• April 25th, 2016

Conseco: Market Assumptions and Risk

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

The paper should be written in the following format:

1. Defining the issue(s)/Problem Statement:
The problem statement should be a clear, concise statement of exactly what needs to be addressed. This is not easy to write! The work that you did in the short cycle process answered the basic questions. Now it is time to decide what the main issues to be addressed are going to be in much more detail. Asking yourself the following questions may help

2.Analyzing Case Data:
Why or how did these issues arise? Who is affected most by this issues?
What are the constraints and opportunities? What do the numbers tell you?

3.Generating Alternatives:
a. Be realistic! While you might be able to find a dozen alternatives, keep in mind that they should be realistic and fit within the constraints of the situation.
b. The alternatives should be mutually exclusive, that is, they cannot happen at the same time.
c. Not making a decision pending further investigation is not an acceptable decision for any case study that you will analyze. A manager can always delay making a decision to gather more information, which is not managing at all! The whole point to this exercise is to learn how to make good decisions, and having imperfect information is normal for most business decisions, not the exception.
d. Doing nothing as in not changing your strategy can be a viable alternative, provided it is being recommended for the correct reasons, as will be discussed below.
e. Avoid the meat sandwich method of providing only two other clearly undesirable alternatives to make one reasonable alternative look better by comparison. This will be painfully obvious to the reader, and just shows laziness on your part in not being able to come up with more than one decent alternative.
f. Keep in mind that any alternative chosen will need to be implemented at some point, and if serious obstacles exist to successfully doing this, then you are the one who will look bad for suggesting it.
Once the alternatives have been identified, a method of evaluating them and selecting the most appropriate one needs to be used to arrive at a decision.

4.Key Decision Criteria:
Key decision criteria should be:
a.Brief, preferably in point form,
b.Measurable, at least to the point of comparison, such as alternative A will improve profitability more that alternative B.
c.Be related to your problem statement, and alternatives. If you find that you are talking about something else, that is a sign of a missing alternative or key decision criteria, or a poorly formed problem statement.

5.Evaluation of Alternatives:
If you have done the above properly, this should be straightforward. You measure the alternatives against each key decision criteria. Often you can set up a simple table with key decision criteria as columns and alternatives as rows, and write this section based on the table. Each alternative must be compared to each criteria and its suitability ranked in some way, such as met/not met, or in relation to the other alternatives, such as better than, or highest. This will be important to selecting an alternative. Another method that can be used is to list the advantages and disadvantages (pros/cons) of each alternative, and then discussing the short and long term implications of choosing each. Note that this implies that you have already predicted the most likely outcome of each of the alternatives. Some students find it helpful to consider three different levels of outcome, such as best, worst, and most likely, as another way of evaluating alternatives.

6.Recommendation
Give a justification for your decision. Check to make sure that it is one (and only one) of your Alternatives and that it does resolve what you defined as the Problem.

7.Appendix:
All calculations must be shown in an appendix and referred to in the body if necessary.

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