1. Problem Statement (~2-3 sentences). Provide a brief statement of the key problem in the case. Be sure to
focus on a problem, not a symptom. Be sure to focus on one problem – even if the case has more than
one. All of your subsequent analysis should be directly related to this one problem.
2. Situation Analysis (usually .5 – 1 page). Summarize the key factors of the situation that drove your
subsequent recommendation and implementation. Don’t just list all the facts. Situation analysis should
include assessment of the 4 C’s (customers, competition, company, and context). Focus on those factors
most relevant to the problem statement.
3. Alternatives. Briefly discuss at least 2 unchosen alternative solutions that you considered for addressing
the problem. Each alternative should have three subsections – a) an overview of the option, b) a listing of
pros/cons, and c) a summary that utilizes the Toulmin persuasive argument structure:
• Claim: A belief or claim, not a fact
• Data: Evidence supporting the claim. Fact based. What are your reasons? Often starts with
• Warrant: Connects (bridges) the data and the claim. It shows why the data supports the
claim. Often starts with “given…”
• Rebuttal: Addresses potential (anticipated) objections to the claim. May start with “unless…”
4. Recommendation. This section should follow the same format as each Alternative – except that the detail
in each section should be greater (a little longer overview, more pros/cons, and a longer summary). The
summary might be fodder for ideas to be fleshed out in the implementation plan. (Logically, the
“rebuttal” ideas from your unchosen alternatives should be addressed here.)
5. Implementation Plan. Outlines a specific plan for implementing your recommendation. The
implementation should be practical, consider the costs and benefits, and include a specific time frame.
These are essential elements and sometimes require making some assumptions. Make the assumptions
necessary to put forth your plan. The implementation plan may also outline specific tactics to address
weaknesses (or cons identified in your alternatives).
6. Extras. This section should include supporting analysis or tools to make clear other sections of the brief.
The section is an excellent opportunity for you to show how other concepts and tools you have learned in
the MBA program aid in making this decision. For example, a SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces analysis,
calculation of return on investment, or a pro forma income statement may be useful. Alternatively, you
may create a diagram that facilitates understanding the analysis or how elements of the implementation
plan fit together. You might apply other tools you have learned from work, reading, or other relevant
experiences as well. The key is to choose a tool that is most relevant to this decision.