Case Discussion Questions and Notes

These are some basic questions for you to think about after you have read the case. You should be prepared to provide written answers and discuss these in class. Some of these questions are basic and our case discussions will be much deeper and richer, so don’t limit your preparation to just these points. I have purposely omitted obvious strategic and innovative issues and conclusions to determine if you are able to identify them without my assistance — look for them. For most cases, there will be a webcourses assignment posted the week prior for you to complete that will be similar, but not necessarily identical, to the discussion questions listed here. Be sure to read the assignment in webcourses carefully.


MTR’s eInstant Bonus Project:

Overview: The eInstant Bonus was an interactive advertising concept designed by MTR in Hong Kong offering advertisers the opportunity to sell printable-on-demand coupons to transit passengers.

  1. How could the MTR leverage the success of this pilot project to support its business objectives and create further revenue-generating opportunities for itself?
  2. What are the direct and indirect benefits of the project?
  3. How does the eInstant bonus project fit with the company mission and other lines of business operations?
  4. How could the new logical step of customer transactions at kiosks foster or hinder the success of the eInstant bonus project?
  5. What are other similar applications where this technology could be utilitzed  in other industries / companies?

Capitec Bank

Overview: Capitec was established at the end of apartheid to offer banking and loans to low-income individuals in light of the potential for economic process marked by the end of the discriminatory system. Capitec plan to service the base of the pyramid and then migrate this offering to serve the low-income market down the road.

  1. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of targeting the ‘base of the pyramid’ (BOP) or the lower-income segment of the population.
  2. What are additional considerations in serving BOP that must be considered in legacy industries such as banking?
  3. What are some of the benefits of human resource familiarity in non-banking industries that facilitated Capitec’s progress?
  4. What are the implications of the limited range of services that Capitec offers (in comparison with full-service banks)?
  5. How does Capitec’s promotional efforts facilitate science push and demand pull?


Overview: Hastings founded Netflix with a vision to provide a home movie service that would do a better job satisfying customers than the traditional retail rental model, developing a highly disruptive business model and operational strategy to the current market players.

  1. Is the VOD opportunity discussed at the end of the case sustaining or disruptive and why?
  2. The company was founded because a $40 late fee incurred by a competitor. How might a non-creative individual approached this ‘problem’? Consider the innovation funnel and the innovation escalator in your answer.
  3. What were some of the ways Netflix addressed the impulsive nature of movie renters?
  4. How did the proprietary recommendation system increase customer satisfaction? What other benefits did it bring to Netflix, if any?
  5. How did process innovation influence Netflix’s movie acquisition procedure?

HR 500 Plus Scanner

Overview: KP is facing a drastic change in technology from film to digital with eroding revenue and margins. Giorgio is being pushed by upper management to extend the life of film to provide cash for the painful transition process within a 12-month window. Without successful project execution, Giorgio and his team could be jobless.

  1. What are the potential roadblocks that could prevent Press’s team from being successful, (a) internally and (b) externally?
  2. Should the team consider an upgrade path as part of the project or wait until after the launch?
  3. Create value propositions and taglines for the scanners as well as the possible upgrade to it.
  4. Develop mock pricing for the HR 500 Plus and Universal scanners, the upgrade kit and a trade-in program for old scanners.
  5. Apply the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix and the Porter 5C model to this case.

Celtel Nigeria (A)

Overview: Celtel Nigeria has an innovative approach to serving the rural poor with mobile telecommunications with a micro-franchising model involving local entrepreneur partnerships.

  1. Who are Celtel’s customers as of mid 2007? How is the Nigerian market segmented?
  2. What are Celtel’s main distribution channels?
  3. What are the challenges faced by Celtel in serving the rural poor?
  4. How might Celtel overcome these challenges to profitably serve the rural poor?

Novartis in India

Overview: Novartis is faced with challenging Intellectual Property protection issues that limit the company’s ability to earn acceptable returns for the substantial R&D efforts in India. Given the complex and ever-changing international IP protection environment, there is a heightened need for well planned and highly adaptable business strategy to protect the interest of company stakeholders.

1. Complete a 4A (acceptability, affordability, awareness, availability) OR a PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological) marketing-strategy framework for Novartis’s market entry into India. Aim for at least 4 bullet points for each of the 4 elements in the framework (total of 16 or more). Which of the bullets that you listed did Novartis fail to give sufficient attention to in their current marketing strategy for India and what were the ramifications of this?

2. What should Novartis do now given their current IP protection situation in India?

3. How should they modify their future market entry strategies for BOP markets to increase the chance of maximize stakeholder / shareholder wealth?

Air Asia X

By 2007, AirAsia had become one of the most successful budget airlines in the world. Having conquered Southeast Asia, and entered China and India, AirAsia was poised to solidify its place as one of the foremost budget airlines and one of the most consistently profitable globally. But company founder Tony Fernandes had bigger plans. From the outset in 2001, Fernandes had intended to offer long haul service, competing against the largest and most established airlines in the world. However, his advisors had urged him to focus on regional, short to medium distance service. With many successes under his belt, Fernandes was once again ready to tackle long haul. Despite persistent claims from industry insiders that low cost long haul flights would never be profitable, Fernandes pushed forward with the expansion. Hiring 36-year-old Azran Osman-Rani as the CEO for the new long haul venture, nicknamed X, was a critical step in this process. X’s inaugural flight to Australia took place in November 2007. In early 2010, X received its eleventh aircraft and was flying to 15 destinations on three continents. However, over time the substantial differences between long haul and short haul operating requirements became more apparent. Consequently, the management decided to formally separate X from AirAsia. This separation, and the inherent challenges for X and its recently appointed head of Commercial Operations, Darren Wright included: (1) how best to leverage the extensive network of the regional sister company AirAsia in selecting new and profitable destinations for X, (2) how to increase revenues without raising ticket prices, (3) how best to globally position the airline’s brand in non-Asian markets, (4) how to shift his marketing team’s mentality away from a start-up mindset, and (5) how to prepare for a global initial public offering within the next 12 months.

1. AirAsia X is leveraging many of the resources of the sister company (pilots, maintenance, booking system). While this is advantageous, what are some of the negative implications that AirAsia X may face in doing so? Please expand and go beyond the ones mentioned in the case.

2. AirAsia X is charging customers for many add-on services that are typically provided by other industry players at no cost. What are three critical success factors to consider in implementing a strategy of this type from a consumer-satisfaction standpoint?

3. AirAsia X was able to re-use many of the successful elements of the sister company AirAsia’s business model, however they needed to make some significant adaptations for the AirAsia X launch. Discuss 3 key business model changes that were critical to its success.

4. What are three of the most important relative strengths that enabled the success of AirAsia X to date (the date of the case writing)? Be sure to focus on relative strengths; in other words, they are substantially better than other industry players in these areas.

5. What are three of the most critical strategic action items AirAsia X must tackle in order to effectively prepare for a global IPO? 3 to 4 sentences for each action item. Again, please expand and go beyond the ones mentioned in the case.

6. Discuss how the Rogers technology diffusion model can be applied to the launch of AirAsia X.

GE Money Bank

The M-Budget Card case study is about mastering the challenges of an exploratory strategic initiative in a context marked by time pressure and frequent change. M-Budget was the first of a series of highly successful projects that established GE Money Bank as a leader in the Swiss credit card market. The business concept was to cooperate with the country’s leading retailer MIGROS to develop an innovative credit card offering, the M-Budget card. The M-Budget card was launched a mere six months later and was an immediate success. The demand for the card exceeded expectations by far and the bank was inundated by more than 100,000 applications in the first weeks. The road to the successful market launch, however, was a rocky one and the team around Pierre had to master numerous challenges. Pierre, who took the lead in the initiative, had to select the right people to compose a team that had all the expertise and knowledge required to develop an entirely new market offering. A competitive move by the second largest retailer COOP forced the team to change its initial value proposition while working under intensive time pressure. Finally, the team had to overcome a series of operational problems after the initial market launch. The case study retraces the initiative’s development over time and describes the leadership and organizational challenges faced by the team on its way to the successful creation of an entirely new business segment.