Expectations for a Good Case Write-Up
The purpose of this case analysis is to present you with a typical scenario you will
encounter in business at some point in your early career and to let you apply the concepts
you’ve learned in class and/or from the book to analyze the issues facing a specific
company (or person). For a good case analysis, you must closely examine the issues with
which the company is confronted. A case analysis is not an essay or a report:
Case = A statement of facts and reasons (figures, charts and graphs as well as data)
used to support an argument.
Analysis = A careful and methodical investigation of the component parts of a
whole and their relationships in making up the whole. Requires critical thinking.
You will probably need to read the case several times – once to grasp the overall picture
of what is happening with the company and then several more times to discover and grasp
the specific problem(s) that need to be addressed.
A Business Case Analysis must address the business issues presented and focus on driving
Profitable Revenue Growth (P/R/G). This would suggest the requirement for Quantified
Benefits that directly support P/R/G be included as appropriate. Executives rely on Facts
to make good decisions about business issues.
Generally, “textbook driven” cases provide clear hints as to what to consider – typically
in the form of questions to be answered. The questions may also provide the high-level
background that offers both the direction your answer should take and potential sources
of additional information. However, in the business environment, questions posed by a
senior manager may be less clear and will require you to comprehend additional
interrelated issues – i.e. you must apply a significant degree of research and critical
thinking to explore soluions and articulate alternatives.
Finding and Using Good References
Not every reference is a good one. The CRAP Test is a way to evaluate a source based on
the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View. Below
are some questions to help you think about how to measure each of the criteria.
• How recent is the information?
• How recently has the website been updated?
• Is it current enough for your topic?
• What kind of information is included in the resource?
• Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is it balanced? Is supported by well
• Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
• Who is the creator or author?
• What are their credentials?
• Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?
• What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
• Are there advertisements on the website? What kind?
Purpose/Point of View
• Is this fact or opinion?
• Is it biased?
• Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?
Five Key Sections
An effective case analysis paper (in most business instances) will have five key sections:
1. Executive Summary: Four to five sentences on the cover page summarizing your
analysis. An Executive Summary’s main goal is to provide a condensed version of
the content of a longer report. It is not a summary of the table of contents or what
you are going to cover in your case. [Do not write: “I will cover….”, “This report
will cover….” Or “This report will analyze….” or anything similar – This is
obvious because you better cover the requirements.] [Do not write that your
analysis will be “through”, “exhaustive”, “in-depth” or anything similar. Let your
reader decide.] Executive summaries generally make a recommendation. Do not
just copy your Introduction or Summary.
2. Introduction/Thesis: Your paper should start by identifying relevant information
that provides context to the issue(s) to be addressed in the case. The case or articles
referenced may contain some important background information that should be
summarized in this section. The questions asked by the case (or your manager) will
also provide you with hints as to what to include in this section. The length should
be one to two paragraphs. Avoid the obvious. (Both you and your reader work for
the company so they know the history and the people.)
3. The Analysis: This is a where you answer the case questions. Analyze the questions
carefully. Condense each question into a 4 or 5 word statement at the beginning of
each answer section and use as the header for that section – bold, and left justify
with one line space above and below. (Do not use “The Questions” as a header and
do not number them.)
For each question write a short paragraph to set-up the background for the question.
Again, avoid the obvious. Then answer the question in as many as paragraphs or
sub-headers as required. Summarize the answer in a final paragraph. Consider
illustrations, graphs and/or tables to increase readability and to emphasize your
answers/conclusions. Make sure you have relevant, cited facts and quantified
benefits to support your thesis. Do this for each question/section.
Here is where you will need to do some Internet and print research to support your
answers. You may want to compare and contrast other companies/people/subject
matter experts in similar situations and how they solved/addressed the issues posed
by the question.
There may be some additional information that would add depth and completeness
to your analysis. Use the following technique: Ask “who, what, when, where, why,
how” about the case questions. Ex: Why is the question important? What are the
elements of the question that are important? What other company may have been
faced with the same issue? How have other companies or more importantly, other
competitors solved the issue? How might I use what I learned in class, in my job or
in my reading/research to answer the case question?
Remember, the purpose of this case study assignment is to let you apply the
concepts you have learned in school and/or work and have researched to a “real life”
4. The Summary/Conclusion: The Conclusion is your chance to have the last word
on the subject. It is your final paragraph to draw some type of conclusion about
what you learned from the analysis. A conclusion should help your readers see why
your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.
It is the place to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your
ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your
opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note. You
should make a relevant observation. Maybe you learned some interesting fact from
the research you did for the case. However, please do not use the phrase “I
learned….” anywhere in this paragraph.
5. Endnotes: All information and ideas presented in your paper that do not originate
with you personally should be endnoted carefully. The idea of endnoting is so a
reader of your work should be able to easily go back to your original source if
desired. If you do not know what an endnote is, Google it. Business writing does
not use MLA or APA, business writing uses Chicago Manual of Style (often simply
written Chicago Style or CMS) endnotes. This also means that there is no biography
– The citations are the biography.
Remember who you are writing this for. I will deduct points if you do not use a business
Avoid personal pronouns (I, you, me, etc.), the words “I think” and “I believe”, slang,
fluffy/superlative adjectives (huge, big, most, awesome, etc.), words or phrases that tell
your reader what or how to think or feel (“as you can clearly see”, “obviously”,
unfortunately, luckily etc.), contractions and the word “etc.” or “and so on”. [Yes, I know
I use it from time to time.] If you see that you are using superlatives, go find some relevant
supporting data (numbers, percents, etc.)
Do not come across as a patronizing boor – avoid words and phrases that might make you
sound insincere, such as “as you can see”, “honestly,” “certainly,” “obviously” and
Avoid analogies particularly sports analogies. Avoid slang or dated pop culture
catchphrases. Eliminate non-motivating phrases and language. Keep your writing short
and trim – big words, flowery or verbose language will not help your argument.
Avoid all discriminatory phrases, references and/or language – implied or direct.
For more information on using “Business Voice” go here:
See “100W Writing Competency Model” on Canvas for more information.
Papers must meet the following guidelines (remember you are writing for your “boss”):
• Length: 10 or so single-spaced pages plus a cover page and an endnote page is a
fairly average minimum. (Great papers will be 15 to 20 pages.)
• Executive Summary: On cover page. In this case, limit to four to five sentences
summarizing your analysis.
• Citations: At the end of the paper as Endnotes starting on separate page – use
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Do not use in-text MLA or APA citations. And,
do not use a bibliography or references page – Endnotes are the
• Pictures, graphs, and charts: Readable but reasonable in size. Follow the 1/3 –
2/3 Rule. (See the following for an example)
• Analysis Sections: Restate the question in 4 or 5 words and use as the section
header (in bold print). Do not start with or use “Question #1” or anything remotely
similar. Avoid ‘Section’ numbering and Table of Contents – the paper is not long
enough to justify their use.
• Look and feel: (See the following examples)
• Single spaced Times New Roman 12 point font (Never double space in business
• Block justified with 1” margins (top, bottom, and sides)
• Illustrations: Format as ‘Text Wrapping Square’ and place to the left or to the
right (preferred) of the text – never in the center. Use the 1/3 – 2/3 Rule and
watch your margins.
• Cover page: (See the following examples
• Case Title (Times New Roman 16pt font)
• Executive Summary (Times New Roman 12pt font, block justified)
• Your Name and Contact Information (Times New Roman 12pt font)
• Avoid illustrations (Keep it simple, neat and clean)
Expectations for a Good Case Write-Up