Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 4 rundown

Activity 03/27 04/0304/1004/17
Intl Biz Strat 8.410.711.910.8
Mktg Strat 4.813.912.812.7
HR Mgmt 11.86.613.710.8
* Note that 3 hours each week is spent in class

There are only 6 weeks left until the end of the quarter and 8 weeks until our graduation convocation. If the hours situation remains the same, then that means I have roughly 210 hours of school-related work ahead of me. That seems like a lot, and yet, the weeks will probably continue to fly by.

International Business Strategy
We covered how a firm should price its products in different markets. The profit-maximizing strategy would be to set unique prices according to market conditions, which are affected by local customers, local competitors, and your costs to deliver the product, but that isn't always possible because of consumer perceptions of fairness and arbitrage. The professor likes to present "mini-cases" in class to highlight whatever topic we are covering, and he then gets us to comment on each one. He seems to avoid giving us concrete answers to promote open discussion and get us to analyze the situations ourselves.

We are getting our midterm, a take-home, timed test, at the end of next week, so I've started prepping my cheat sheet, which is starting to look as crazy as some of my past sheets.

As far as the final project goes, my team is going with the tried and true Divide and Conquer approach. I know what I'm responsible for, so I'm going to start ramping up on that to get it done as soon as possible.

Marketing Strategy
At the beginning of the first class every week the professor throws up the results of the latest round of the MarkStrat simulation. It's always a fun part of the class. Things didn't go so well for my team this week in the MarkStrat simulation, though we anticipated our fall. Hopefully we'll be able to turn the boat around, though we only have 4 rounds left.

We covered new business strategy in class, looking at approaches for either entering an established category or a new/emerging category. I wish I could describe it in more detail, but I haven't been reviewing my notes in this class as much as my other classes, in part because of the additional demand of MarkStart but also because I'm taking this class under the Pass/Fail option. I didn't think it would change my behavior much, but when it comes time to make trade offs across my classes, it definitely has an impact.

We also had to submit a marketing plan describing our MarkStrat strategy. That was fun. The plan was  based on the guidelines that the professor lays out in his book, Breakthrough Marketing Plans.

Human Resource Management
This week we talked about signaling, screening, and benefits. I think the signaling part was pretty interesting. It has to do with how workers try to overcome the problem of asymmetric information by performing certain actions according to their marginal costs and expected marginal benefits to communicate something about themselves. We covered examples of signaling, the requirements for signaling to be effective, and potential outcomes. On the flip side, employers use screening to try to mitigate adverse selection, another nasty side effect of asymmetric information.

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