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How to Analyze and Write Up a Case Assignment

Case assignments provide students with an opportunity (1) to communicate their analysis of a
situation in a clear and professional manner and (2) to learn effective team-working skills to
analyze and solve a business problem. Each case assignment requires two basic activities:
analyses and written (and often visual) presentations.
Below are some helpful tips for analyzing and writing up a case assignment:
• Assume that the reader to whom the written presentation is to be given knows the basic
facts of the case; in general, these facts do not need to be repeated in the written
presentation.
• Apply what you have learned to analyze the information and data given in the case.
• Address each question asked in the case and consider the following procedure to
address each question:

  1. Understand the problem.
  2. Brainstorm for alternatives.
  3. Analyze the alternatives from both a quantitative and a qualitative point of
    view.
    NOTE: There are many benefits to debating with your team regarding the
    various viewpoints of the case. Work with the different viewpoints
    to develop a more comprehensive analysis.
  4. Develop recommendation(s) and support.
    NOTE: You may also want to discuss the alternatives you did not choose
    and why.
    • Use exhibits (i.e., figures, tables, etc.) and be creative in constructing these exhibits . . .
    exhibits are beneficial because they:
  5. Help organize facts, analyses, and justification for recommendations.
  6. Demonstrate application of learning in a concise manner.
  7. Provide a summary of case understanding and findings.
  8. Prevent the reader from being distracted from the message in the writing.
    NOTE: An exhibit does not replace a message being conveyed in the writeup; instead, it augments the message, justifies the message,
    highlights an example of the message, etc.
    • Leverage the different strengths that different team members bring to the table . . . it is
    not easy but learning how to do this well will make you a better manager

How Will the Case Memorandum be Evaluated?

Each case memorandum is graded on a 5-point basis as follows:
Score Reason

ScoreReason
5Recommendation is consistent with all relevant facts.
• Assumptions affecting recommendation and analyses are clearly
articulated.
• Logical or numerical analyses supporting recommendation are clearly
explained.
• The content is laid out in a structured and logically-coherent manner.
• The case memorandum is free of idiomatic/colloquial writing and of
grammatical and spelling errors
4Scores of 1-4 indicate a case memorandum that does not reflect one or
more aspects allowing a score of 5.
3Scores of 1-4 indicate a case memorandum that does not reflect one or
more aspects allowing a score of 5.
2Scores of 1-4 indicate a case memorandum that does not reflect one or
more aspects allowing a score of 5.
1Scores of 1-4 indicate a case memorandum that does not reflect one or
more aspects allowing a score of 5.
0Did not submit

Case Memorandum Sample

Month XX, YEAR
TO: NAME of recipient, Title of the recipient [This is not the professor]
FROM: NAME of senders [Please be sure to include Team Name]
SUBJECT: What the Memorandum Is About


INSERT a short introductory paragraph whose purposes are:

To summarize why you (i.e., your team) are writing the memorandum . . . this is a reminder to the
client as to why he/she is reading this memorandum and also an opportunity to “thank” the client
for asking (i.e., paying you) to do this analysis [This is usually just one sentence].
• To specify clearly what key issues you identified from your analyses . . . there may be just one key
issue or they may be several . . . you may state your key issues in bullet-listed format or in
paragraph format.
• To provide your recommendations for each of the key issues that you identified . . . if the
paragraph gets too long because you have many recommendations (because you have many
issues), then you may want to end the paragraph after identifying the key issues by saying:

Below, we detail and explain our recommendations for the key issues that have been
identified.”

RECOMMENDATIONS [Insert this sub-heading]:

Assuming you had identified multiple issues and, therefore, will be offering multiple
recommendations, you may then want to structure this section with at least one paragraph per
recommendation. Alternatively, you may also use a numbered bulleted listing. With a numbered
bulleted listing, the most important recommendation is usually listed first.
• Each recommendation should be stated very clearly and in actionable terms, explained as to why
you are making the recommendation, tied directly to some analysis that you had performed, and
discussed in terms of challenges of implementation.

For example:
“We recommend that you increase your safety stock levels for blue widgets by
30% from its current quantity of 100 units to 130 units (see Exhibit 1 showing the
computations for maintaining a safety stock level for blue widgets of 130 units).
This recommendation allows you to mitigate the uncertain and highly variable and
seasonal demand that blue widgets face annually and, at the same time, meets
your requirements to maintain a 98% cycle-service level.
To implement this recommendation, note that there may be two challenges – the
scarcity of blue widgets in the supply market and the need for more physical
storage space. To mitigate the first challenge, you may want to enter into a longerterm contract with the vendor. This will allow you to also take advantage of
contracting at a more appropriate price per unit and negotiate for a discount. To
mitigate the second challenge, you may want to reduce the safety stock level for
other items per our next recommendation to make room for holding more units of
blue widgets in safety stock. Fortunately, you will not need to increase your line of
credit with your bank even though you are holding more units in safety stock
because of cost savings from other recommendations.

  • Remember that
This sub-section should be the focus of the memorandum . . . avoid including information
in this section that draws attention from the reader away from understanding the
recommendation that you are making.
All exhibits should be referenced in the memorandum in order of use . . . The
memorandum should not refer to Exhibit 5 before Exhibits 1-4 . . . in other words, the
ordering of the exhibits should be aligned with their referencing in the memorandum.
Details as to why you chose to tools and the techniques for analyzing the key issues you
identified should be explained as part of tables, figures, computations, etc. in the exhibits
attached to the memorandum. For an example, see the next page.

Exhibit 1: Pareto Chart of Self-Reported Reasons Affecting Office Productivity

We analyze the data about office worker productivity with a Pareto Chart. The Pareto Chart is appropriate
because it quickly identifies the set of factors that frequently lead to office workers not being able to
complete their tasks in a timely manner. As shown, the top three reasons for poor office worker
productivity are (a) the inability to download relevant documents, (b) poor file management, and (c) files
being saved in a format that cannot be edited. These three reasons should be the focus of improvement
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