, Wilbur would have to fight Orville to reduce costs.” -- Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines

    Southwest Airlines (SWA) transports more passengers (101M) than any other US carrier while maintaining an 80%+ on-time performance rate. Further, SWA recorded its 39th consecutive year of profitability1 – a remarkable accomplishment for a company that previously did not fly outside of Texas and especially considering the general turmoil and collapse of the airline industry as a whole. SWA is known for its committed approach to short-haul, point-to-point service with “no frills”. Nevertheless, the question for the future is – how can SWA continue its low-cost advantages and current operational strategy to achieve successful growth targets? In other words, where is the next blue sky for SWA?

  • CaterpillarA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Shen-Chun Lin, Aimee DeGrauwe, Eli Darby, Monica Willbrand, Raymond Caruso and James Moore

    CSR: The Reputation Necessity

    For most companies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a face-saving, repair mission in reaction to some recently identified social injustice or industrial accident.  Examples of reputation saving CSR have been seen with Nike’s early reaction to substandard working conditions or Union Carbide’s Bhopal tragic explosion in 1984.  At best, most companies treat CSR as a cost center line item akin to corporate publicity or charity, where a separate division within the organization implements a “community outreach” program.  Although these programs do have merit, they are mainly counter balances to the damages a corporation’s normal operations have on the community and environment.  This inefficiency lies in the fact that many firms’ CSR attempts pit society and business against each other, when in reality they should be dependent.  In addition, CSR tends to push firms into thinking generally, rather than about shared value.  In the developed world, national and regional laws help regulate and limit the damage a company’s presence can have at large. From environmental regulations, to worker safety standards, many US and EU companies meet or exceed the bare minimums laid out by governments.

  • BoeingA look into the turbulent flight path that lies ahead, by Thunderbird students Alexander Espiritu, Robert Grimes, Carlos Flores, Brian Long and Arturo Furones Seco

    As one of the two giants in the commercial aircraft industry, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) currently dominates a significant portion of the commercial aircraft market.  However, as that market continues to evolve, BCA faces a number of critical strategic issues; how the company chooses to deal with them will determine whether or not the company succeeds in maintaining a tight hold on its market share and future profits.  Amongst these strategic issues, the most serious challenges to BCA’s future operations are the new entry of additional competitors to the industry, supplier and partnership relationships, and relations between the company and its labor force.

  • googleA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Eric Chown, Mike Grey, Nicholas Kincaid, Steve McCaa, Charles Midthun and Srikanth Venkatasubramanian

    Mei Huang's family has moved from Beijing to Shanghai and she misses her old friends. She had a great day in school today and has met a new boy -- she is really excited and wants to share the news -- what are they up to and wouldn't it be nice to just chat real time, even if it was online -- but the current service provider has strict limits on this capability. ... Wen Li met with a group of friends last night and they know there is something wrong with the way people are being treated by the local businesses -- the bosses seem to have no feeling or responsibility to the workers. This leads to thoughts about the Tiananmen Square uprising and the reasons for the demonstrations -- but there is no way to search for anything related to this period, everything is censored. ... Hui Zhong has been working on a report on the river systems in China, but the word for river “jiang” is the same as that of a former head of the communist party and searches for political information are taboo. (Ford) So she needs to be somewhat vague, and the information returned doesn't meet her needs. There must be a better search engine that understands more than exactly what is typed, something that understands what she wants or is looking for.

  • coca-colaThe recent decision of India’s parliament to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in India is big news to many multinationals that have been dying to get in on the action in the world’s second most populous market, and the massive Coca-Cola Company is no exception. Indeed, with a full re-entry to the country it abandoned in the late 1970s, there’s essentially no corner of the world that will now be without the seemingly ubiquitous white-on-red script of the most successful soft drink in history. But one other major region has given Coke headaches since at least the early 1960s, and going there today one might be hard pressed to find the classic can for sale. Indeed, Coca-Cola has faced a number of challenges in the Middle East, but learning how to turn them into opportunities there could teach the soft drink giant some important lessons it will need for success in India.

  • BoeingA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students  Amanda Bhatia, David Freeman, David Wilson, Geoffrey Christanday, Jennifer Mousseau and Matthew Larson

    As China’s economy develops, so do the prospective opportunities for foreign firms eager to sell their goods and services to these new Chinese customers.  However, many multinational corporations have already tried and failed – and yet – what makes these MNC’s keep coming back?

    On March 6, 2012, Boeing and COMAC (Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China) announced[i] to the world that they will be joining forces for the first time ever, in creating a “collaboration agreement to partner in areas that will enable commercial aviation industry growth in China and potentially around the world”.  This partnership sounds well intentioned, but could make Boeing, and even Airbus (their current main competitor) nervous as to their future prospects in China and the future global market.  Will Boeing's partnership with COMAC provide Boeing with an opportunity to meet strong aircraft demand forecasts in China in coming years, or instead mean the creation of their own competitor?

  • Best BuyA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Ahmed, Farrow, Goosen, Jones, Kortgard and Turra

    Are the days of big box consumer electronics retailers coming to an end, or can Best Buy prove it has what it takes to adapt and compete in a changing global marketplace?

    Rapid growth in the 90’s and early 2000’s propelled Best Buy to become the world’s largest and most successful consumer electronics (CE) retailer with global revenue exceeding $50 billion. However, myriad challenges have converged to create a hostile environment for traditional CE retailers. Accelerating commoditization of products and increasing acceptance of online purchasing are allowing non-traditional competitors, such as Amazon, to capture an ever-growing share of the global electronics market.  Some Wall Street analysts suggest Amazon should purchase Best Buy to complement its online growth strategy and capitalize on Best Buy’s strengths, namely its 1,400 brick & mortar locations[1]. Others argue that Best Buy will ultimately experience the same demise as Circuit City, CompUSA, and Borders.  Hulking shells of former big box stores are a stark reminder of how global markets are evolving at rates never seen before.  At best, the triumphant days of big box retail are being severely challenged. At worst, they could come to an end.

  • vodafoneA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Edyette Key, Kara Nguyen, Cole Augustine, Ilan Fehler, Giff Bloom and F. Trevor Rogers

    Economies and industries go through periods of consolidation; from the bust of the .coms, recent restructuring of the banks and even the funneling of the beer industry. In some cases these consolidations aren’t because the biggest player in the market is gobbling up all the little ones, but rather the lean and agile end up with more capital and are able to buy into a controlling position of a much bigger and strapped for cash giant. One such example is the acquisition of miller brewing company by the South African Brewery that has propelled SAB to be one of the top three breweries in the world. The communications industry is no different and many companies seek to enter new markets through acquisition. This article dissects the motivations of Vodafone’s further acquisition of Verizon and its potential to weaken Vodafone’s current global growth momentum.

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