It’s lunch time at the head office. Director of Human Resources Chris Franklin is sharing a table with Marketing VP George Tsang. Chris has a group of MBA students arriving for their summer internship in a few weeks, but there’s a problem:

Chris Franklin: The summer interns arrive in a week, George, and none of the departments seem to have meaningful projects for them to work on. This is a very smart group of students—really impressive. I don’t want them just sitting around, doing busy work like data entry—or making coffee! We have a commitment to supporting business education, and I want their time with us to be valuable.

George Tsang: To be honest, Chris, I don’t have much for them to do either. Our current campaign is in maintenance mode, and we don’t plan to call for agency pitches on the new product launch until September. That puts me in the same boat as the other departments—with very little work for an intern.

Chris: Maybe we should bring someone in to give them barista training . . . George: or . . . our Strategic Plan Update meeting is scheduled for August. Why not have them work on something for that? Chris: What, the catering?

George: No, no, I’m thinking big! That’s what we do in marketing, you know . . . The whole management team is looking at the strategic plan, right? Why not get a new perspective? If these students are as bright as you say, they could offer some intriguing insight into the business. Maybe a new idea or two.

Chris: You’re right! We could give them a lot of information on the business and, say, ask them to do a SWOT analysis, for example. It’s been a while since we had fresh eyes look us over; we may be missing some opportunities. Or some threats. I like it! Thanks George, I’ll put the proposal to the CEO this afternoon.

Your Assignment:

You are on the team of interns, hired by Chris Franklin, for your summer assignment with a company that manufactures electronic sensors. You have been given substantial information on the company—and its competitors—via an industry report, the Capstone Courier. You decide to base your report on the Strategic Plan Update meeting on something you have studied at university: Porter’s five forces.

Look at where and how the five forces apply pressure on this electronic sensor business:

1. Competitive rivalry—you’ll find a wealth of information on products, production planning, margins, and more.

2. Bargaining power of suppliers—how do AP policies affect a company’s relationship with suppliers? And TQM initiatives? (If these are active in your simulation.)

3. Bargaining power of buyers—you can see customers’ criteria for buying sensors in the different market segments and calculate how their demands will change. How will the company meet those demands?

4. Threat of new entrants—any competitor can launch a new product at any time. Can you see what is coming onto the market and work out which segment it will launch into?

5. Threat of substitute products or services—this force isn’t operating in the simulation. However, in this exercise, you’re not confined by the rules of the game. Can you imagine how this force could impact the business?

Finally, given your analysis, propose at least one idea that might make the company more profitable and/or less vulnerable to its competition. Your suggestion does not need to be something achievable within the strict confines of your simulation, but it does need to harness one of Porter’s five forces.


Please provide a narrative of no less than 750 and no more than 1,250 words (3-5 pages) where you report out to management regarding the preceding issues/questions.  You may include supporting material in an appendix, however this will not be graded.