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PREPARATORY EXAM
PREPARATORY EXAM

Answer any FOUR questions

MORNING 29 NOVEMBER 2004

Q1 Strategic Management includes: Strategic Analysis, Strategic Choice and Strategy Implementation. Outline and discuss each of these elements of Strategic Management, showing how each contributes to effective corporate planning. (Equal marks for each)

(Total 25 marks)

Q2 A systematic appraisal of the main elements of the Macro and Micro external environment should enable the identification of the key opportunities and threats which management will have to take account of in developing meaningful future strategies. Discuss. (25 marks)

Q3 Using examples, outline and discuss each of the following three generic strategies suggested by Michael Porter as being the three main alternative strategies which a company may select from in the pursuit of a competitive advantage:

(a) cost leadership

(b) differentiation

(c) focus. (Equal marks for each)

(Total 25 marks)

Q4 You have recently been appointed to a management post in a new company, Beta Products Plc.

The managing director of this company, aware that you have studied corporate strategy, has asked you to prepare a memo for her covering the uses and limitations of portfolio analysis in strategic planning, about which she has no previous knowledge. She is particularly interested in the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) technique of portfolio analysis and has asked you to concentrate on this as an example. Write the memo requested, outlining:

(a) A brief overview of the underpinning concepts and rationale of portfolio techniques. (6 marks)

(b) An explanation of the BCG technique of portfolio analysis. (14 marks)

(c) An outline of the uses and limitations of the BCG technique. (5 marks)

(Total 25 marks)

Q5 (a) Explain the concept of ‘synergy’. (5 marks)

(b) Using examples, discuss the main areas/sources of potential synergy when two companies merge. (15 marks)

(c) What are the problems in assessing the potential for synergy from a merger? (5 marks)

(Total 25 marks)

Q6 In evaluating strategic alternatives, it can be important to assess the degree of risk associated with each strategy.

Discuss each of the following approaches to analysing risk:

(a) Financial ratio projections.

(b) Sensitivity analysis.

(c) Simulation modelling. (Equal marks for each)

(Total 25 marks)

Q7 (a) Briefly explain why a suitable organisational structure is essential to the effective implementation of corporate strategic plans and indicate some of the key factors which affect the choice of type of organisational structure. (5 marks)

(b) Discuss each of the following types of organisational structure, indicating the advantages and disadvantages of each:

(i) The Functional Structure. (5 marks)

(ii) The Multi-divisional Structure. (5 marks)

(iii) The Holding Company Structure. (5 marks)

(iv) The Matrix Structure. (5 marks)

(Total 25 marks)

Q8 Many organisations now consider the pursuit of global strategies as offering distinct benefits including:

(a) Cost reduction

(b) Improved quality

(c) Better ability to meet customer needs

(d) Improved competitive leverage.

Using examples, outline and discuss each of these suggested benefits of pursuing global strategies. (Equal marks for each)

(Total 25 marks

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