Past Cases

2012 Pricewaterhouse Coopers

The case sponsor was Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Entertainment and Technology Practive.  Students were asked to develop a strategy and a business case with recommendations for the Media and Entertainment industry so they could foster their continued profitability amidst continued threats from increasingly diverse distribution technologies. Students geared their solutions to the chief executive of a major studio who was responsible for Theatrical, TV, and Home Entertainment divisions.

2011 HP

The 2011 case focused on HP and the highly competitive IT industry. If HP aims to become a vertically integrated, full-service provider with expanded offerings in software, networking and mobility several facets of their “people strategy” have to be considered. Students provided recommendations to HP’s HR team to develop a plan to support the business managers as they implement a new corporate strategy. Students focused on HP ensures that all employees feel connected and integrated with HP’s brand and culture while driving improved productivity?   The also analyzed how HP’s People Strategy could become a critical enabler of HP’s business strategy.


2010 Pixar and The Walt Disney Company

The case study for the 2010 USC Marshall International Case Competition tells the story of the Walt Disney Company’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar Inc. (using a 2006 Harvard Business Review case as background).  President and CEO Bob Iger knew that a deal with Pixar was possible; it was just a question of what that deal would look like.  Did it make sense for Disney to simply buy Pixar?  The framing question for students had them analyze this acquisition five years after it occurred.  Students focused on the following themes:  Given the increased use of computer generated technology in the last 5 years by competitors and looking forward to 2020 does Disney’s 2006 investment in Pixar provide a platform for Disney’s continued leadership?  Have the economics of the movie industry changed?  Would there be any benefit to Disney in combining the two animation units at Disney given their different cultures?  What future partnerships or acquisitions would expand upon the Disney/Pixar base?


2009 Nestle USA

The 2009 case asked students to develop a vision, strategy and tactics to grow Nestle’s nutrition, health and wellness presence in the confections space using existing Nestle USA brands. Nestle USA, a subsidiary of Nestlé S.A., covers every craving on the other-side-of-the-Atlantic, from a child’s sweet tooth to a grown-up’s caffeine fix to Fido’s appetite. Students needed develop specific recommendations on:

1)      Product Innovation Platforms including game changing innovation, renovation and line extensions,
2)      Re-Positioning and Consumer communication,
3)      Trade/Merchandising strategy.

While global brands could be part of the strategy the recommendations had to emphasize Nestlé USA brands for both confections and non-confections products.

(As a courtesy to the case sponsor, the case could not be released to the public.)

2008 The Los Angeles Times

The 2008 case asked students to develop a strategy for The Los Angeles Times in response to advancements in technology. In 2000 the Times Mirror Corporation (includes the Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers in Miami Florida, Hartford Connecticut, and New York) was acquired by the Tribune Company of Chicago. On a global level, the role of print media as a source of news is declining for several reasons: changing economic conditions, the increasing number of choices now available in how we access news and information with the availability through the Internet, cable television, radio, podcasts, blogs, etc. These factors are global in their reach. With today’s technology an individual can access news and other information from almost any corner of the planet. We need to distinguish content from the delivery of that content. Is new technology a complement or a substitute for the traditional print media? Therefore, while the case presents the difficulties arising with the acquisition of the Times Mirror (and the Los Angeles Times) in Los Angeles, the issue is much broader than Los Angeles. How can print journalism–in any country–succeed in the new high technology environment?
LA Times Case Materials

2007 Target Competition

The 2007 case asked students to develop an international entry strategy for Target, Corporation.  Target Corporation (Target) is a US based company, focused on general merchandise retailing. Under the leadership of CEO Robert Ulrich Target has become the number two retailer in the US (after Wal-Mart) through a differentiated strategy of private label and national brands that appeal to middle-income households. While Target has consistently grown its market share one of its weaknesses is deriving all of its revenue from the US market. The company does not operate in any other geographical region. In contrast, competitors such as Wal-Mart have global operations, which provide them with a better revenue profile and economies of scale in purchasing. A geographic concentration of revenues makes Target vulnerable to worsening market conditions in the US, and makes the company uncompetitive compared to global retailers such as Wal-Mart. With more than 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the US one must ask the question: What would the Target Corporation need to do to expand its operations into the global marketplace.

Target Case Materials

2006 Jets International

The 2006 case asked students to evaluate a prime-mover in an up-and-coming industry, and to make recommendations on how to expand its operations, as well as remain the leader in its field.  The global airline industry was in a downturn prior to September 11, 2001 due to many factors, including significant reductions in travel by business and first class passengers.  After September 11, air traveler concerns about safety, corporate drives to reduce costs, and an increase in the hassle of air travel all worked to significantly reduce the number of passengers using air transportation.  Current forecasts suggest a smaller number of international airline operators will increase their focus on global markets.   New competitors entering the domestic or short-haul airline industry are using less expensive, more efficient aircraft to provide more responsive, hassle free travel at an affordable price to travelers.  By using e-business technology, Jets International has created value in a declining market by matching aircraft owners with individual travelers seeking hassle free travel at a reasonable price.  Jets International differentiates itself through attention to safety, quality of the flight experience, and convenience.
Jets International Case Materials


2005 Amgen, Immunex

The 2005 case focused on one of the leaders in the world-wide bio-tech / pharmaceutical industries.  In 2002 Amgen (AMGN) acquired Immunex – the fourth largest biotech company at the time.  Today, the combined organization continues to grow at 17% a year in new jobs across 10 sites.  Fortune magazine recently included Amgen among the 100 Best Companies to Work For citing their recruitment of minorities (26%) and women (46%) plus a generous 401(k) plan. The 2005 case placed the competitors in  the shoes of Amgen management working to ensure the success of this merger in 2002. Teams were asked to propose what type of merger would work best, and how would you accomplish this. Sounds simple, right? Read the case and determine for your self.

Immunex Case Materials