Blog

  • Dec 18, 2011
    gap-china476

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students John Angstadt, Christa Gyori, Charbel Haber, Christopher Jones and Mike Zehender

    On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. The law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and threatens to have a major impact on the Pharmaceutical Industry. This is just one of a myriad of factors impacting the industry. The industry, once described as profitable by Porter due to the corresponding low structural forces, is facing significant changes to the competitive forces operating in its space. Many factors are threatening to change the industry structure; these included imminent expirations of major patents in 2011-2012 (coined as the “patent cliff”), pricing pressure due to cuts in reimbursement, and new regulations with stricter focus on drug safety. Novartis Pharma has made many smart moves, but is it fully prepared for the future?


  • Dec 18, 2011
    TTM Technologies

    A shift in the printed circuit board (PCB) industry has motivated leading US defense PCB manufacturers to collaborate with international businesses, particularly in China. In 2010, TTM Technologies became the largest US-owned printed circuit board manufacturer and the fifth largest worldwide by acquiring Hong Kong-based Meadville, a high volume PCB manufacturer. Leading into the 2010 decision, TTM was arguably the most prominent military and aerospace PCB provider in US and possibly the globe.

    Since the mid-2000s, the PCB industry has had a new emphasis on less complex, high volume standard boards over the high complexity, lower volume PCBs required for the aerospace and defense industry – TTM’s core competency. In an effort to help diversify its manufacturing and lower costs, TTM acquired Meadville in April 2010, a somewhat controversial move that may well bring an end to TTM’s contracts with the US government.

    Readers might not recognize the term PCB, but without them, many electronics used every today would not exist. One might better identify PCBs as the green backbone of everyday electronics. TTM’s 10-K describes PCBS as:


  • Dec 18, 2011

    Under Armour global strategyA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Eric Chown, Veronica Yusz, David Prestin, Sarah Olsem and Rosemary Geelan

    The Under Armour brand evokes an image of elite athleticism, almost at odds with the company’s humble beginnings in the home basement of the founder’s grandmother. A simple idea ultimately developed into one of the most prominent names in the industry. As the company evolved, the relative importance of the strategic challenges they faced changed as well. One shift has already occurred – from word of mouth advertising to promotion by professional athletes – and this will likely be insufficient to expand their market in the direction that they are focusing on with their newest production lines. Their marketing strategies and ability to maintain the share they have established will be tested as they move away from their traditional customer base and into new niche markets. The challenge to Under Armour is whether to change their strategy as they expand, or to apply their initial model in new, innovative ways. Both have risks if not executed properly.

    History


  • Dec 18, 2011
    LinkedIn

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Leah Burdick, Ilan Fehler, Nicholas Kincaid, Peter Klein and David Ryan

    More so than traditional businesses, online businesses have the distinct advantage of acquiring more information about their customers. The more that is known about online users’ habits, needs and preferences, the greater the value that is derived from that relationship, as the businesses are better able to cater to the needs of those online users. An online network, a system of users, is enhanced not only by the relationship the business has with the user but also by the relationships that the users have with one other. Take the telephone for example. If you were one of the first three people to own one, you could only call the other two. Fortunately, today millions of people have access to telephones and anyone of them could theoretically call any other one. Therefore, a network of users derives greater value through the network’s size and ubiquity — the larger the network, the greater the value to both businesses and consumers.


  • Dec 18, 2011
    Costco

    Heading into 2012, Costco is well positioned not only to weather the storm of further economic downturns but also to consolidate its lead over other discount wholesalers like Wal-Mart and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Its intentionally low margin and exceptionally high inventory turnover, along with growing overseas sales and relatively low debt, are some of the main factors that point to Costco’s potential for continuing success.

    The new year will also bring new challenges that the company must manage with careful strategy: increasing costs of products and labor; co-founder and CEO Jim Sinegal’s imminent retirement; and growing pressure to decide how and how quickly to expand both domestically and internationally. With its strengths and upcoming challenges in mind, we discuss a few of the key strategic decisions Costco must make, and explore how these choices might affect both its original business model and the changing retail industry in a volatile global economy.

    Competitive Pricing Strategy – Can it still work for Costco?


  • Dec 18, 2011
    gap-china476

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Manya Andrews Dotson, Wes Herche, Brie Lam, William Randle and Jonathan Walters

    Abstract: Can a cut and paste application of the Chipotle strategy lead to another runaway restaurant success in an industry rife with pressures on profitability? Was it the business model that fueled Chipotle’s meteoric rise? Or was it that CEO Steve Ells took a food we already knew and loved, the burrito, and made it taste even better? Or, are the two inseparable? Will replicating Chipotle’s strategy yield another blue ocean success story?


  • Dec 18, 2011
    Boston Beer Company

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Andrea Bly, Jennifer Garcia, Liang-Kuan “Albert” Ho, Steve Juntunen and Kara Nguyen

    Shares of The Boston Beer Company, Inc. (NYSE: SAM) closed Friday, December 16, 2011 at $103.05, up 40% since October. The company, who spearheaded the craft beer revolution in the US, has grown to produce over 32 varieties of beer under the company’s flagship brand, Samuel Adams Boston Lager and a variety of malt beverages and hard cider products under brand names Twisted Tea and HardCore Cider.

    Under its Samuel Adams line, Boston Beer Company leads the craft brewery industry with annual revenues of $500 million in 2010. They have outperformed the uninspired beer market this year, reporting solid increases in sales and profits every month in 2011. This exploding success in the specialty market occurred against the backdrop of dismal growth in the mass market. But even within the specialty segment, Boston Beer has outperformed rivals with 6.6% volume growth in 2011, compared to 5% growth in the craft beer category.


  • Dec 18, 2011
    Research In Motion

    Smartphone users are a notoriously fickle bunch. The slightest flaw in a phone sends users off to a new phone faster than you can say “service contract.” Research-In-Motion, or RIM, has remained relatively immune to all of this until recently.

    More than a decade ago, RIM created its own competition-free market space when it introduced the Blackberry; the company created what industry specialists like to call a “blue ocean.” Nearly everyone in my salary-challenged office had to have one: a mobile device that offered email. By 2002, RIM added short messaging service (SMS) and Internet surfing, and then even the janitor had one (although it was only for a couple of weeks).


  • Dec 18, 2011
    gap-china476

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Amina Ahmed, Marquita Blanding, Benjamin Donner, Julia Glad and Carla Vila

    Introduction

    Positioned as a budget airline company with a tourism focus, JetBlue is synonymous with the keywords “quality” and “customer satisfaction.” JetBlue offered many firsts in the airline industry, including: satellite TV, satellite access to e-mails, vacation packages on eBay, and a “customer bill of rights” — that enables customers to be compensated for their inconveniences. Today, JetBlue has expanded its operations to include partnerships with international airlines, with a fleet of more than 400 airplanes. Despite the fierce competition of the airline industry, JetBlue continues to rise in popularity and revenues. How does JetBlue manage to continue its growth, especially while competing with rival discount airline Southwest?

    Fierce Competition – Jet Blue and the airline Industry


  • Dec 18, 2011
    Redbox

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Cole Augustine, Cynthia Austin, Bradley Carson, and Jennifer Long

    Redbox has seen a meteoric rise to the top of the movie rental business, despite their focus on a dying form of media. As the company’s built in expiration date draws closer, Redbox must ask itself, “What Now?” This article will provide an overview of how Redbox got to the top, a preview into the future of the video rental industry, and suggestions for how Redbox can stay relevant in a changing industry.


  • Aug 16, 2011

    gap-china476A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Emma Brown, Caroline Caverly, Julie Goodman, Kelly Post and Angela Wong

    Last year, when an apparel giant opened four stores in China and failed to gain a significant portion of the retail sales, multinational retail stores took note. The Gap, an apparel line successful in more than 3,000 locations worldwide, had everything going for them. So, what went wrong?

    The Gap’s biggest mistake was the cookie cutter approach it took to establishing its presence in the world’s largest youth market. The Gap sought to target the increasing middle-income consumers in the rapidly growing Chinese market, but failed to capture the attention of their most important customers, the Chinese youth.


  • Aug 11, 2011
    COMAC

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Brett Davis, Don Dennis, Tras Obsuwan, Kyungwhan Park and Ryan Wegner

    How comfortable would you feel if you boarded an aircraft that was entirely developed, manufactured, and assembled in China by a wholly-owned Chinese company?  That reality may occur in the near future. With global industry revenue projected to increase to $4 trillion by 2029[i], of which approximately 12% [ii] is expected to occur in the Chinese market, new competitors are quickly strengthening their positions in the historically duopolistic airline industry. Amongst these players is Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), a Chinese state-owned aircraft manufacturing company, which is focused on fiercely competing with industry leaders Boeing and Airbus. COMAC’s aspirations are to obtain market share and at the behest of the Chinese government reduce the country’s reliance on foreign airline manufacturers.


  • Aug 08, 2011

    ebay in ChinaA corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Bo Lin, Jason Martin, Chiemi Perry, Jian Tong and Wei Wang

    There are many characters to distinguish great companies with others, such as innovation ideas, stunning development speed and outstanding leadership.  However, not all great companies could rebound after their failure in some specific areas.  As we all know, the case of Starbucks in Australia and Wal-Mart in Korea, both reveal the insurmountable local market differences and accordingly systematic slow responses could lead many business legends to be negative examples.  To compare and research how to practice in this situation, we pick up the case from eBay and discuss how the strategy adjustments could help eBay come from behind to win.


  • Aug 07, 2011
    ebay in China

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Joel Baughman, Srinivas Chundi, Mikhail Kholyavko, Chintan Patel and Chris Vadner


  • Aug 07, 2011

    by R. Dharni, A. Ibanez, T. Phan, J. Mendenhall, and P. Zamorano

    Grupo Televisa SAB’s recent acquisition of a 50% stake in near-bankrupt Mexican wireless company Iusacell has been touted by company management as core in its strategy to become an “integrated media-telecom Company.”  While the deal has been widely panneddue to the high, $1.6 billion valuation for a company in an industry most analysts see as having few synergies with any of the company’s existing businesses, the bigger risk may lie in how the deal impacts Televisa’s successful foray into global markets.


  • Apr 26, 2011

    By M. Evans, L. Hammes, W. Herberger, B. Berg, T. El Wahsh, D. Rassloff

    Banking in Post-Revolution Egypt Gets Upwardly “Mobile”

    Without mobile phones, the Mubarak regime might still be thriving today. But political reform and social change are not the only ripple effects of widespread mobile usage. Mobile banking stands to create a dramatic new stimulus to the Egyptian economy. In a country where remittances from foreign workers contribute US$9.5 billion annually to the economy (Bloomberg News, 2010) and transfers between relatives within the country are common, one might think that transferring funds would be easy and convenient. Transferring funds should be an accessible service in a banking system that is well regulated and thrives on the competition between 39 banks. But for most Egyptians, these basic, common transactions are far from straightforward.


  • Apr 26, 2011

    By Kaleena Rivas, Madhavi Rao, Andrew Rivas, Amar Memon, Antonio Pérez Malpica

    Background

    Since their introduction in 1979, mobile phones have been constantly evolving and becoming an integral part of our daily lives. From the first generation of devices based on cellular networks to the introduction of digital technologies like GSM and SMS and all the way to ultra-fast third and fourth generation (4G) networks, mobile phones have become more powerful, have increased their capabilities and have turned into essential devices for consumers around the world.


  • Apr 26, 2011

    By Benjamin Steinsieck, Vikash Sharma, Erin Keefer, Matthew Miller, Tala Soubra, Clay McCarter

    Tradition has it that the main gate at Brown University is opened only twice a year; once in the fall to allow new students to enter the campus, and again in the spring to allow graduating students to pass out into the wider world armed with an education from one of the world’s great universities. But is the notion of the leafy, cloistered university outdated?

    On the face of it, many of the world’s most venerable academic institutions haven’t changed much in the last hundred years. But the world certainly has. Technological advances and shifting political climates mean that information and commerce know fewer borders. Today’s college students demand institutions that will prepare them to become residents in this new global community and businesses demand a workforce that is globally intelligent.

    In response, many universities in the United States have embarked upon various projects designed to “internationalize” the educational experience. These typically include direct student and faculty exchanges with foreign universities, study abroad, international student recruiting, and research partnerships with foreign academic and research institutions.


  • Apr 18, 2011

    Nestlé_GF_GL-300dpiBy Alan Bright, Judy Buhrman, Jenni Ellingson, Jon Harrop, Marra Longo, Anu Narayan


  • Apr 18, 2011
    Home_branding

    Under Armour (UA) competes in an industry that faces ethical challenges in all operations.  The ethical standards of UA span to all sectors of the business to include the following: product production, manufacturing, operations, and global aspects of the corporation. Yet, UA is leading the way in concurring ethical challenges through successful tactics that make them stand out from competitors.  UA is a market leader, not only in innovation, but in ethical standards, eco-friendly operations, and business practices, throughout the active wear industry.

    Athletic Apparel: A Tainted Industry?

    True to the apparel industry, active wear has not been immune to labor issues as outsourcing to less developed countries has introduced questionable practices and possible human rights violations.  The lack of environmental and human labor regulations has given the industry a suspect reputation and often times a stigma that, “no news is good news” for the industry’s human labor practices.


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