Matthew W Ford
Northern Kentucky University College of Business



MGT 305
MGT 307
MGT 415
MGT 490
FIN 450



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QC .xls


MGT 490 News & Info (Updated 08/07/2012 01:47 PM)

That's a wrap!  The Summer 2012 edition of MGT 490 is now history.  Best of luck to graduating seniors!

The MGT 490 Wall of Achievement has been updated.  Congratulations to all top performers.

Here is the sample industry analysis that I will share in class.  Offers one approach for applying Porter's (1980) Five Forces toward a specific industry.  Should also give you an idea of the info you'll need to acquire for your project

Industry Analysis Center  
Industry analysis project requirements Draft report with feedback comments: Video Games
MFord sample industry analysis List of industry resources
Sample projects:  Beer  Bourbon  Theme Parks
Video Game Consoles  Airlines  Real Estate
Porter 5 forces video

Baffled by how to calculate the percentage difference between two values?  You'll need to learn how to be a better manager.  Click here for a tutorial.

Memo Center  
General thoughts on memo writing Prototype memo with comments
Model memos written by students Key to my abbreviated comments written on your memos
Making great tables Making great graphs
Citing your work Gathering credible information

Assignment due dates appear below.  Assignments must be submitted in memo format and stapled.  No late work will be accepted.

Due Date Assignment Topic
6/7/12 A1 A New Process Industry analysis
6/21/12 A2 Built to Last Strategic success factors
7/5/12 A3 Benchmarking Excellence Strategic planning
7/17/12 A4 Balanced Scorecard Implementation

Summer 2012 potpourri (archives).  ISM manufacturing index falls below 50...The Supreme Court's ruling and opinions on the healthcare law...Delta Airlines buys an oil refinery...Some on-the-ground perspective from Italy...Interesting article on McDonalds' operations...Exxon's big bet on shale gas...Microsoft unveils its own tablet device...Greek election results side with austerity (maybe)...Picture history of Central Parkway and Over-the-Rhine...Spain requests $125 billion bank bailout...Is greater productivity a danger?...Oil and gas industry update...Pressure on Germany to underwrite EU bailout continues...Current shape of bank runs in Greece...Strategic management principles applied to life's challenges...Marketing tactics for new grad job hunts...NKU recognized as 'green' higher ed institution...Incoming NKU president known for his competitiveness...Early results of the Facebook IPO have been a dud.

Here is the Porter 5 Forces video shown in class.  May be a useful reference for A1.

Want to think more like a manager?  Your thought processes reflect what you observe and read.  Both Business Week (inside this section check out Strategy & Execution) and Fortune have prepared nice sections on managing to keep you informed and help you learn. 

Want to think more strategically?  Then consider getting better connected to financial markets (there is much overlap between financial and strategic decision-making).  Toward that end, check out Minyanville (it's free!).  Minyanville was founded by my Wall Street friend Todd Harrison to help people learn more about markets so that better financial decisions can be made.  Hope to see you and your friends at the 'Ville. 

A key skill for obtaining a great job and advancing your career is networking.  LinkedIn is a tool for sharing your capabilities and achievements as well as building your network.  Lots of professionals have plugged into this site.  Consider getting connected.

Here's the Fortune subscription info.  Looks like the student rate is $10/yr.  Could be a worthy investment...

Business Policy

MGT 490

Summer 2012

Matt Ford
BC 333
Office hours: 3 - 5 pm Mon thru Thurs                        
(859) 572-1319
(859) 572-5150  (fax)
(859) 572-6559  (department) 

Our Vision

The Haile/US Bank College of Business at Northern Kentucky University will be the first choice of students, faculty and other stakeholders in our region.  We will be known for the excellence of our students, faculty, and staff as well as our alumni as business and community leaders.

Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare our graduates for successful careers as ethical and effective business and community leaders in the global economy.  We pursue this mission with dedicated and caring faculty committed to active learning, rigorous scholarly inquiry of all types, and public engagement.

Course Objectives

This course provides a framework for developing and implementing organizational strategy.  By the time you leave this class, you should be able to:

  • Conduct an effective industry and competitive analysis
  • Identify elements of an effective strategic plan
  • Describe fundamental features of effective strategy implementation

Catalog Description

3 credit hours.  Application of theoretical knowledge to a wide variety of business situations; development of top management viewpoint in developing and assessing corporate strategy; case method and classroom presentations. Open only to students certified as majoring in business disciplines; recommended to be taken during the last 18 semester hours of business coursework.

Prerequisites:  MGT 300, FIN 305, MGT 305, MKT 305, senior standing

Required Texts

Collins, J.C. & Porras, J.I. (1994). Built to last. New York : Harper Business.

Porter, M.E. (1980). Competitive strategy: Techniques for analyzing industries and competitors. New York: Free Press.

Course Policies

a) Grading Components and Determination

Exam I


Exam II


Exam III








 Exams.  A combination of short answer, essay, and problems.  Some choice.  Bring blue books.

Assignments.  Four written assignments submitted in memo format.  Will be based on cases and readings from the texts and designed to spur in class discussion.  Work in groups of at least three.   

Project.  Industry analysis.  Select industry from list provided in class.  You will submit a written report as well as deliver a 20 minute presentation in class.  Grade will be divided 60/40 between the written and oral portions of the project.  Work in groups of at least five. 

Professionalism.  This portion of your grade is my assessment of your engagement in class.  It is termed 'professionalism' since it is meant to evaluate mannerisms that you should exhibit as an effective manager.  Since this is a senior-level class, you will be judged more critically in this category. 

Extra Credit.  Will be available as term unfolds. 

b) Attendance

Attendance will not be formally taken.  However, your attendance and participation will impact your professionalism mark.  Moreover, due to the nature of our class discussions, you WILL struggle if you miss a lot of class.

c) Student Rights and Responsibilities

Maintenance of academic standards and integrity includes the obligation not to cheat or plagiarize.  A student who uses a dishonest or deceitful means to obtain a grade is guilty of cheating; a student who submits another’s work as one’s own without adequate attribution is guilty of plagiarism.  Identical work will earn a grade of zero.

Students are fully responsible for learning the course content and material disseminated in the class.  Absences do not release you from this responsibility.  Please see the NKU Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities at

For cheaters, I will enforce school policies to the fullest extent possible.

d) Syllabus Changes and Current Information: Class Website

Dates and assignments documented in this syllabus are subject to change at my discretion, meaning that this paper version of the syllabus will become outdated as the term progresses.  While I’ll try to announce significant changes to our syllabus during class meetings, the electronic version of the syllabus posted on the class website will be constantly updated and provides a definitive reference.  Indeed, our class website is your best source for current course information.  Refer to it often…

e) End of Semester Online Course Evaluations

Northern Kentucky University takes Instructor and Course evaluations seriously.  It is a responsibility of NKU students as citizens of the University to participate in the instructor and course evaluation process.  During the two weeks prior to the end of each semester, you will be asked to reflect upon what you have learned in this course, the extent to which you have invested the necessary effort to maximize your learning, and the role your instructor has played in the learning process.  It is important that you complete the online evaluations with thoughtfully written comments. 

Students who complete an evaluation for a particular course (or opt out of doing so in the evaluation) will be rewarded for their participation by having access to their course grade as soon as that grade is submitted by the instructor.  Students who do not complete the course evaluation (or opt out of doing so in the evaluation) should expect to incur a two week delay in access to their grades beyond the university’s official date for grade availability. 

To complete online evaluations go to  Click “Student Login” and use your username and password as used on campus

f) Guiding Policies/Principles

·         You are training to be effective managers.  Be responsible for your development.

·         Manage conflicts and deadlines like the workplace.  Plan and notify ahead.  Avoid surprises.

·         No exceptions to class policies or deadlines unless obtained from me in writing.

·         No grades given over phone or email. 

·         No operation of electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, laptops) during class.

·         No assignments accepted via email unless we have made arrangements in writing in advance.

·         All written work greater than one page must be stapled (not clipped, folded, etc).

·         Hardcopies of work are due in class on the due date.  No late work will be accepted (this includes excuses due to ‘lab printer problems’).  Give yourself time to deal with unforeseen problems.

Tentative Schedule

Date Topic Chapters, Related Readings, Useful Links Things Due
5/29 Defining strategy; History of strategy




The Secret of Enduring Greatness

MGT490 Links Resources 

Syllabus pdf

5/31 Strategy & the org chart; Strategic process


CS Intro

Demystifying Strategy: The What, Who, How, and Why

The Short Life of a Chief Marketing Officer - tenure comparison

M3 Money Supply

Consumer Debt

Current Events EC

6/5 Defining industries

CS 1,2,3,4,8

The Stealth Oil Giant - slideshow

Bottled Water Backlash

List of Industry Resources

Semantics of Inflation

Exit EC

6/7 Five Forces model

CS 1,2,3,8

A Glove Story

Chevron's CEO: The Price of Oil

Why US Telecom is Losing Juice

Bon Voyage, Cheap Flights

Project Background

Porter 5 forces video

A1 A New Process

EC Concentration & Rivalry


Industry life cycle CS 8

Markets & Bureaucracies

The Road to Wimax

That Computer is So You - slideshow

6/14 Exam I


6/19 Strategic groups and positioning


CS 7

How the Mighty Fall

Exxon's Exodus

CGW Industry Analysis 

Industry Analysis EC1

6/21 Classifying strategy CS Intro, 2,5

Upwardly Mobile Stationery

How Target Does It

A2 Built to Last

E1 Exam Problems

6/26 Risk & leverage; Grand strategies


CS 2,14,15,16

A Cautionary Tale for Airline Mergers

Inside Honda's Brain

Wall Street's Three Tragic Flaws

Can Anyone Run Citigroup?

Exxon's Exodus

Can Chrysler Survive?

J&J: Secrets of Success

Personal Balance Sheets

Industry Analysis EC2
6/28 Commitment & flexibility; Strategic success factors


CS 2; BTL 2,3,4

Survival of the Biggest

How the Bubble Bursts; Weathering the Storm

Marriott's Wake Up Call

Sony: Lost in Transformation

'The Consumer is Boss'

Project draft with feedback


7/3 Exam II


Strategic plans

BTL 5,6,8

Cisco's Display of Strength

Risk Returns With a Vengeance

A Brief History of Fear

Innovation at P&G video

A3 Benchmarking Excellence 
7/10 Strategic control


BTL 5,7,9,11

Regulation and Economic Hardship

What Makes Apple Golden

How Toyota Lost Its Way

Meet the CEO of the Biggest Company on Earth 

Executing with strategic speed video

Buffettology EC

Visionary Organizations EC


7/12 Industry analysis reports and presentations


  Projects Due
7/17 Strategic decision making; Global strategy CS 13,14,15,16

China's Mobile Maestro

Multinationals: Are They Good for America?

Fear of a Black Swan

China's New Challenges (slide show)

Overconfidence and decision making

A4 Balanced Scorecard

Last day for revised assignments


7/19 Exam III BW issue search

Campus Exam Schedule

MGT 490 Wall 



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