Blog

  • Apr 17, 2011

    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Antonio Perez Malpica, Amar Memon, Madhavi Rao, Andrew Rivas and Kaleena Rivas

    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 17, 2011
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    A corporate strategy article by Thunderbird students Alistair Booth, Stephen Kill, Adeola Shabiyi and Douglas Stetzer

    Tesla caught the eye of the consumer when they released their Roadster in 2008. The Roadster, a true fully electric super car with a practical driving range, boasts a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of less than 4 seconds and can go almost 250 miles on a single charge.[i] Tesla, however, has not been able to turn its buzz or technology into exciting growth. In 2010 Tesla reported annual revenues of $116.7 million, only a 4% increase from 2009 and a net loss of $154.3 million in 2010, almost three times the net loss of 2009.[ii] To maintain operations and development of new products and technologies, Tesla has been able to garner modest investment through venture capital, US government loans, a successful IPO, and investment from competitors and suppliers.


  • Feb 22, 2011

    Cisco SystemsBy Executive MBA students Marc Simony, Sherrie Zollinger, Kellie Teelander, Casey Hirschman, Fayda Khalek and Dewan Simon

    What do you do when you have $40 billion in the bank, net profits of $7.7 billion, an average annual unlevered free cash flow of around $9 billion, the world economy in shambles, and you need to continue to grow because stagnation will kill your stock price?

    At Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) you announce a $10 billion share buyback to protect your stock price, and you try to maximize your sunk costs and IP (pun intended; both Intellectual Property and Internet Protocol). Cisco has a plethora of business units, but most are geared toward supporting packet flow over Cisco’s core business — networking infrastructure. Networking infrastructure, in this case, represents a large portion the sunk costs, because sold gear does not return any post-sale revenue scaled to the use and value it provides the purchaser.


  • Dec 22, 2010

    First Solar global strategyBy Gregg Gallager, Arnold Jee, David Lembo, Colleen Manley, Eric Moldabayev and Paola Torres

    First Solar (FS) was originally founded as Solar Cells in 1984 by inventor and visionary Harold McMaster. McMaster with the help of Jim Nolan made the switch from amorphous silicon to Cadmium telluride (CdTe). This switch in thin film technology allowed Solar Cells to manufacture moderately efficient (7%) and low-cost thin film cells on a large scale.


  • Dec 22, 2010

    Cloud ComputingHow will SalesForce.com meet the ever-increasing competitive pressure in the cloud computing market they helped to create?

    By Mohammed Ahmed, Eric Boone, Ilya Gouts, Laurent Monod, Davron Nurbaev, John Perez, Ravi Thotapalli and Detelina Trendafilova


  • Dec 22, 2010

    DHL-ExpressBy Carlos Ceron, Isaac Chiu, Eric Craig, Tiina Kandzia, David Kuo, Tatiana Sunshine and David Yom

    The perfect storm of economic downturn, high fuel prices and reduced demand worldwide put a serious hurt on DHL Express. In 2008, it pulled out of the US domestic market and in 2010, it sold its money-losing UK express parcel division. However, it appears that 2009-2010 has seen a fair degree of recovery for DHL Express and the industry as a whole. In the midst of this, Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL began the initiative of Strategy 2015 whose goal is to create synergy among the three divisions of DP-DHL into “One DHL.” It is quite the rosy picture, but integrating each division’s respective strategy and culture will be easier said than done.

    Frank Appel’s plan is to leverage the different business divisions of the company. He envisions the different divisions operating hand-in-hand, generating business for each other. According to a recent IBIS report DHL-Express contributes 21.7% of DHL-DP total revenue. If Mr. Appel’s plan works, eventually, this calculation will be blurred.


  • Dec 21, 2010

    Yahoo global strategyBy Daniela Bernini, Tobias Bertram, Thomas Dornis, Nofil Fawad, Asif Shaw, Ron Teagarden and Dan VanDusen

    Yahoo has been here for fifteen years. We are the Internet. Unfortunately, we sit in a paradigm that values the new shiny penny,” Carol Bartz CEO of Yahoo!

    Yahoo, once the leader in internet services, is struggling to implement a growth strategy to keep up with competitors such as Google and Facebook. Yahoo used to be the portal for Internet users, but over the last 10 years Yahoo’s market dominance has been severely dampened by new entrants. Yahoo announced a reduction in force of about 600 employees this month, or 4 percent of its workforce, the third such action since 2008.


  • Dec 21, 2010
    honeywell

    By Kishore Chagamreddy, Peter Addy, Ian Jensen, Darrell Member, Bindu Malik, Misty Caruth and Maggie Gu

    “Aerospace is a leading global supplier of aircraft engines, avionics, and related products and services for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, aircraft operators, military services, and defense and space contractors” (Honeywell 2009 Annual Report). This statement by Honeywell sounds like the same mumbo jumbo that customers and investors read from a company. All for-profit organizations strategize in some way to be the leader in their industry. What is Honeywell’s recipe?

    A favorable attribute of the aerospace industry that benefits Honeywell is the high barriers to entry into the market. This area is a recognizable strength for Honeywell and the company uses it to maintain profitability.


  • Dec 20, 2010

    mcdonaldsBy Shawn Duncan, Srikant Akula, Zarmineh Rab, Roman Yasinsky, Isabella Delboni and Philippe Richard

    McDonalds is the world’s biggest food service retailer serving more than 60 million customers each day in over 30,000 retail locations in 118 countries. McDonalds is growing at an annual rate of 3-8% worldwide. Annual revenues are in excess $24 B with a net income of $4.9 B. Earnings per share $4.59 with a dividend yield at nearly 3%. McDonalds has over 385,000 employees in its various stores around the world.

    In early 2002, after posting a fist quarterly loss McDonalds began a major restructuring of its operations. Over 700 restaurants worldwide were closed and many employees were laid off. McDonalds exited from several countries where brand had a negative perception.


  • Dec 16, 2010

    Nokia global strategyBy Abhilash Mishra, Meha Gupta, Mrinal Das, Navjyot Ukarde, Sandeep Das and Vinod Jayavelu

    “At the highest level, what I have initially found is a company with many great strengths and a history of achievements that are second to none in the industry. And yet our company faces a remarkably disruptive time in the industry, with recent results demonstrating that we must re-assess our role in and our approach to this industry.” These words by Stephen Elop, the newly appointed CEO of Nokia, sent out a message loud and clear that Nokia needs a facelift for its business strategy to prevent its dwindling market share. In reality, Nokia needs much more than a new CEO. The company needs a complete renovation of its business model that addresses Nokia’s failure to react to dynamic market trends.


  • Dec 15, 2010

    Volkswagen in BRIC countriesThe automotive industry is in transition. Growing environmental concerns and ever increasing oil prices are accelerating a shift from gasoline to electric vehicles. Volkswagen AG will be ready to meet the surge in demand for these “green” vehicles (hybrid, electric, biofuel cars) and for the components that are used to make them.  Development of small, inexpensive environmentally-friendly vehicles and continued expansion of manufacturing and selling these vehicles in emerging markets are keys to the company’s success.  These two mutually-reinforcing activities give VW advantageous positioning in the intensely competitive automotive industry and will propel it to achieve its ambitious goal to become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world by 2018.


  • Dec 15, 2010

    Caterpillar in China and IndiaBy Edward Matloub, Thomas McIntyre, Peter Rohlfer, Caelie Fryers, Bert Valencia Jr. and Aditya Koyyalamud


  • Dec 15, 2010
    Research in Motion

    The smartphone industry is a fast-moving, highly competitive industry. Gains in market share are created through thin marginal differences between phones that are quickly eclipsed by other companies. This summer’s 3G innovation becomes “too old, too slow” as this month’s 4G phone makes headlines. In order to successfully compete, a smart phone maker must be able to keep up with its competition and innovate to snatch small sections of market share. Research in Motion (RIM), currently the largest smartphone maker in terms of market share with over 50 million users worldwide and 12 million units shipped last quarter, managed to carve out a section of the smart phone market for itself during the early- to mid-2000s.


  • Dec 15, 2010
    The Economist global strategy

    A few years ago, BusinessWeek was valued at more than $1 billion and in October 2010 it was sold for a mere $5 million. When buying Newsweek in August 2010, the buyer Sydney Harman confessed, “Break-even is a serious accomplishment, especially in this world, the world of journalism. I’m not here to make money, I’m here to make joy.” Print media is considered a dying business now but even in this environment The Economist, one of the oldest magazines in political, economic and academic news, is growing steadily. While most of the industry players have lost readership, The Economist has increased circulation 95% over the past ten years. Its circulation has risen another 3.3% from 2008 to 2009 while the largest news magazines lost more than 25% of their circulation, with Business Week losing 2% circulation and Forbes remaining steady with a 0.1% gain.


  • Dec 14, 2010

    Circuit City global strategyBy Dan Benton, Dave Davidson, Kyle Larsen, Dan Olver and Jong Chul Park

    Innovation is a buzzword thrown into corporate missions as evidence of how a company creates and differentiates; it’s a keystone for any business, a prerequisite for any manager, and a selling point for any investor.  But what is innovation? And why do we desperately seek it? The way we look at it, innovation is the creativity of a few put into action by many, offering quantitative and qualitative advantages over the competition.  However, any single act of corporate innovation is not enough to create sustainable value; legacies are created through continual value creation.


  • Dec 14, 2010

    Redbox global strategyBy Jones Dias, Abhinav Kant, Vamsi Kothapalli, Kristal Nicholson, Filippo Sclafani and Pankaj Tamrakar

    As recently as four years ago, almost no one would have been aware of what the word Redbox meant. Today, Americans have become devoted customers of this rising star of the impulse DVD rental industry. But will the fun and ease of Redbox’s unique impulse proposition last through the next decade? Do advances in technology, with an ever-changing array of readily available options, such as downloads or streaming, mean that the days of the Redbox are numbered?

    The discussion seems to vary as to which strategy Redbox needs to take in order to continue to thrive in the rental business. Coinstar (Redbox’ parent) CEO Paul Davis, expressing his ideas in a recent conference call, considers streaming a “significant opportunity” while maintaining that he foresees a “long, profitable life ahead” for Redbox’s movie-machine kiosk business.


  • Dec 14, 2010

    Sempra Energy global strategyBy Helen Akanisi, Sam Brien, Fikre Gurja, Christian Lorentzen and Jonathan Norberg

    In 2006 a popular documentary asked, “Who killed the electric car?” A few years from now when documentaries are asking, “Who brought the electric car back to life?” one of the names tossed around might very well be Southern California’s Sempra Energy. Sempra, a Fortune 500 company and parent to the major electric and natural gas utilities in San Diego and Southern Orange County and a major utilities player throughout the Southwest, has strategically positioned itself in recent months to potentially be a leader in the rolling out of the “smart grid” and electric vehicle (EV) charging station infrastructure which are key to giving new life to a technological dream pronounced dead only a few years ago. Whether or not Sempra is remembered as a savior of the electric car or just another failed attempt in that direction will depend on whether they are able to overcome the technical and financial hurdles that have made the electric car an elusive goal.


  • Dec 14, 2010

    BlackBerry smartphoneBy Benjawan Thanachotipan, Jesse Randall, Peter Graham, Sriram Sridharan, Timothy Webb and Tyler McElhaney

    Research in Motion [RIMM: $60.81], known for its private data security and e-mail addicts, may be on the verge of disappearing. Drawing this conclusion may seem strange in light of its recent stock price increases, its 27 percent market share, and the pending release of its iPad competitor, the Playbook. However, RIM’s demise isn’t apparent on the surface. Its misaligned long-term strategy is what will ultimately bring RIM to its knees.


  • Dec 14, 2010
    Tiffany & Co. global strategy

    By Jeremy Snyder, Sara Dallaire, Patty Vukanovich, Matt Gottesman, Travis Goulding and Brad Hunter


  • Dec 14, 2010

    Embraer global strategyBy Aarohan Singh, Abhijit Chakrabarti, Alok Shah, Divy Jaisingh, Karn Dhandhania and Rishin Patel

    The first credit for human flight in history is given to the Wright brothers, who took their first flight in 1903. However, for commercial air travel, that honor is given to the British Overseas Aircraft Corporation, which in 1952, provided the world’s first commercial jet service. Within commercial jets, there has been a constant innovation taking place throughout the industry. Whether aspiring to create faster, safer, or more luxurious planes, this highly competitive industry is always looking for the next big thing.


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