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For the love of the written word

THE CHALLENGES OF WRITING A STRAMA PAPER


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I have been on leave from work for almost a month now, not to enjoy a much-desired vacation but to complete my Strategic Management paper.  For Ateneo-Regis MBA students, the Strategic Management paper (or STRAMA) is the capstone course requisite for graduation.  It’s the “make it or break it” subject, as I call it.  Everything you have learned in your subjects for the whole course will now be put to test and encapsulized in a company of your choice.

The journey has not been easy, even for a person who loves to write as I do.  During classes, one is required to submit an assignment per topic that is meant to be a preview of the paper one is to make.  To some students who already know what to do and what company to study on, this is a real blessing because it makes the pressure lighter (save for a few revisions recommended by the professor, of course).  For some who have not decided what company to work on, this is a real terror.  But not to fear, because your professor will always be your best ally in any event.

Strategic Management requires a student to look at the company’s industry, it’s strengths and weaknesses.  One constantly has to read, read and read – and finally, write.  You have to choose variables that you think can help build your company strategy.  You weigh in these variables.  SWOT, IFE, EFE, SPACE, QSPM and other useful matrices become your friends.  You do market and company analysis to determine if the company is liquid and if it is earning reasonable profits.

In STRAMA, the objective is to move the company forward, and in the words of my professor, “in leaps and bounds”.  And that should permeate in all of the strategies you should take.  After devising the proposed strategies, you now do the projected financial statements to show how the strategies will redound to the benefit of the company.

In between the processes, you constantly have to read, compute and revise some more.  I have had to revise and refine my paper countless of times, even as I am near to completing it.  It can get anyone panicky.  As any academic paper, it is tough and painstaking.  Definitely not a walk in the park.

Nevertheless, doing the paper is quite a journey and a good challenge.  Hopefully, I will be able to contribute ideas to the company I am working on.  It may grow in leaps and bounds or not; either way, it has been a worthwhile exercise and has enabled me to think creatively and within the parameters of the company’s capability and existing resources.

Vacation will be over for me in a few days.  After gallons of coffee, log-in time at the university library and sleepless nights, I will finally finish my paper.  I am thankful for the professors who have contributed much to my learning during my stay at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Defense will be a new challenge altogether, but that’s another story.

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6 thoughts on “THE CHALLENGES OF WRITING A STRAMA PAPER

  1. Ma. Corazon Q. Guevarra on said:

    Thank you for this very nice write-up. It gave me an idea and a clearer picture of what to expect in my Strama class. I am now on my 9th subject and I know it’s not going to be too long and will be facing the same challenges when I write my Strama paper. God bless to those who are taking MBA-Regis program.

  2. Thanks! This is very helpful. Im hoping that I could enroll next term for Strama but I have yet to find a company that I could use. Do yo have any recommendations?

    • Hi Kyla. It is the pitfall of certain students to select a small (and sometimes obscure) company to work on. While there is nothing wrong about this (choosing a small company, I mean), some business schools are very strict about this and would recommend finding a company that has a capitalization threshold (in the school where I went, the company has to have a capitalization not less than Php2M). I would suggest that you find at least a medium-sized company and one that you are at least fairly familiar with for the following reasons:

      1. It would be easier for you to get the details that you will need (eg. corporate background, financials and other reports) for your paper.
      2. Small companies (especially those that are single-proprietorship or not registered with the SEC) are usually remiss in the submission of financial reports. In making your STRAMA paper, financial reports are crucial to building up your strategy. You may have a hard time looking for these.
      3. It is the normal thinking of STRAMA students to say that the smaller the company, the simpler it is to present to the panel. Not so. The opposite actually happens. And if you are not familiar with how the company works, you will definitely have a hard time bluffing it.
      4. A bigger company will enable you to compare it with other known competitors. STRAMA is not just knowing the company you are studying, but it is also knowing its competitors. And it has to be with direct competitors to be able to make the cut. You cannot not compare apples with oranges.

      Goodluck!

  3. Pingback: Defending your STRAMA paper | philebookworm

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