Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

A Sample Case Question – My Take Home Final | February 20, 2009

For our marketing class, we were given a take-home final based on a Starbucks case study and a brief article in the Wall Street Journal about McDonalds. I thought it might be illuminating to post the take-home final questions to give a flavor for the type of analysis we’re expected to produce. Here it is:

1) The Starbucks case segments the market into “new” and “established” customers.  Analyze and describe the composition of customer value (“benefits” and “costs”) for each segment, highlighting the relevant brand, service, and product components.  Compare and contrast the customer value offered by Starbucks and McDonald’s to each of the two customer segments.  Which type(s) of customer do you risk losing to McDonald’s, and why?

2) How can Starbucks best respond to the McDonald’s threat?  Specifically, what improvements or changes to your brand, service, and product do you need to implement, if any?  Explain why, and discuss the implications in terms of delivering advantageous value to “new” and/or “established” customers to counter the McDonald’s threat.

For a deliverable, we’re expected to produce a 3-page single spaced response including any exhibits we deem necessary to back up our argument. While three pages doesn’t sound like a lot, that’s kind of the idea. The professor would like us to put together a concise, well thought out argument that reads like an executive summary. If three pages seems light, that’s because it is. We also have a 10-page paper documenting our marketing simulation as well as a 12-minute presentation due next week. Fun times.


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