- An appraisal of the business and financial objectives of a strategic investment decision made by an organisation and its impact on key stakeholders
“The improved knowledge of the general operations of the selected company along with the technical aspects of the strategic investment is essential for completion of the RAP. The appropriate connection of the strategic investment decisions with the general operations of the selected company with their detailed assessment under the guidance of a highly qualified mentor is the key for the successful passing of the RAP”
Topic 14 is related to the evaluation of the different business and financial objectives based on a strategic investment decision taken by the management of the company and how this decision influences the key shareholders of the organization.
An objective is defined as the specific goal or aim set by a person or any company/organization. By setting goals and objectives, the companies give themselves a sense of purpose and direction. This provides a framework upon which plans are created. Many organizations have general and overall goals that can be separated into specific objectives or targets.
The business owners set different types of objectives including the financial objective in order to make a solid plan for moving in a long-term success. The financial success is focused on the monetary aspects of a company and the most common financial objectives include increasing the revenue, increasing the profit margins, economizing in times of hardship and earning good returns from investments. On the other hand, the business objectives can be in non-monetary terms, and examples for business objectives are the increment in the overall market share, the reputation and the long-term sustainability of the company.
Any strategic investment decision made by the company has some basic goal like strengthening the financial condition of the company, increasing the competitiveness, improvement of the operational efficiency and improvement of the accountability and initiative. Samples of strategic investment decision are the upgrade of the information technology systems, acquiring new facilities, acquiring new machinery or even a competitor.
Under topic 14, the student needs to have a basic understanding of the business and the financial objectives and a fundamental knowledge on these objectives for the selected company along with the recently taken strategic investment decisions by the selected company. The student also needs to be aware of the different technical aspects of the strategic investment decision of the company so they can effectively connect the different operations of the company with the general business and financial objectives of the company.
The student will also need to have proper knowledge on the main shareholders of the selected company and their interest in the company. Based on a recently made strategic investment decision (it differs per selected company), the student will need to estimate the impact this decision has on the general quantitative (financial) and qualitative (business) objectives of the company. Further, the student will have to link the existing state of the company with the prior state (before making the strategic investment decision) to identify the general advantages and disadvantages gained by the company. The student will also need to address a particular focus on the impact all the initiative of the company have on the main shareholders (owners, employees, competitors, government, etc)(if applicable).
The requirements of topic 14 are not easy to fulfil without the in-depth information of the general operations of the company along with the impact the strategic investment decision has on the general interest of the different key shareholders.
- Adequate explaining of the general concepts of the strategic investment in a general term and a term specific to the selected company;
- Evaluation of the impact that the business and financial objectives of the strategic investment decision have on the general performance of the selected company;
- Detailed analysis of the impact that the business and financial objectives of the strategic investment decision have on the main stakeholders (ex. Government, regulatory authorities, employees, senior management, competition, etc) of the selected company;
- Enable a qualitative and quantitative analysis to properly support the mentioned aspects and show that the student has indeed understood the topic requirements; and
- Sustain a good balance in explaining and analyzing the different aspects of the business and financial objectives of the strategic investment decision and their impact on the main stakeholder of the selected company.
Key Factors for Success
- The adequate application of the prescribed goals and objectives that were set at the beginning of the RAP in the appropriate section of the RAP makes for a good quality project;
- Adequate answers to the research questions set at the beginning of the RAP in the appropriate sections of the RAP shows that the student has clear understanding of the topic;
- Utilize the proper research methodology to get proper results on the prescribed goals and objective that were set at the beginning of the RAP shows the aim of the student;
- Retain a logical flow of the discussion by keeping all the important requirements of topic 14 in mind; and
- Give logical conclusions to the work at the end of the Research Report by having in consideration all the prescribed requirements for this topic.
Major benefits for choosing this topic
- The application of the theoretical knowledge obtained during the student’s studies in practical situations; and
- The different techniques acquired under this topic will be of great help to the professional career of the student.
Major possible limitations faced by the student under this topic
- The student may not be welcomed by the management of the selected company, and may not be given the necessary documentation due to confidentiality issues, business secrets or the lack of authorized personnel;
- The student may find the lack of relevant information from reliable secondary sources or may face lack of ideas for improvement of the RAP due to an inadequate research approach; and
- The student may be confused by the possible contradictions in the gathered information provided by the primary sources (verbal or documented) and the results of their actual research work through the secondary sources of information.
Suitable organisation under this topic
An satisfactory company for preparation of the RAP under topic 14 is a company for which the student can reach the management and that management is able and willing to provide the required information. The proper selection of the most suitable company is very important and the student needs to have an in-depth understanding of the sector where the company operates. Upon the knowledge on the company and sector, the student can connect the different aspects of the overall operations of the selected company and will be able to effectively realize the requirements of the topic and get good grades on their RAP.
The following aspects need to be followed by the student when selecting a company for the RAP:
- The personal interest of the student to the general business of the selected company will enable them to enjoy the work and get more involved in the whole process and not just skim over it;
- The access to primary sources of information is very important when preparing the RAP under Topic 14;
- The access to reliable secondary sources of information enables the student to find out different aspects of the operations of the company;
- Comprehension of the general operation of the selected company is very important when working of the RAP under Topic 14;
- The understanding of the sector connected to the company will enable the student to conduct a more detailed research;
- The access to important officials from the selected company is very important for Topic 14; and
- A good idea about the requirements of the selected topic in the beginning of the RAP and their proper application in the selected company helps the preparation of a good RAP project.
Suggested approach for this topic
An proper plan needs to be set from the beginning of the preparation for the RAP under Topic 14 by the student in order to effectively finish all the prescribed tasks under this topic. The student will need to clearly understand the main requirements of the topic and analyze the necessary aspects with outlining a detailed strategy. The student will need to decide on the approach he/she will follow in order to meet all the necessary requirements of this topic from the beginning of the project.
For the adequate preparation of the RAP under Topic 14, a table of contents should be established so that it flows in a logical manner. The table of contents will help the student to stay on the correct track from the beginning of the work and will also help the student to create a proper timetable and estimate the necessary time to complete each task for the RAP.
After completing the table of contents of the RAP under topic 14, the student will need to start working in a logical manner to retrieve all the necessary information. The student has to logically and analytically evaluate the gathered information via consultations with their Project Mentor. The feedback and proper guidance from the Project Mentor in many aspects of the RAP are of great importance for the proper and timely completion of the RAP.
There is not a standardized approach for the creation of the RAP under Topic 14 and the broad level approach described here is only a start. The detailed approach depends on the student’s plans that were set at the beginning of the RAP in accordance with the available information on the selected company. No matter the approach the student will choose to follow, the guidance from the Project Mentor along every step of the process has an important influence in preparing a quality RAP and getting good grades.
Availability of Information
Under Topic 14, the RAP needs to be prepared from the information provided by the management of the selected company i.e. the primary source of information in relation to the information gathered from reliable secondary sources of information like the internet, newspapers, books, journals, archives, etc. The use of primary sources of information is of essential importance for Topic 14, as this topic can’t be completed without access to some specific information on the selected company. The student needs to be certain that they have appropriate access to information provided by the management of the selected company and there are no confidentiality issues of business secrets tying this information.
The student needs to carefully think about Topic 14 and all its prescribed requirements and estimate the possibility of obtaining information from primary sources before making the final decision to base their RAP on Topic 14. If there are doubts on any of these factors, the student should not choose this topic for their RAP, as these factors have a very big influence on the evaluation of the RAP and their final grades.
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