The Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business: The Balanced Scorecard Initiative Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Problem Statement:

The rankings of the graduate school shows that Ashton is mostly placed among the top 20 business schools and the dean of the Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business has concerns that, whether they are really distinctive as the ranking shows they are and if this not the case then they have to work on it to be in the top ranking. The dean was also concerned about whether they have been differentiated from the other top ranked universities, or they are identical to them, and the key performance indicator used in the ranking. Mainly the focus was on the strategies that Ashton is using and whether these strategies are aligned with the mission statement of the school or not.

For this purpose they evaluate the university’s distinctiveness using the balances score card.

The Ashton School

The Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business was established in early 1960s, and rapidly got renowned for its two year MBA program; business world applications and faculty members were aligned with the modern theories of business world. The graduates of the school also shared the experiences, which they gained during the graduation in the Ashton School. The graduates of Ashton also outperformed other institution’s graduates which were considered to be more prestigious than the Ashton Graduate School.

The Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business put emphasis on the writing of academic articles, and opened the enrollments for the custom programs according with the single company’s requirements. This custom program is the part of the short-course executive education program. This made the changes in the curriculum of the Ashton Graduates School.  This differentiates the Ashton Graduates School from the other graduates schools. In 1980s, business press released the top 20 ranked universities in US and Ashton was among this ranking. This ranking made it possible for the Ashton Graduates School to be the most considered choice for hiring graduates. The ranking of the school became the influencing element for Ashton’s overall performance. The ranking became the direction for the administration to update the resources accordingly. From the perspective of Ashton’s dean, rating was important but it wasn’t the factor to determine what was important for the school, and how differentiated itself from other schools.

Balance Score Card:

There are many tools which are used to determine the strategic goals and objectives. Balance score card is one of them and it has a success lineage for formalizing the organization’s goals into various numbers of critical success factors supported by the key performance indicators. It is the tool which determines the performance in order to align the business activities with the strategic objectives and goals. Alignments of these goals result in achieving the organization’s mission. The original balance score card defines the four key aspects of the business.

Are business processes aligned with the company’s vision and mission? In order to define this question the following four components are used.

What must a company excel at?

What value addition our customers expect from us?

How much value a company generates for its shareholders?

How a company can improve and innovate?

For further elaboration following elements are used in the balanced scorecard:

  • Financial Perspective
  • Internal Processes
  • Learning and Growth
  • Customer Perspective

Strategy Map for Ashton Graduate School:

The strategy map specifically provides the information about the strategic direction towards the objectives that are more significant for all the employees of the company to act on it accordingly. Strategic mapping of the Ashton Graduate School starts with the financial perspective of the balanced score card; after the financial perspective, customer perspective, internal perspective, and learning as well as growth perspective will be mapped according to the balanced score card initiation program.

For Gail Palmer Ashton Graduate School of Business, the following critical success factors are used with the key performance indicators.

Financial Perspective:

For Ashton, shareholders are the trust that provided funds to them. The trustees wanted to gain profit on their findings and from their perspective the school can generate more revenues through its quality of education and this quality of education included facilities provided to its customers. Furthermore, the international recognition is more important from the financial perspective because, if Ashton receives the international recognition than overseas students will enroll in Ashton Graduate School for MBA program, which will increase the profitability of the school. These are the strategies which will be implemented by the company that will create the value added product for shareholders that will help to achieve the financial objectives of the company. It will also make it possible to expand its institutions and develop it into the other parts of the world.

Financial key performance indicators include: return on investment, return on assets, economic value added, and return on capital employed. These key performance indicators determine the value generated from Ashton Graduate...........................

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This case presents students with the opportunity to develop a set of performance indicators based on the four strategic objectives of accounting. Setting high ranking U.S. MBA programs. Students are provided with some basic, limited, but sufficient contextual information about the school, to get an idea of ​​his heritage, recognized the distinctive characteristics and important centers.
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by Mark E. Haskins Source: Darden School of Business 5 pages. Publication Date: August 10, 2008. Prod. #: UV0883-PDF-ENG

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