Case Memo for Starbucks

Case Memo Instructions

The short memo is one of the ways that people in corporations communicate with one another. The ability to make a persuasive argument in a single page is a very important skill and is one of the things we will work on in this class. The focus of these memos, and this class in general, is on creating a logical connection between data and recommendations.

During the course everyone will write a memo on two of the cases we study. One of the memos will be on a case in the first half of the course (A cases) and one of the memos on a case in the second half of the course (B cases).

For each of the two cases you choose, prepare a one-page case position memo accompanied by one page of exhibits (maximum of 3 exhibits).

  • The memos should follow the following format:
  • One-inch margins on all sides
  • 12-point Times font
  • Single-space within paragraphs
  • Double-space between paragraphs
  • You will lose 5 (out of 35) points if you don’t follow this format (see grade sheet on next page).
  • Address your memo to the decision maker in the case.
  • Headings should be on a separate line. Identify your memo with your name (as registered), netID, section, and the case in the FROM section.
  • Exhibits should be referred to in the text and should not contain content that belongs in the memo text itself.
  • Exhibits should be created by you using information from the case —they should not be photocopies or mere replications of exhibits from the case. Only use data and information provided in the case when creating your exhibits (no online or other sources may be used).
  • Refer to your exhibits in the text of the memo
  • Exhibits can support your analysis or to demonstrate your recommendations. Examples are spreadsheets, graphs and a marketing research survey.
  • Because busy executives do not have time to read long essays, memos that exceed the length limit or that otherwise do not comply with the format will have five points taken off (see the grading sheet below).
  • Make sure your recommendations are very specific and actionable
  • Assume you are writing at the time of the case. We know that market conditions and competitive contexts are likely to have changed. However, only base your analysis and recommendations on the data in the case–not on current conditions.
  • Do not assume you need to be comprehensive. You should exercise judgment as to what to put in and what to leave out. The grade will be based upon the bottom line—how useful is this to the decision maker? Does it offer new insight that is likely to lead to a good decision or to help develop strategy? Remember that the decision maker is familiar with the case and thus—DO NOT REHASH THE CASE.

Writing memos can be challenging for those who are not used to the process. You will be surprised at how much easier it gets as you have more practice. A sample memo and exhibits are attached.

Although you are encouraged to work with others when analyzing the cases, you must turn in your own case memo. You may discuss the case as much as you like with anyone that you like, until you begin to write. As soon as you start to write, all the work—text and exhibits—need to be your own. Please let me know if you have any questions about this.


Please follow the following shell when writing your memo:

  1. Introduction (omit this heading)

This is the most important part of the memo. It presents your plan of action and demonstrates to the reader your point of view. It answers the following questions: What is recommended? What key details or data influence this decision? What decisions are needed at this time?

2. Background

The background sets the context for your plan of action and includes one or two statements of strategy that form the basis of your recommendation. Important – do not restate the facts in the case. Use only key facts that led to your conclusion.

3. Recommendation

Provide a complete, detailed, statement of your plan of action and answer the following questions: What is being recommended? How is your recommendation going to be accomplished (e.g., quantities, costs, timing)? This section can be omitted if the recommendation is completely stated in the introduction.

4. Basis for Recommendation:

Identify key supporting reasons for recommendation listed in descending order of importance. Bullet points are helpful. No more than three points/reasons.

5. Assumptions and Risks

Outline key assumptions you have made. Present alternative strategies and reasons these strategies were not selected. Briefly discuss possible risks involved with recommendation.

6. Next Steps

Brief and action-oriented statement of next steps needed to implement recommendation. What must be done now? Who will do it? When will it be done?

The following grading rubric provides guidance on how the memos will be ass

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