Graduate Seminar in Business Policy

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2010
Dillard College of Business Administration
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 5:30-6:50pm

Dr. Jeff Stambaugh (view Profile)

Course Objectives

General Learning Goals:
• Problem solving and decision-making abilities through critical analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of business information. Students will practice problem solving and decision-making skills during in-class discussion (e.g. current events) and the simulation. Assessment will occur during course examinations, oral debates, and the simulation.
• Competency in speaking and writing for common business scenarios. Students will practice their oral presentation skills in numerous in-class presentations and their “board of directors” presentation. The student’s ability to speak clearly to an audience will be included in the score for these exercises. Weekly writing assignments shall also be assessed for writing ability.

These general learning goals are among those established by the Dillard College of Business Administration. General learning goals represent the skills that graduates will carry with them into their careers. While assessing student performance in obtaining these general learning goals, the Dillard College is assessing its programs. The assessments will assist us as we improve our curriculum and curriculum delivery.

Course Expectations

Course Specific Learning Goals: After completing this course, students should be able to:
• Recognize the interrelated roles that accounting, finance, marketing, management, and information systems play in business success.
• Understand and apply models related to business performance.
• Understand the decisions and trade-offs that top managers are faced with when running and setting the future directions for the firm.
• Develop the ability to think strategically

Grading Standards

Student performance will be assessed using the following elements.

Exams (2): Exams will be composed of essay questions. Whether I publish in advance of the test a “question pool” from which the essay questions are drawn will be decided upon by a class vote during the second class. There will also be a news article that will form the basis for another essay question that will not be published in advance. For students that have an 86.0% average or higher prior to the last exam (688 or more points out of the 800 possible to that point) the last exam is optional provided the student will accept a B as their final grade in the course.

Projects: Strategy is a very hands-on subject and my intent is to make this course as “applied” as possible. Below are brief introductions to these hands-on projects. More detail will be available on these projects via WebCT.

Strategic Thoughts (ST): These are questions considered/answered before class to prepare for the class discussion. In many cases you submit a short answer prior to class that reflects your strategic thought and application of the textbook to the question. The goal is quality thinking—not length. Hence, these should be no more than 2/3rds a page (and less is fine). These should be emailed to me by 11:59a the day of the class so that I have time to incorporate your thoughts into that day’s class discussion. The written portion, combined with your comments in class, is graded and is worth 20 points per submission. There are 10 assigned STs and only your top 9 scores count toward your final grade.

Great Debates (GD): Two teams will debate two sides of a strategic issue (one “pro” and one “con,” if you will). The topics of debates will be formalized during the semester, with the question of whether the Yahoo/Microsoft search alliance is in the best interest of the Microsoft shareholders is an example of a debate topic. Each side will have 5 minutes to state their case and then have a 2 minute rebuttal. No slides are allowed. The purpose of the great debate is to think strategically, make a powerful presentation, and improve your ability to think on your feet.

BSG Simulation: You will participate in a business simulation where you are the top management team of a digital camera manufacturing firm. The purpose of the simulation is to learn implementation skills for the strategies being developed in the class. This will require you to draw on all of your former business courses (management, marketing, accounting, and finance) as you run the corporation. A key point is that the simulation is “live play” in that your fellow classmates are the competition. This means the simulation is dynamic, interactive, and a lot of fun. The simulation is a major time commitment and, accordingly, is a major part of your grade. Specific graded components to the simulation include: a multiple choice quiz (20 points); your firm’s actual performance in the simulation (125 points); and a “board of directors” presentation where you discuss your firm’s performance (125 points).

Points are allocated to each component as follows.





Grades will be assigned using the following schedule. 

Exam I







Exam II






Less than 630















BSG quiz







BSG performance







BSG Board of Directors







Total Points







Semester grades will be reported through normal University channels with no exceptions.

Major Field Test (MFT):

The MFT is scheduled as part of this course and is a 3-hour standardized test that helps assess the quality of our MBA program. Note that on the evening of the MFT the class lasts 3 hours, so please plan accordingly. As an incentive to do your best, students that score in the top 10% (of all test takers) will receive 10 bonus points in the course and may elect to skip the last exam (meaning I will compute their grade out of 800 points). Unlike the “86% option” discussed above, a student will receive an A in the course if they have 720 points or more before the last exam.

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance Policy: Regular attendance is expected and roll will be taken. Participation in class discussion is expected, so reading the assigned material and completing assignments prior to coming to class is also expected. A failure to adequately attend and participate in class discussions will affect the student’s case analysis and last exam grade. See the MSU Student Handbook page 39-40, for University Class Attendance Policy.

Other Policies

Missed Examination Policy: Only students with authorized absences (see University Class Attendance Policy) may make up missed examinations. Students must make up a missed exam before they are allowed to return to class. As a professional courtesy, please notify me prior to the exam of the absence if possible.

Academic Integrity:

With regard to academic honesty, students are referred to the “Student Honor Creed” on pp. 51-52 of Midwestern State University Graduate Catalog, Vol. LXXVII, No. 2. Academic dishonesty (cheating, collusion, and plagiarism) is taken seriously and will be investigated. Please know that integrity is very important to me.

Americans with Disabilities Act:

If a student has an established disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and would like to request accommodation, that student should please see me as soon as possible (i.e., within the first two weeks of the semester). Refer to my office hours and phone number shown on page 1. This class follows the guidelines suggested by the Center for Counseling and Disabilities Services for those students who qualify for disability services. See Midwestern State University Graduate Catalog, Vol. LXXVII, No. 2, p. 55.

Syllabus Change Policy:

This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change. Syllabus changes will be communicated via WebCT.

Additional Information:

Written Assignments: All written assignments are to be single-spaced, have one inch margins, and use an 11 or 12-point font (specific font must present a business appearance and be similar in “size” to Times New Roman or Arial).

Timeliness of Work: Professionals are not late with their work. STs are due at 11:59a the day of the class; STs received afterward are late and shall be graded accordingly. NOTE: There is no grace period for the simulation decisions—the computer automatically processes the decisions at 11p on the scheduled date!

Words of Wisdom / General Policies: Perhaps the most important things you can understand about me is that I am deeply interested in your success in the course (and beyond), and I am convinced this course can make a major difference in your future. Therefore, I invest a lot of effort in this course. If you put in the effort, I am confident you’ll learn a lot and earn a good grade. Just as in the “real world,” I try to run my course in a supportive yet professional and business-like manner. Here are some key points for professional behavior:
• Class time is like a business meeting:
o Be on time!
o Turn off your cell phones and put them away.
o Laptops are for business use during class—not surfing, emailing, or networking
• Always show respect for others, especially if they make comments in class.
o Packing up before class is over disrupts others
• The assignments you hand in should reflect your professionalism
• Don’t embarrass yourself with questions like: “Did I miss anything important,” “Will I miss anything important,” or “Can I skip today?” How would you expect your “boss” to answer those questions?

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at