Case Studies

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Cargill: Keeping the Family Business Private

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan and Assoc Prof Yupana Wiwattanakantang

Publication Date: 18/04/2016

When Margaret A. Cargill passed away in 2006, her 17.5 per cent stake in Cargill went to Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MAC). MAC lobbied for her stake to be liquidated. Cargill proceeded to shed its 64 per cent stake in Mosaic, North America’s second-largest fertilizer company, in exchange for Margaret Cargill’s stake in the company, in order to maintain control over the company. Like many second- and third-generation family businesses, Cargill’s current family owners were not actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company. Was spinning off Mosaic in the best long-term interests of Cargill? Were there other feasible ways in which Cargill could have better facilitated the liquidation of Margaret Cargill’s stake?

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Din Tai Fung: The Art of the Dumpling

by Assoc Prof H. Brian Hwarng and Assoc Prof Xuchuan Yuan (Harbin Institute of Technology)

Publication Date: 11/04/2016

AWARD WINNING CASE – This case won the Best Teaching Case Studies Award at the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), 2015. In 2014, as one of the most well-known Taiwanese cuisine brands, Din Tai Fung operated more than 100 restaurants around the world. Attracted by its signature xialongbao (soup dumpling), long queues of customers at Din Tai Fung’s storefront were a common sight. Requests for partnerships for global expansion were constantly arriving. Customer feedback from overseas, however, suggested a notable gap in service quality between the overseas and Taiwanese branches. The demand for support by overseas branches had also surged significantly due to the fast pace of growth in recent years. The company’s chief executive officer had deferred his plan to open the 10th branch in Taiwan. Nevertheless, plans to open new branches in overseas markets were enthusiastically evaluated by existing partners. Two new potential partnership offers from Dubai and the Philippines were being aggressively pursued. What was the best way to cope with the increasing number of requests for support from overseas branches and to ensure high quality? Should Din Tai Fung approve the two overseas offers for partnership that seemed promising? What was the best overseas expansion strategy?

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LUX*: Staging a Service Revolution in a Resort Chain

By Professor Jochen Wirtz and Mr Ron Kaufman (Founder and Chairman of UP! Your Service Pte. Ltd.)

Publication Date: 15/04/2016

LUX* was a successful hospitality group operating in the Indian Ocean as well as other locations. In its previous incarnation, the company suffered from poor financial performance, poor service quality and a weak brand. A change in the leadership of the company led the group through a transformation, which showed positive results within 12 months. This case study describes a service revolution that lead to rapid improvements in service culture and guest experience, which in turn lead to sustained financial improvements on a quarter-onquarter basis.

APLO: Optimal Supply of Street Lights

by Assoc Prof Singfat Chu, Ms Nicole Lo (MBA student), Mr Clark Hsu (MBA student ), Mr Masahiro Okumura (MBA student), Mr R. J. Guzman (MBA student) and Ms Lisa Santoso (MBA student)

Publication Date: 10/02/2016

APLO was a reputable supplier of LED lighting systems for diverse countries from Taiwan to the United Kingdom. In 2015, APLO signed a contract to supply and install 30,000 pieces of 60-watt ecological street lights in several towns within one of Indonesia’s provinces. With over 250 million inhabitants, Indonesia was in dire need of modernizing its infrastructure as it expanded economically. Having already been contracted for street lighting in several parts of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, APLO was eager for more projects across Indonesia. Would APLO be able to make this its showcase project and win many more contracts throughout Indonesia’s 34 provinces?

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Lyxor ChinaH Versus Lyxor MSIndia: Portfolio Risk and Return

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 02/02/2016

In September 2015, Susie reflected on the performance of her personal investment portfolio over the past seven years. Susie had invested in two exchange traded funds (ETFs): Lyxor ChinaH and Lyxor MSIndia. She was now considering Lyxor USDJIA as a third ETF to diversify her risk. This analysis would involve the concept of portfolio diversification and the application of the capital asset pricing model. In addition, Susie would need to calculate mean returns, standard deviations, covariances, correlations, betas, and required returns in order to fully assess the merits of her decision. Although Susie had been satisfied with her portfolio performance over the past seven years, the high growth in these two emerging markets had fizzled out lately. Should Susie diversify her portfolio or remain invested in China and India only?

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Colgate: Regaining Leadership in India's Sensitive Teeth Market

by Dr Doreen Kum

Publication Date: 16/12/2015

In April 2013, Colgate-Palmolive, a long-term front runner in a consumer goods business that specialized in oral care products, lost its dominance for the sensitive teeth toothpaste market in India. It was a dominance that Colgate-Palmolive had managed to build over the years by being a first mover and by leveraging its reputation as a leader in oral care products. However, new global and local competitors entered the market with diverse product variants and aggressive marketing campaigns, and started to erode the company’s market share. By mid-2013, the fight for market share was fierce and on the verge of becoming even more intense. Could Colgate-Palmolive regain its dominance? How should the company navigate these extremely competitive tides to regain its lost market share?

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Tiger Balm: Internationalization and Product Extension

by Assoc Prof Nitin Pangarkar

Publication Date: 22/12/2015

Haw Par Corporation’s healthcare division produces Tiger Balm, the external analgesic rub that has gained global popularity. Despite delivering strong results, the division remains dependent on Asian markets, which poses challenges with regard to low affordability, weak protection of intellectual property and aggressive competition. To achieve sustained growth, the company’s executive director is considering several alternatives: geographic expansion, by entering more markets; product expansion, through deeper penetration of existing markets with new products; and extending the brand into the highly competitive wellness space. He also needs to decide whether the division should pursue organic or inorganic growth.

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Google Glass: Development, Marketing and User Acceptance

by Assoc Prof Thompson S.H. Teo, Mr Kian Teck Chua (BBA graduated student), Mr Zhiyi Yong (BBA  student), Mr Timothy Dao Sheng Lim (BBA graduated student) and Mr Jonathan Jun Jie Boon (BBA graduated student)

Publication Date: 21/12/2015

This case introduces the key features of Google’s wearable technology product “Glass” and illustrates the tensions that Google faced over the development and marketing of this product. The case goes on to highlight the growing backlash that Google experienced when promoting Glass.

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Standard Chartered Bank: Valuation and Capital Structure

by Assoc Prof Ruth S. K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 08/12/2015

Following a turbulent 2014 for Standard Chartered Bank, the bank’s largest shareholder, Temasek Holdings, began showing indications that it was seriously considering offloading at least a portion of its massive shareholdings in Standard Chartered Bank. This case seeks to provide a fair valuation of Standard Chartered Bank’s intrinsic value, as well as rationalize the most appropriate way for Standard Chartered Bank to raise funds to satisfy the higher capital requirements under Basel III regulatory rules. Assuming that Standard Chartered Bank decided to hold on to its significant bank investments and to raise funds to satisfy the higher capital requirements, what could be some possible financing alternatives? Would it help to attract more bank deposits, raise debt, or go for a seasoned offering? What would be the impact of these financing alternatives? Finally, what would be a suitable recommendation on how to raise the funds if one took the valuation results into consideration?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
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Korean Air: The "Nut Rage" Incident

by Assoc Prof Thompson S.H. Teo and Ms Mei Jie Zhao (BBA Double degree graduated student)

Publication Date: 30/11/2015

In December 2014, after receiving poor service on a flight, a senior vice president at Korean Air lashed out at the flight attendants and delayed the flight’s departure until the chief attendant was returned to the gate. Following a tepid apology from her father, Korean Air’s chief executive officer, her actions drew a public backlash because they exposed the sense of entitlement prevalent among rich family conglomerates in South Korea. How should she have reacted in the face of the service failure? Why had she become the target of a public backlash? What could Korean Air do to mitigate the negative effects of this incident?

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To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (

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