11 February 2015
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Dear Professor Ledesma: 

This week’s feature presents the most popular and most frequently taught cases published within the past five years. Log in to Darden Business Publishing online to download the teaching notes and review copies and decide if any of these cases are a good fit for your course.

Please also take a moment to provide feedback about your experience with the Darden Business Publishing website—and tell us how we might improve your user experience in 2015—by participating in this brief survey. Thank you for your continued interest in Darden course materials.

orange_arrow“Marketing and Ethics” by R. Edward Freeman, Jacki Fritz, and Jenny Mead  
Marketing tactics such as “The Four Ps” help business owners create a need for their products or services. What managers seldom realize, however, is that the marketing decisions they make primarily to increase sales and market share have a great impact on society at large and thus have significant ethical implications. These seven caselets, which cover a variety of topics (including “the article of the half-truth,” “creative interview tactics,” and “truthfully representing your company”), explore the ethical implications of decision making in the marketing arena.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“H. J. Heinz: Estimating the Cost of Capital in Uncertain Times” by Marc Lipson
Given recent changes in market conditions and ongoing market uncertainty, an internal financial analyst at Heinz must estimate the company’s weighted average cost of capital (WACC). Data for both Heinz and comparable firms are provided. The case provides opportunities for students to learn or practice a WACC calculation while exploring the economic meaning of inputs to the calculation.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“Starbucks Corporation (A)” by Edward Hess and Cassy Eriksson  
The issue in this case is whether it is realistic for Starbucks to continue to be a high-growth company. Questions raised are whether all growth is good; whether bigger is always better; whether businesses must “grow or die”; and under what circumstances does too aggressive a growth strategy destroy value? In trying to remain a high-growth company, Starbucks has opened some stores in subprime locations, resulting in dilution of its customer value proposition and poor performance. One of the founders steps in as CEO to “fix” Starbucks, and students can follow the measures he took to get the company back on track.

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orange_arrow“Developing Financial Insights: Using a Future Value (FV) and a Present Value (PV) Approach” by Mark E. Haskins 
This case provides a tutorial on the basic concepts associated with straightforward time-value-of-money scenarios. The topics of future value (FV) and present value (PV) are discussed and exemplified for both lump sum and recurring cash flow situations. In this vein, the derivation and use of four useful time-value-of-money reference tables is presented to highlight the underlying logic, connections, and mechanics of determining FVs and PVs. The case also provides students with several simple vignettes in which they can apply the foregoing time-value-of-money insights and techniques.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“The Euro Zone and the Sovereign Debt Crisis” by Yiorgos Allayannis and Adam Risell  
In January 2011, during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Jason Sterling, a hedge fund manager, was conducting online research to see if he could trade on any newsworthy information emerging from the summit. Sterling’s fund traded primarily in sovereign debt, and he needed to figure out if European leaders would be able to come up with a viable solution to the crisis or whether the debt crisis would lead to the default of several European nations. He knew that if a solution was not found in the coming weeks, the sovereign debt markets could be thrown into turmoil.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“Red Bull (Abridged)” by Paul Farris, Ervin Shames, Richard Johnson, and Mitchell Jordan   
This case (an abridged version of UVA-M-0663) describes the history of the Red Bull brand and how the company stimulated and harnessed word of mouth to build a new product category (functional energy drinks) and brand franchise. The case concludes by asking the reader to consider where Red Bull will take its brand, product line, and marketing next, in light of many competitive challenges in the United States. The case was written to foster discussion of nontraditional brand-building strategies and the growing globalization of brands and products targeted toward younger consumers.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“Best Buy: Investing in Language Learning” by Kenneth Eades, Keith Dickey, Jordhy Ledesma, Jennifer Frazier, Duane Sider, and Melissa Johnson
After observing customer interactions in a Best Buy in Dallas, the regional HR manager considers training sales representatives in a second language. Considering that the store’s regional customer base ranges between 13% and 30% Latino, she believes it may be a prudent option and immediately thinks of Rosetta Stone software as a cost-effective approach. Yet she still must translate her instincts into a quantifiable, tangible return on investment, particularly under demanding economic conditions.

Download Review Copy »

orange_arrow“Shenzhen Filtroil: Finding Balance” by Lynn Isabella and Gerry Yemen
Jeremy Leahman, president of Filtroil, Inc., and Albert Randolph, founder of the firm, had partnered with a supplier in China to ramp up the manufacture of their filtration system and start a new zinc alloy venture. They opened a new factory that was a merger between Shenzhen Filtroil and their supplier, Liu Li--whose own factory was on the verge of bankruptcy. One year later, Leahman was on a plane headed for China to hash out problems with Liu, who had begun making excessive demands and threatening to delay product shipment to the United States if his conditions were left unmet. The case reveals options Leahman could take to manage the situation. The material can be used to exemplify the challenges of changing a U.S.-based company into a global competitor.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“Ratios Tell a Story—2011” by Mark E. Haskins
Financial results and conditions vary among companies for a number of reasons. The differences in industry characteristics, company policies, management performance, and responsiveness to the macroeconomic environment are reflected in the financial statements published by publicly held companies and can be highlighted through the use of financial ratios. Financial ratios and common-size balance sheets for 13 “mystery” companies are provided. Students then match each mystery company’s data to one of the industries provided.

Download Teaching Note »

orange_arrow“Cisco Switches in China: The Year of the Manager” by Lynn Isabella and Gerry Yemen
Jan Gronski, managing director of the Cisco China Research and Development Center, and Ivo Raznjevic, engineering director, set out to establish a new R&D facility in Shanghai, China. This case focuses on the building of a culture through human-resource practices while describing such steps as securing an appropriate building, assembling a work force, seeking appropriate projects, developing managers, building teams, evaluating performance, protecting intellectual property, and managing growth. The case presents several specific challenges that arise regarding talent management. This material highlights organizational culture and offers an opportunity for students to learn to recognize and manage difference.

Download Review Copy »

orange_arrowCurrent Darden Course Syllabi
Browse 22 current case-based courses offered at the Darden School as a starting point for updating the content in your curriculum. Click on the PDF icon next to any of the course titles to download an electronic copy of the course.

We have also added a new section of case teaching and case writing resources at the bottom of the Educator Resources page. Please feel free to share these complimentary teaching resources with your colleagues.  

View Courses »

You are invited to join our LinkedIn group and Facebook page so you can add your input to the current discussion about which cases work best in various courses. Follow us on Twitter to stay informed of new product releases. Finally, you are invited to contact Sales Manager Sally Hurley to schedule a case resource consultation (hurleys@darden.virginia.edu).

Darden Course Syllabi

The Darden School of Business is regularly recognized as having one of the world’s premier teaching faculties within business education, and Darden’s programs are recognized as world class. Darden Business Publishing is pleased to provide current Darden course syllabi to verified faculty members. They provide instructors with context as to how cases used in a particular sequence achieve the learning outcomes of the teaching teams at the Darden School. Use the modules in these course syllabi as a reference for updating the case materials within your school’s programs. For a personal course consultation, contact Sally Hurley at hurleys@darden.virginia.edu or directly by phone at +1 (434) 982-2391.

Visit the Educator Resources page often as we continue to publish new courses in your area of interest and post Darden course revisions.

Educator Resources »

+1 (434) 924-3001   |    Toll Free: (800) 246-3367   |    Fax: +1 (434) 924-4859   |    sales@dardenbusinesspublishing.com

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