3. Overview of assignment: Please select 2 companies preferably within the same sector (you
may discuss this with your unit tutors to ensure your choice is appropriate; top FTSE 500
companies). You are required to give an analysis of the company’s financial position in the market
and its future strategic direction (compare 3 or 5 years). This would include an analysis of its
(possible) generic strategy, core competences, and recent and (possible) future strategic
direction(s), which could all form a basis for discussion, and could help you identify possible key
strategies which the company uses or may use. In this section analyse the types of investment that
the company makes, and how it makes money from them.
By its nature strategic information is commercially sensitive. Although you may find published
information, you will be required to apply your accumulated knowledge and understanding (from
your studies so far) to your assigned company. You will need to think deeply and apply your
knowledge (as well as any further research) to the requirements of your company and the business
Some students may prefer to adopt a different approach and that is to take a role of financial
investor to examine the two companies in terms of their suitability for investment. In other words,
you may assume that you have a certain amount of money and would like to consider which of the
two companies (or both of them) are suitable for investing your money in their share. With this
approach, you compare and contrast the financial position and financial performance of the two
companies and also compare them with the industry to assess which company is preferable for the
investment for protentional shareholders.
You will need to undertake your own research into the organisation itself, the sector in which it
operates, and key factors associated with its business environment. You may need to seek out
market research data, public data sources, financial accounts, policy documents or other
information types to get a rounded view of the problems. You will then use tools of strategic analysis
to depict what is happening at the organisation, and, comparing that with the business environment,
provide recommendations on future strategy.
This Management Report will be a maximum 3,500 words (excluding references), written to the
organisation’s board of directors giving your view of the priority of these options and noting any
interdependencies between them. You may assume your audience are business literate
professionals, i.e. familiar with principles of accounting, human resource management, marketing
and basic economics. But you will need to justify your selection of analytic techniques and ground
that discussion with reference to strategic management and marketing literature (full referencing
required, in Harvard format). You will be assessed on the quality of presentation as well as the
depth of analysis and use of theory.
The word count, at 3,500 words, means you will need to be succinct and precise in what you report
to enable the board to review the priorities you recommend.
In the main body of your report should include the following components:
a) Title, name of company, Table of contents – Word Count
b) Abstract or executive summary (brief summary of your work)
c) “Industry, Challenges and Opportunities”, since it should provide a context for the
presentation of the two company cases and analysis which relates to the market
d) An overview of the two companies
e) Strategic Financial Management Analysis (key issue is Ratio Analyses)
f) Strategic Analysis and Findings
g) Key Recommendations
i) References (only those used in the text)
The title, table of contents, the abstract, the references and the appendices are not included in the
– An Appendix should provide a more detailed financial information
4. Assessment criteria and weightings:
Your work for assignment 2 is going to be assessed on the basis of how it demonstrates your
Justify your recommendations with fully referenced research evidence derived from the analysis and
evaluation of information from your individual and action-learning set research, as well as with logical
arguments using appropriate theories.
a) Formulation of the literature review (35%)
b) Development of strategic financial management analysis (35%)
c) A clear summary of the strategic analysis with key recommendation (s) (20%)
d) Written communication (10%)
Bear in mind that the following will be considered under written communication while assessing
Structure and style: use of a fit for purpose structure and layout; evidence of formatting
including use of suitable and relevant headings and sub -heading where necessary.
Clarity and conciseness: presentation of clear, direct and explicit answers; ability to go
straight to the point and avoid unnecessary details; evidence of use of valid, appropriate and
relevant material; focus on answering the question and provision of adequate and relevant
context; ability to avoid unnecessary repetition.
Writing competence: evidence of general proofreading to eliminate spelling and grammatical
errors (which interfere with understanding) and appropriate use of discipline/subject specific
terminology. You should also write the assignment in the third person (i.e. you do not use ‘I’
Academic credibility and integrity: appropriate use of resources and correct referencing style
Submit your individual report as an electronic MS Word document (.docx or .doc file format) via the
unit’s Turnitin submission box by the deadline. Use A4 size document, Times New Roman size 12
font, 1.5 spaced lines, and 2.54 cm margins.
The maximum word count limit for this report is 2,000 words. The report must be correctly referenced,
using the Harvard Referencing system (Author Date Method), with both in-text references and a
References list after the main body of the text. The 3,500 word count limit includes tables and charts
placed in the body of the text but it excludes the References list, the title page, table of contents, and
material included in the appendices.
Please clearly indicate the word count on your title page.
There is no formal penalty based on a mathematical formula for exceeding the -word limit; however,
inability to stay below the limit will be considered as a negative characteristic during the assessment
process (taken as a proof of lack of editing) and will normally result in a lower mark, to account for the
unfair advantage in opportunities for additional expression the extra word count may have provided.