Five MBA students from The University of Western Australia Business School have travelled to Kuala Lumpur to conduct a strategic analysis of EMKAY Group, a leading Malaysian property developer.
Ahmad Kamal, Allan Maitland, Shannon Postma, Jessica Thomas and Agnieszka Vestal completed the analysis as part of the unit Strategic Management, the capstone MBA unit co-ordinated by Winthrop Professor Gary Stockport.
The group visited EMKAY Group's offices and interviewed senior executives, including Directors, the Chief Operating Officer, Senior General Managers and various Heads of Department. In addition to writing a case history, the group then produced a strategic analysis of EMKAY Group, recommending and justifying strategies for the company's future.
Analysing EMKAY Group, said the students, allowed them to produce a report that would inspire change in a real-world organisation.
‘Our assignment was focused on analysing the strategic issues surrounding the change of CEO leadership at the EMKAY Group on 1 January, 2012,' the students said.
‘Specifically, we asked: what is the future of the property development industry in Malaysia and how will this impact the EMKAY Group; what business model would the EMKAY Group require to build upon its recent success and fit with the future; and finally, what is the strategic profile process required to tap into the potential of all its employees?'
The students were impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of Mustapha Kamal, the founder of EMKAY Group. ‘From our analysis it was evident how reliant the EMKAY Group was on the one man who would soon be retiring,' said the group. ‘It was similar to the other family businesses we had seen and discussed in class that typically have a critical success factor that needs to be addressed. The key point of difference was that the EMKAY Group were asking the tough questions and were ready for action.'
Travelling to Kuala Lumpur allowed the students to produce a more thorough analysis. ‘The experience of working overseas was fantastic,' they said. ‘It demonstrated first-hand the complexities of operating in other cultures that need to be considered.
‘One of the many benefits of the site visit was that it allowed us to not only conduct interviews on this topic in person but also to supplement them with understanding gained through conversations at building tours and meals. While it surely only scratches the surface, we were able to piece together an assessment that is consistent from a number of points of view.'
Working in such a diverse group, said the students, contributed to a meaningful learning experience for each group member. ‘Having the opportunity to work within such a diverse and capable team was a great experience in itself, but adding to this the opportunity to identify and provide solutions to so many of the lessons learnt from the MBA to an already successful business, located in South-East Asia, was extremely rewarding and unquestionably the highlight of our MBA experience at UWA,' they said.
Winthrop Professor Gary Stockport, co-ordinator of the Strategic Management unit, said students chose to analyse a variety of companies, including Austal Ships, BMW, EMKAY Group, OneSteel, Origin Energy and Woolworths.
‘Essentially, this Strategic Management assignment links theory to practice in an interesting and creative way,' said Professor Stockport. ‘Students learn to develop their strategic thinking, planning and implementation competencies as a consequence of doing this assignment.
‘The EMKAY case study was an excellent piece of research. The MBA students who did this assignment are a credit to the Business School. Their work produced was at least on a par with any world-class business school.
‘For the EMKAY Group, the assignment produced some thoughtful and do-able strategy recommendations as well as a short-term implementation plan.
‘For MBA students, doing such high level strategy projects has a high CV value. Some case studies have been chosen for further work for consideration for publication in my forthcoming Strategic Management textbook.'
The MBA students travelled to Kuala Lumpur in June this year.
For more information on the UWA MBA, contact the UWA Business School Postgraduate Student Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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