ACS Assignment

ACS Assignment guidelines


  • VF Corporation – Global fashion/apparel/sportswear industry


  • Nvidia – Global microchip industry



Introduction to the report and company profile


Start with a one-sentence introduction to the report giving the subject and scope of the investigation, e.g. This is a strategic analysis of International Airline Group’s British Airways business in Europe.


Provide appropriate background information which will help the reader get some contextual information about the company (and its industry). This information sets up the report. Please provide only a short introduction

Q1. External analysis (not about company). PESTEL & 5 Forces – approx. 1300 words

PESTEL: 6 most important issues to be identified, discussed and each concluded as an O or a T.

No definition of how to do it. You need to show you understand how to do a PESTEL analysis by doing it not describing it.

5 Forces: each force to be discussed and assessed as High, Moderate or Low. Having these forces in mind assess industry attractiveness.

Q2. Internal analysis (resources and competences) – approx 1000 words

Resources (what a company has) – descriptive approach. Approximately 5-6 resources to be identified and discussed (each should be discussed in a separate paragraph and concluded as a Strength or a Weakness). Try to address human, physical and intangible resources (financial resources are important but you are not required to address these). Try to identify at least one Weakness.

Competences (what a company does). Two tables needed (Value Chain and VRIO). Approximately 5 – 6 activities (distinctive competences) to be placed in Value Chain and pushed through VRIO to identify one Core Competence.

One distinctive competence (ideally core competence) should be discussed in detail (explain the activity, state why it is good/special, provide evidence, provide your reasoning behind VRIO – why is this activity Valuable to customers, Rare and difficult to imitate; do not worry about O, just assume that all activities have organisational support) in the main body. You can discuss another distinctive competence in the appendix. Each distinctive competence is a Strength, so (assuming that you identified and discussed 5 resources – 4 Ss and 1 W) and listed 5 distinctive competences in value chain, in total you should have 5Ss (competences) + 4Ss (resources) + 1W (resources) = 9Ss + 1W.

Note that in Q2 you should discuss resources and competences of the main company (acquirer) without the target. The target company should not be discussed at all.


Q3. Evaluation – approx. 700 – 1000 words. (S: 150; A: 500; F: 150).

It is the specific strategy that should be evaluated! Strategy was given with the company (it depends on the company you chose for your assignment). This is where you may mention the target company (this is not a requirement). You are not required to carry out internal analysis for the target company (you will go over your word limit and might sacrifice quality for quantity).

Suitability (does the strategy make sense – ex-ante analysis). Start with TOWS. Place the strategy you are evaluating in one of the inner 4 quadrants and try to link internal and external issues with it (e.g. if you placed a strategy in SO quadrant state what Ss you combine with what Os while considering the strategy.

Acceptability (is the strategy acceptable – to selected stakeholders). Identify a number of stakeholder groups (e.g. 5) and place them in a Power/Interest matrix. Then select 3 groups and for each discuss how will they be affected by the strategy you are evaluating and therefore is the strategy acceptable to them or not.

Feasibility (can the strategy be implemented). Discuss skills and financial resources that may be required (and how did/will the company obtain these).

General guidelines

No need for conclusions (Os, Ts, forces, industry attractiveness are conclusions from Q1, Ss and Ws from resources and competences including core competences are conclusions from Q2 and SAFe – is the strategy suitable, acceptable and feasible is the conclusion for Q3).

Please do not discuss theory and models, it is all about your application.

You are discouraged from just reproducing the information from reports such as Mintel or IBIS World. Of course, you can use specific graphs or tables but the PESTEL analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces et cetera are often incorrect and/or outdated.

The task in this assignment is very much for students to show that they can use these techniques and make sense of the results (i.e. interpretation), not that they can find them. Cut & paste or fill-in-the-blank approach usually leads to failure.

Citing sources is important; the use of high-quality sources of information (especially from the recommended list) is important; a correct and complete table of references is important; correct use of business English is important. It is more important to provide in-text references for figures, charts, quotes you have used in support of your arguments.

Total word count should not exceed 3300 (3000 + 10%) and you should not have more than 6 pages of appendices.

Good luck!