Avisto Education is a small, fictitious business education company in Myanmar. Students will be required to write a business research proposal and a business research report based on the case information presented below.
January 2018. It was 1:00am in the morning. Dr Win Thein pushed back the papers on his desk, shut down his computer and sighed. This was all looking too difficult. He had just attended a Board meeting of his company Avisto Education where the Board said they were unwilling to continue to financially support the company because of poor results. Unless, of course, he could come up with a plan for improving the financial viability of Avisto Education. However, Win Thein did not know what to do or how to do this.
BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
In 2007 Win Thein graduated from Yangon University in Myanmar with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then had the opportunity through a sponsor (Mr David Lee) to study Management in Singapore. From 2007-2012 he completed a Master’s in Business which was followed by a PhD entitled “Asian Financial Markets – A New Measure of Volatility.”
With this background, Win Thein started Avisto Education in October 2013 to provide certificate courses in select areas of business and management. Avisto Education was based in Yangon, the largest city. These courses were of two months duration, with classes from 9am-12noon each
Applied Research and Consultancy Practices
working day. The five courses which comprise the Certificate in Business are: Managing Projects, Human Resource Management, Supply Chains, Marketing, and Finance. Teachers from Singapore came to teach the first month of each course – these teachers graciously paid for their own flights and accommodation, although Avisto always gave each teacher a small love gift. Win Thein would teach the second month and do all the marking and assessment for each course. He was supported financially by David Lee (his Singapore sponsor) who provided additional income for the young company when required. However, after four years of operation, the company was yet to make a profit.
Data from the first four years of operation are (Profit stated in Myanmar Kyat):
Net Profit (Kyat)
1 Includes an additional 3,750,000 Ks spent on marketing, which was largely ineffective.
The major costs of Avisto Education are labour (Win Thein’s salary) and rental of classroom facilities1. Students pay about 40,000Ks per course, one course at a time. Fees and operating costs increased around 5% each year.
THE PRESENT TIME (February 2018)
As Win Thein reflects on these four years for Avisto Education, many thoughts come to him. First, he enjoys his work of running a company and teaching business subjects to students. By all accounts, he is a good teacher. Second, he realizes that he must make some significant changes; otherwise the company will have to close. And third, he realizes that he needs help.
So… he contacts YOU and invites you to help him – for a fee. As you and Win Thein discuss the situation, the following ideas and possibilities surface – in no particular order.
• Close the company down before you lose more money.
• Running this certificate course in the same way again is not likely to be financially viable.
• What are some of the recent trends in tertiary education – in Myanmar and worldwide?
• What about the possibility of online learning? Win Thein is very interested in this, even though he knows little about it.
• Would evening classes be an alternative strategy to morning classes?
• Maybe it is only a marketing problem, so better marketing would bring more students?
• What different fee structures are possible for students?
• Can Avisto Education have a connection with another respected business college? Perhaps a Singapore business college? Perhaps David Lee can help?
1 Win Thein rents the classroom apartment from his cousin brother for a relatively low cost – about 50% of the market rate.
• What are the expected operating costs of Avisto Education for different possible strategies?
• You and he also discuss the rapid growth of Strategy First (https://strategyfirst.edu.mm/) in Myanmar, which offers a wide range of business courses, including an MBA and is also accredited by a number of respected universities.
• Win Thein tells you that David Lee (who is presently the Board Chairman) is willing to provide a further three years funding for a re-development of Avisto Education, but this will require a coherent and realistic Business Research Report to be presented within a relatively short time frame. [That is, by the end of this course.] This report will make recommendations for the future of Avisto, which both Win Thein and David Lee (and the Board) will need to approve. It is important to remember that David Lee has two goals in mind. One is to make a positive contribution to economic growth in Myanmar through relevant business education of local people. Win Thein also has this goal. The second goal is for Avisto Education to be financially viable long term.
Based on this case information, first you must develop a business research proposal – SEE Business Research Proposal instructions for specific requirements and assessment criteria. Students will, of course, present different proposals. Note that the assessment of your research report will be partly based on your proposal – that is, your final report (Business Research Report) must follow your Business Research Proposal. Don’t forget that!
Then, upon acceptance of your proposal, you must undertake business research on behalf of Avisto Education to recommend a way forward, with clear financial implications – See Business Research Report instructions for specific requirements and assessment criteria. Again, note that the assessment of your research report will be partly based on your proposal – your report must follow your proposal and where it does not, you must explain why.
Such a cheap price for your free time and healthy sleep
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