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Business Plan Proposals for Inner-City Neighborhoods: A Strategic Management Assignment for MBA Students at Loyola

Business Plan Proposals for Inner-City Neighborhoods: A Strategic Management Assignment for MBA Students at Loyola University Chicago Author(s): Jill W. Graham Source: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Jan., 1996), pp. 87-94 Published by: Springer

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Business

Plan

Neighborhoods:

Management

Proposals

for

Inner-City

A

Strategic for MBA

Assignment

Students

at Loyola

University

Chicago

Jill W. Graham

ABSTRACT.

enrolled

at Loyola

course

original

good

or

Beginning in a capstone University

assignment,

business

service,

plan

aswell

in

1992,

MBA

Management

Management

have,

and

as

students

course

Strategic

Chicago

researched

proposal

their major

prepared

an

a needed

to provide

as employment

opportunities,

to

city

residents

in one

of Chicago's

This

it works,

paper

underserved

describes

inner

neighborhoods.

the project,

been

how

the genesis

the outcomes

is arguably

near

any

area

of

have

appropriate for MBA

that is economically underdeveloped,

and what

in

to date. The

pedagogical

programs

model

or

be

application

it urban

of

or

the

technical

technical skills
technical skills

skills

are

a

vital

part

of

institutions.

social

This

a

dimension

educational

Jesuit

excellence

for

rural.

Introduction

Opportunities

theoretical

acquired

professional

action

at

in

for

knowledge

practical

classroom

can

and

the

education

at many

have

orientation

universities

of

that

pursuing

share

the

educational

philosophy

the

purpose

of

enabling

and

inspiring

students

to

Jill

W.

Graham

isAssociate

Professor

ofManagement

Loyola

capstone

MBA

University

strategy

students. Her

Chicago,

to

where

both

she

teaches

course

undergraduates research concerns various forms

at

the

and

of

virtue in organizational life, including principled dissent,

organizational citizenship behavior, activist loyalty,

servant leadership, and value-driven

strategic manage

ment.

Graham

received

behavior from

Northwestern

taught

joining

at

the University

the Loyola faculty

her

Ph.D.

in

organization

University

of British

in 1986.

in

Columbia

1983,

and

before

Journal

of Business Ethics

? 1996 Kluwer Academic

15: 87-94,

Publishers.

1996.

Printed

in theNetherlands.

serve

1993).

good

Graduates

purposes

of

aged

to

be

"persons

would

move

society

iment

(Harvanek,

of

the

virtues

1988,

p.

such

for

to

(Hassel,

1983;

institutions

are

Service,

encour

others,

the

.

.

. leaders

concrete

and

that

be

of

embod

charity"

justice

11).

For

students

of

capstone

course

in

strategic

especially

appropriate

time

a.wide

range

of

business

socially

beneficial

purposes.

typically

occurs

just

experience

of

using

business

business,

the

integrative

is

try

skills

an

out

for

management

and

place

to

and

knowledge

before

Because

the

graduation,

graduation,

course

the

education

for

good

ends

ation

is more

life

likely

to

carry

over

to post-gradu

experience

This

a

in

than

a pre-professional

of

the

degree

assignment

at

article

the beginning

describes

Strategic

curriculum

an

program.

employed

course

University

for

the

business

in

hard

work;

social

of

capstone

the

MBA

a

Management

at Loyola

in Chicago,

Jesuit

institution.

Context

and

rationale

Running

a

successful

environment

is always

way

that

serves

assignment

a

competitive

doing

goals,

so

as well

in

a

noneconomic

as meeting

increases

however,

minimal

economic

requirements,

the

challenge.

is commensurate

The

nobility

with

the

of

the

scope

only

effort,

of

the

ideals

that motivate

it.

Exposing

business

value-driven

 

strategic

can make

more

how

to

devote

their

 

of

important

part

students

to

a wide

so

and

range

that

of

they

and

an

If

alternatives,

choices

informed

of where

talents,

is

process.

energies

the

educational

88 Jill W. Graham

instructors

provide

students

readings

mization

and

to

cases,

which

be

the

sole

only

with

assume

purpose

traditional

t r a d i t i o n a l

profit

maxi

of

business

enterprise,

that

those

students

examples

are

are

encouraged

not

only

to

normal

statistical

approach

sense)

but

risks

risks n a r r o w i n g

narrowing

also

the

normative.

range

of

assume

(in

That

alterna

tives

students

are

likely

to

consider

for

their

own

a

life

ening

choices,

it. And

rather

given

than

widening

that most

and

(if not

enlight

of

all)

the

MBA

coursework

the

students

course

have

is likely

taking

"normal",

to

capstone

it

is especially

useful

to

some

unconventional

possibilities

had

prior

to

to have

expose

been

them

just

before

they

The

in my

traditional

sampling

leave

the

university.

of

selection

Strategic

readings

of

age"

and

and

field,

cases

assigned

includes

Management

the

course

as

classics

"new

of General

well

as

&

of

project

management

Electric

and

examples

IBM,

of

In addition,

has

been

the

literature1;

as well

case studies

as Ben

entrepreneurial

course

Jerry's

inner-city

the major

develop

businesses.

since

1992

a

ment

both

tunities

The

and

to

for

project

proposal

serve

and

of

a

detailed

business

plan

provide

employment

oppor

provide

a Chicago

assignment

inner-city

neighborhood.

to

is designed

students

edge

so

with

learned

toward

a

the

in

all

opportunity

core

business

to

apply

knowl

areas,

and

to

do

significant,

real-world

strategic

purpose.

Description

 

project

Overview

and

Early

in

the

session

devoted

inner-city

specific

business

liminary

of

the

inner-city

business

timetable for

ten-week

the assignment

quarter,

serve

intent

between

form

a joint

all

students

following

a

class

information

about

tentatively

select

a

and/or

a

specific

If any

of

resembles

these

pre

another,

students

small

is

groups

preliminary

have

done

sug

on

state

the

to background

students

to

business,

neighborhood

concept

statements

to develop.

of

effort

may

submit

nearly

also

a collaborative

gested.

their

ment.

Students

and

own,

To

date,

assignment

in groups

of

two

to

four

members.

Once

the

groups

are

defined

 

in

terms

of

membership

and

initial

intent,

they

conduct

library

and

field

research

outside

of

class

over

a

period

of

approximately

 

six weeks.

The

final

two

class

sessions

of

the

quarter

 

are

devoted

to

the

presentation

 

and

discussion

 

of

each

business

plan,

a written

version

of which

is also

submitted

for

evaluation.

Finally,

students

 

are

encouraged

to

pursue

implementation

 

of

their

business

pro

posals,

either

personally

or

by

providing

them

to

the

community

 

resource

person(s)

 

who

helped

students

get

to know

the

needs

and

resources

of

the

chosen

neighborhood.

Business

proposal

instructions

As

for

what

are

proposal.

is

included

to

in

think

to

the

business

plan, it as a document

of

potential

backers

of

summary

should

students

that might

their

advised

be presented

An

executive

provide

its

should

an overview

The

of

body

the

the

business

the

of

for

characteristics

serve;

to

the

of

of

the

and

operation;

identifying

and

concept

business

of

and

plan

the

rationale.

of

feasibility

location

demonstrate

the

the business,

proposal

by

and

identifying

describing

community

the

viding

get

during

it

day-to-day

defensible

the

to

its

sources

timetable

a possible

relevant

is designed

operations

estimates

years

overviewing

business;

capital

of

pro

needed

its finances

outlining

potential

a

enterprise

three

started,

of

the first

ownership

structure;

of

for

start-up

implementation.

capital;

providing

Resources

for

the project

assignment

The

information

sources

useful

and

feasible

business

Some

are

accessible

in

a

gathered

first-hand

in

the

get

the

students

started,

a

readings

about

business

in

included

in

a

course

reading

in

the

term

is

studied

and

material

on

which

to practice

mental

analysis

techniques.

The

collected

from

the business

library;

needed

plan

to

are

design

a

various.

must

To

be

help

others

community.

set

the

of

packet,

discussed

strategic

material

press,

background

inner

city

is

and

as

early

case

environ

has

been

beginning

with

Business

Plan

Proposals

for

a series

by

police

the

from

riots

officers

The

that

Wall

followed

charged

King.

Also

included

is

Street

the

a

with

series

Journal

initial

prompted

acquittal

of

beating

Rodney

of

articles

about

Chicago's

Employment

South

for

to

Shore

Bank,

and

capital

the Women's

other

technical

in

students

Self

Project,

start-up

various

and

potential

assis

sources

tance

fledgling

and

businesses

b u s i n e s s e s

some

recent

it

with

ventures.2

is essential

the

that

inner-city

examples

of

familiarize

their

business

neighborhoods,

business

such

Because

themselves

neighborhood

proposal

is

designed

to

serve,

they

need

to

combine

tion.

sources"

is provided

latter,

individual

library

available

to

research

assist

are

with

of

on-site

"urban

investiga

economics

University

former.

showing

in Chicago,

library

For

a

the

list

the

77

of

A

compilation

at

the Loyola

with

given

the

a map

areas

students

community

Chicago

the

as

names

resource

civic

and

community

organizations,

of

community

activists

willing

persons

to Loyola

students

who

to

and

serve

wish

a personal

community

introduction

with

which

to

a part

they

of

are

the Chicago

unfamiliar.

These

individuals

of

(as

or

a

were

result

identified

of

contacts

community

colleague

to

either

made

by

in

the

the

instructor

course

assorted

by

involvement

who

activities),

as

a Loyola

liaison

served

groups.

the University's

community

Students

personal

know)

Chicago's

Evaluation

Two

the

review,

instructor.

of

to

plans

spective

talist,

social

of

are

also

encouraged

(and/or

to

that

draw

of

on

their

they

in

assess

peer

the

each

experiences

people

living/working/studying/volunteering

inner-city

neighborhoods.

criteria

and procedures

are

forms

business

of

plan

and

the

the

Before

business

students.

evaluation

employed

one

to

proposals,

other

the

class

a

involving

by

of

evaluation

presentation

form

asked

is

plans,

his

rating

her

is circulated

to

from

venture

rank

the

the

per

capi

in

promoting

respectable

also

rates

are

solicited.

Each

student

or

(excluding

of

i.e.,

a

an

justice

own)

socially

investor

as well

responsible

as

interested

earning

comments

return.

Written

These

forms

are

reviewed

by

the

instructor

to

Inner-City

Neighborhoods

89

discern

the

relative

what

(if

and

any)

consensus

of

emerges

each

of

the

about

plans,

desirability

The

feasibility

one

instructor's

to

another.

personal

evaluation

is based

on

the

components

in more

listed

should

below:

earlier

of

business plan proposals

described

contain.

detail

what

These

the

are

? Documented

characteristics

description

description

of

of

the

the

the c o m m u n i t y
the c o m m u n i t y

community

relevant

the

business

graphics,

is designed

needs,

? petition

and

other

A

detailed

proposed

proposed

overview

business

to

serve

(e.g.,

demo

resources,

existing

com

environmental

factors).

of

the

(e.g.,

operations

location

of

the

and

capabilities

materials

of

procurement,

physical

facilities,

staffing

organization

? A marketing

and

plan

control).

(e.g.,

pricing,

work

flow,

and

training,

distribution,

?

promotion).

Mathematically

including:

An

itemized

verifiable

estimate

financial

f i n a n c i a l

of

funds

analysis,

needed

to

get

the

business

started

running

until

it breaks

even

year

Pro-forma

three

of

operations).

income

statements

and

keep

(at or

before

it

for

the first

three

schedule

explanatory

tions

years

about

of

of

operations

wage/salary

(including

costs,

a

and

footnotes

growth,

to defend

of

methods

assump

allocating

?

expenses,

Proposed

etc.).

ownership

structure,

and

poten

tial

? Realistic

sources

of

initial

capital.

timetable

a

for

about

few

and

to

implementation.

Project

Student

When

outcomes

reactions

they

first

assignment,

of

glad

learn

the major

course

with

that

project

expressions

they

about

students

react

noting

delight

finally

gratitude,

encounter

skills

to

for

use

money.

challenging

are

information

new

About

that

an

the

assign

and

beyond

number

encouragement

and

their

a purpose

business

goes

knowledge

merely

react

making

by

equal

90 Jill W. Graham

ment,

asking

why

business

to

serve

Coast"

lakefront

of

however,

an

inner-city

comment,

they

residents

luxury

can't

of

propose

Chicago's

condominiums,

Most

assignment

on

the

a

new

"Gold

instead

neighborhood.

the

students,

without

accept

presumably

premise

that

defining

course

requirements

is within

the

pre

rogative

The

challenge

of

academic

authority.

response

the

provided

assignment

to

goes

those

who

beyond

initially

asserting

professorial

prerogatives

argument

cases

well-known

is

studied

in

terms

in MBA

of

firms

rather

designing

hood

enterprises;

in

several

balance.

courses

ways.

Most

concern

The

first

business

large

than

small

a business

neighbor

venture

for

an

inner-city

much-needed

neighborhood

balance.

A

provides

second

some

argument

concerns

the value

of

using

strategic

management

analytical

tests

their

skills

in

??familiar

theoretical

at applying

settings;

doing

so

and

both

students'

in

skill

understanding

strategic

conditions.

a Jesuit

technical

novel

concepts

Finally,

university,

the

under

environmental

the

context

business

to be

"persons

especially

an

of

inner-city

call

assignment

for

exemplifies

others,"

Ignatian

applying

knowledge

poor"

with

(Harvanek,

a preferential

1988,

p.

11).

"option

for

the

In

end

made

their written

course

of

the

specific

school

term,

c o m m e n t s

comments

evaluation

several

about

forms

students

at

the

have

the

inner-city

business

way

of

sentative

taken

the

for

the

Business

A

total

project

knowing

(see Table

if

views

those

the majority

assignment.

I). While

comments

there

are

who

is no

repre

have

appreciation

of

the

of

all

students

 

express

plans

have

been

class,

project

plan

of

proposals

18

business

prepared

during

pleted

the

to

two