- Your answers should reflect the work of a graduate student. You should thoroughly respond to each question, demonstrating the knowledge you have gained throughout the course. Responses should maintain a professional tone, contain appropriate use of business vocabulary, and avoid grammatical or spelling
- Appropriate use of paragraphs for clarity within each answer is
- Answers to each case must have AT LEAST 2 credible outside sources. The articles supplied in your exam are the cases themselves and will not count as one of your sources. Credible sources can be found in trusted journals or periodicals such as Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, etc. (NOT Wikipedia, blogs, ).
- Research should be used to support your points, but the majority of your response should be made up of your own knowledge and analysis, not cited
- Quoting or paraphrasing material from other sources (websites, books, articles, essays, journals, etc.) without properly referencing them is considered plagiarism. Deriving or obtaining material from any paid services is also considered plagiarism. Information directly quoted must be noted with quotation marks (or indented if five or more lines). All sources must be cited, whether they are paraphrased, used in part, or directly
- There must be a bibliography at the end of EACH case (on a separate page following the response to the case) specifying references used for THAT
- Responses to each case should be neatly presented: typed, double-spaced, 12-point font size, with standard Microsoft Word
- Answers to each question should be presented separately. You may copy and paste each individually numbered question and write your answer beneath each question. A typical case response that includes the written questions, thorough answers, and a bibliography would be several pages
- All sources should be cited using Chicago style. References to sources should be made using footnotes, and the bibliography page for each case should follow Chicago style rules. For more information, please use https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/01/ and the Chicago example provided with the Exam as resources.
Tips for Success
- Read all informational materials, including General Information, Guidelines for Answering Cases 2 and 3, and accompanying PowerPoint.
- Save your document as a PDF file. Word documents (.doc or .docx) are also acceptable, but they can sometimes lose some of their formatting when opened on a different computer with a different version of Word. A PDF will maintain all
- A cover page including your name and a title such as “MBA Comprehensive Exam” is recommended.
- As you work on your Exam, save your progress on Dropbox, Google Drive, by emailing the document to yourself, etc. That way, if something happens to your computer/flash drive, you will always be able to access your work
- Submit your completed exam a few days early. Then, if there is a problem with your document, or if your email does not go through, you will still have time to correct the issue by the deadline. If you do not receive a response to your submission within 24 hours (excepting weekends), send a follow-up email to confirm that your exam was received.
Case 1: Quantitative Analysis
Stop N Save neighborhood market based in Seneca Falls, South Carolina strives to meet the grocery needs of the local residents and is committed to providing quality products at competitive prices with friendly customer service. Steve Harris, CEO of Stop N Save wants to implement new strategies to accomplish that. However, the strategies have different profits, due to personnel and cost requirements along with uncertain economy. The quarterly profit pay-off table is given below.
STATES OF NATURE
|Decision Alternatives||Good Economy||Fair Economy||Poor Economy|
- If nothing is known about the demand probabilities,
- Using Conservative Approach, specify the best decision
- Using the Minimax Regret Approach, create an Opportunity Loss/ Regret Table and specify the best decision
- Suppose the probabilities for Good, Fair, and Poor Economy are 30%, 40%, and 30% respectively,
- Construct a Decision Tree (using MS Word/MS Excel Drawing Tool OR if you are drawing it by hand, do it neatly). Solve it using Expected Value Approach. What is the recommended decision alternative?
- Calculate the Expected Value of the Perfect Information (EVPI)?
Case 2: Strategic Management
Online Retail Provider Shopify Adds Fulfillment Service
- What exactly is Shopify trying to accomplish? Explain their business model and market segment.
- Should Amazon feel threatened? Why or why not?
Online Retail Provider Shopify Adds Fulfillment Service
E-commerce specialist’s move into physical services is aimed at helping sellers compete with Amazon’s expanding logistics and distribution capabilities
Smith, Jennifer. Wall Street Journal (Online) New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]19 June 2019.
E-commerce technology company Shopify Inc. is extending into physical distribution, offering customers access to a network of dedicated U.S. fulfillment centers to store and ship consumer goods for online orders.
The aim is to speed up delivery for retailers racing to keep up with Amazon.com Inc. while keeping a lid on transport costs by placing inventory across a distributed network within easy reach of major population centers.
Ottawa-based Shopify provides internet shopping platforms and other services that help companies sell items online. It has also branched into payment technology and hardware for use at retail stores and pop-up locations as more online businesses open bricks-and-mortar locations. Its customers include Unilever PLC, Kylie Cosmetics and footwear maker Allbirds Inc.
Shopify said Wednesday that its new service uses machine learning to forecast demand, allocate inventory and route orders to the closest fulfillment centers. The company is working with logistics providers and software companies in Nevada, California, Texas, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Our aim is to make fast and inexpensive shipping the new standard on the internet,” said Shopify Chief Product Officer Craig Miller.
Shopify’s move into warehousing services puts it in competition with companies such as Belgian Post Group-owned Radial, which provides technology and e-commerce services for retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. at 21 fulfillment centers.
The services are part of a growing array of operations that startups and traditional shipping companies have launched to compete with Amazon’s expanding distribution system, including a Fulfillment by Amazon business that ties its online marketplace for third-party sellers to its burgeoning network of distribution centers and transportation options.
FedEx Corp. two years ago started a service called FedEx Fulfillment pitched at small and medium-size companies, and delivery giant United Parcel Service Inc. last year rolled out a warehouse platform, Ware2Go that matches retailers with fulfillment providers. XPO Logistics Inc. launched a flexible distribution service last year that it expects to generate $1 billion in revenue over the next few years.
Among startups, Flexe Inc., a Seattle-based online marketplace that connects warehouse operators with businesses in need of storage, has built a network of more than 1,000 warehouses across North America and customers that include Walmart Inc.
Shopify reported $320.5 million in first-quarter revenue, up by 50% from the prior year, and
$10.3 million in adjusted net profit, compared with $4.2 million for the same period in 2018. The company had an adjusted operating loss of $1.4 million, or 0.4% of revenue, compared with $0.2 million or 0.1% of revenue in the first quarter last year.
Case 3: Management Information Systems Amazon Wants You to Use Alexa to Track Health Care
- Convenience OR privacy nightmare? Is there a balance?
- What about IBM and other technology providers entering the healthcare arena? Do they need to navigate around privacy issues too?
Amazon Wants You to Use Alexa to Track Health Care
Artificial-intelligence assistant meets privacy rules, giving device a potential daily role with patients
Evans, Melanie. Wall Street Journal (Online) New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y] 07 Apr 2019.
New features let Alexa schedule urgent-care appointments, check health-insurance benefits, read blood-sugar results and handle other health-care tasks. PHOTO: STEPHANIE AARONSON/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL; ISTOCK
Amazon.com Inc. is positioning Alexa, its artificial-intelligence assistant, to track consumers’ prescriptions and relay personal health information, in a bid to insert the technology into everyday health care.
Seattle-based Amazon says Alexa can now transfer sensitive, personal health information using software that meets health-privacy requirements under federal law. Five companies, including insurer Cigna Corp., diabetes-management company Livongo Health Inc. and major hospital systems, said they developed new Alexa features for consumers using the federal protocol. The features let Alexa perform tasks such as scheduling urgent-care appointments, tracking when drugs are shipped, checking health-insurance benefits or reading blood-sugar results.
For developers of digital health services, the move is an avenue to expand the use of voice commands. Smart speakers have proliferated rapidly since their 2014 introduction, with one in five adults reporting they owned at least one in a 2018 national survey by Edison Research and NPR.
But voice technology has been slow to take hold in health care because of patient-privacy concerns. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, requires that health-care companies and their contractors, like Alexa, take steps to keep patient
information confidential, ensure it can be accessed when needed and prevent tampering. HIPAA violations can expose health-care companies to penalties and criminal charges.
Consumers have been measured in their willingness to use Alexa for all but basic tasks, raising questions about whether the new features will be used widely. Alexa, too, has stumbled publicly on privacy. Last year, it recorded and shared a private conversation after miscues.
With the new health-care features, Amazon will be able to further expand Alexa’s offerings as it battles technology giants with competing voice assistants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google Assistant and Apple Inc.’s Siri. Amazon’s smart-speaker market share fell to about 40% last year from 59% the previous year, according to technology-focused venture-capital firm Loup Ventures.
A spokeswoman for Google said the company’s developers aren’t allowed to create features that transmit information protected under federal privacy law. Apple declined to comment.
Health-care executives said they see promise in voice commands as an easier alternative in some circumstances to typing or tapping a screen.
“We were waiting for this level of privacy and security to be complete because it’s obviously critical,” said Richard Roth, head of strategic innovation for Chicago-based Common Spirit Health, one of the nation’s largest hospital systems. The system, which operates 142 hospitals across 21 states, is developing its own Alexa option for appointment scheduling, he said. It wasn’t among those unveiled last week.
Still, while health-care companies might be ready to connect with consumers via voice, consumers might not be.
New York hospital system Northwell Health launched a service on Alexa roughly two years ago that searches for wait times at local emergency rooms and doesn’t require HIPAA compliance. It isn’t used widely, said Emily Kagan, Northwell’s vice president of digital and innovation strategy. “It’s been tepid,” she said of demand.
That hasn’t dimmed hopes for the use of voice, she said, and younger adults are far more comfortable with the technology than older generations. “Everybody feels like it is going to be really game-changing,” she said. “We’re all still experimenting.”
Alexa made headlines last year after mistakenly recording a private conversation and sending it to someone else on a user’s contact list. The device picked up sounds it believed to be commands, but weren’t.
Amazon recommends that its Alexa health-care features verify the identity of the speaker, either with a voice code or by requiring users to log in with passwords for existing health-care accounts. Developers of new features caution users in a disclaimer that their information “may be available to anyone using your Alexa devices.”
Developers of Alexa’s new health features include Livongo, Cigna and its pharmacy-benefit manager Express Scripts, Providence St. Joseph Health and Boston Children’s Hospital. Each requires users to verify their identity to initiate the feature, according to Alexa product web pages and some of the companies. Atrium Health’s Alexa urgent-care scheduling feature does not.
Livongo worked to avoid possible confusion that might occur when diabetic customers ask Alexa for blood-sugar readings, said the company’s chief product officer, Amar Kendale. Users must state both words—”blood” and “sugar”—for a response, to prevent any potential mix-up caused by using the word “sugar” alone.
Parents of heart-surgery patients treated by Boston Children’s Hospital can use the hospital’s new Alexa feature to report whether their children are experiencing pain or diminished appetite after surgery. The new feature will also offer appointment reminders.
“Voice is natural,” said John Brownstein, the hospital’s chief innovation officer. Users don’t need to download apps or review tutorials to use speakers, he said.
Amazon and health-care providers will also collect some data to improve voice recognition and track how consumers use the services. Developers of new Alexa services said such data would be valuable as they push to expand the use of voice in health care. Data will be stripped of identifying information before being shared and studied, some of the companies said.
The Alexa feature offered by Providence St. Joseph allows consumers to book and cancel appointments at most of its express clinics in Washington state.
The hospital system based in Renton, Wash., developed its feature by asking users to test it and studying their reactions to Alexa’s replies, said Aaron Martin, the company’s executive vice president and chief digital officer. User data will help further refine the technology, he said. “We’re training it and it’s training us,” Mr. Martin said.