The Seoul National University Business School: Managing Global Challenge and Cultural Change

Jinsoo Park & Minjung Choi

The Seoul National University Business School (SNUBS) consists of two sub-organizations, the College of Business Administration (CBA) and the Graduate School of Business (GSB). The former, taking control of undergraduate, master, and doctorate programs, has been the main body of the SNU Business School. The latter, newly established at the dawn of Master of Business Administration (MBA) education in the country, is to manage the “Global MBA” program which is aimed at achieving global recognition in World’s business school rankings.
 
As Seoul National University has been administered by the government, faculty and staff were not accustomed to a different type of institution conforming to the North American standard, for example, getting evaluated by the class they taught. A few professors were negative about the new program. However, most of the faculty tried to be positive and proactive about creating new curricula, once they understood the rationale behind the need of MBA education in Seoul National University.
 
As the Global MBA was about to be included to the rankings list, the global competition will be inevitable and ever challenging. If Seoul National University was aimed at reaching number 10 within ten years, the school had far more way to go despite its unique characteristics and strong advantages. To make matters more demanding, competitors from all over the world, particularly Asian institutes, were exerting themselves and going up the ladders rapidly.
 
Considering these changes and challenges, what are the strategic issues and constraints faced by the SNUBS? What have they done in the past and what should they do in the future? What should be given strategic priority? The case will help readers to deep into these management questions and analysis.


Bucking the Trend: A look at Zyme Solutions’ Non-Linear Business Model for IT Services from India

D.V.R. Seshadri

The case describes XGen Technologies (name disguised), an India-based IT Enabled Services (ITES) company having to grapple with the issues of linear growth. The company’s headcount had touched a whopping 40,000 and managing such a large setup was becoming a severe challenge, putting immense pressure on Partha Sen, the CEO, to adopt an innovative business model to sustain historical growth rates of revenue and profitability. This situation was similar to what most Indian ITES companies faced: they had been clocking impressive growth, yet there were concerns about the future.
 
The case then describes some of the strategies that software companies have been adopting in order to achieve greater non-linearity in their business. In particular, the case concentrates on Zyme Solutions, Inc., a fully outsourced hosted data service provider to the high-tech vertical market, which has built as a non-linear business from the ground up, without the legacy of the linear business models to contend with. Students are put in the place of Partha Sen, having to decide on an approach that established companies like XGen could adopt to transition to a non-linear model.


Strategic Decision-Making Mechanism of Yuhan-Kimberly: 1984~2007

Namgyoo K. Park, Jinsung Kim & Hyojung Kim

Yuhan-Kimberly’s core competence is its strategic decision-making process mechanism. During the early 1990s, Yuhan-Kimberly had some serious weaknesses in its major operation divisions. With multinational companies such as P&G coming into the Korean market, the company had to make important decisions. Fortunately, Yuhan-Kimberly was able to make timely strategic decisions at the top management level, successfully dealing with its weaknesses in order to withstand multi-national corporations much bigger than itself.
 
However, if one considers “strategically sound decisions” are all that Yuhan-Kimberly took to accomplish what it has done today, such comment would miss the point. The unique organizational structure, the corporate culture of Yuhan-Kimberly, and the strategic decision-making process are what made the decisions of senior management possible. Only a close inspection of all these factors will reveal the competitive advantage as well as the core competence of Yuhan-Kimberly as a whole.


Piramal Diagnostics

Neeraj Dwivedi & Arvinder Singh

The case presents a decision situation facing the Vice President of strategic planning at Piramal Diagnostics Limited, who has to formulate the future growth strategy and decide on the roadmap. The company is the largest player in the organized medical diagnostics industry in India and has shown attractive growth in the past few years. The case describes the structural characteristics of the medical diagnostics industry in India and follows it with a description of the strengths and weaknesses of Piramal Diagnostics and the strategies adopted by it. The Vice President is expected to choose an appropriate strategic option to help the company achieve its ambitious growth target.


Building a Hospital Alliance – Taiwan Landseed Medical Alliance

Jui-fen Rachel Lu, Terence Tsai & Shubo Philip Liu 

Following the launch of the National Health Insurance (NHI) program in 1995, universal coverage was achieved in Taiwan. In the period immediately following the introduction of the program, private hospitals did well and many opportunists entered Taiwan’s rapidly expanding, prosperous healthcare market. However, the boom did not last long, ending with Bureau of NHI’s hospital global budget system in 2002. The new NHI policies, stricter regulations, and higher public expectations of healthcare services intensified competition in the healthcare market and many private hospitals were forced to close.
 
The Taiwan Landseed Medical Alliance (TLMA) was formed in 1993 by eight hospitals. It was the first successful hospital alliance in Taiwan. Although most of the alliance members were private district hospitals, through collaboration and integrated networks TLMA offered a unique model that combined the strength of each of these small-scale hospitals. The alliance thus enhanced the ability of its members to survive despite fierce competition, and increased their capacity to provide first-rate health care. By fully implementing the operations and development strategies inherent in a collaborative hospital group, TLMA members worked through difficulties together and are already on course to meet many other alliance goals including the upgrading of hospital management practices and service quality, improvement of the medical environment, and promotion of good hospital practice.
 
The case aims to evoke discussion on the important role of alliances in competitive markets and ways to form strategic alliances. Supportive actions and alliance structures should also be considered.


The Encounter

Mohan Gopinath, Edwin Castelino & Srividya Iyengar

This case is based on real life incidents in a large international bank. There is a confrontation between an experienced officer (who does not have an MBA degree) and a newly recruited officer who is a novice to office decorum. There is a crisis because of the encounter between the strong willed experienced banker and the newly recruited one who possess an MBA degree. There was a simmering discontent in the senior banker because she did not possess the required qualifications (degree in Business Administration) to move up the ladder. Circumstances in her younger days had forced her to take up the job in the bank but without this qualification, and the matter had rankled in her mind. Over the years, this had taken the form of a simmering dislike of everyone who possessed this degree, in spite of her best efforts to try and maintain a professional and detached relationship with the degree holders. The situation was also exacerbated by the fact that she felt that the younger employees did not treat her with the respect she deserved because of the lack of the professional degree.
 
The case also shows the sometimes devious ways in which senior bankers who are in positions of trust can have a detrimental impact on the career of younger officers if the latter  do not live up to their expectations in terms of office decorum and discipline. Experience is always a good teacher but it should be kept in mind that academic inputs brought in by employees also have their value in the success of an organization. The case does not end with a tidy conclusion and it is up to the reader to try and find possible solutions on how to resolve the issues raised.


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