A recommendation memo is a routinely used document in leading firms and the preferred document used by CEOs. Therefore, it is essential that you gain some practice at writing them. The purpose of a recommendation memo is to concisely recommend a course of action and provide rationale supporting the recommendation. This document describes how you should approach writing a recommendation memo for the case assignments. The second part of this note gives you a sample memo that you should use to write your own memos for these assignments. Note that the format of the memos may vary from company to company. Therefore, while following the memo format as given in this note, bear in mind that the goal here is to expose you to memo writing rather than force a memo format on you.


The recommendation memo is a one-page document (not including exhibits) that recommends your course of action and rationale.  This format promotes a concise and clear strategic thought process. Equally importantly, it mimics managerial practice.


    Start by stating your recommendation.
    What would be the results if implemented?  Be specific (resulting in 10% increase in revenue within the 1st year). Quantifying the results and adding the timeframe is especially beneficial.
    End with what action you are looking for the addressee to do in order to proceed. (Upon board approval, implementation will begin within x days)
    Do not use this section to go over all the facts of the case.

This paragraph explains why we are talking about this today.  It lays out the story.

    Highlight what brought the organization to this moment, why we are in this position, what brought about the need to make this decision?
    Constraints – such as budget, capacity, technology, people, etc.
    This section is both brief and factual.  Keep it short and cite your sources.
    Is the background clear, concise, and easy to follow?  Are only the pertinent facts outlined here?
    Does it explain why action is needed now?

Issues & Analysis

    List 3-4 of the most pressing issues facing the organization.
    Here you perform your analysis of the situation.  Much of this can be done using the strategic tool (identified in the Course Schedule or you may use one out of your textbook) and can be placed in an appendix.  Simply summarize your findings here and refer to the appendix

Here, you detail what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
    The details of “what”, “when”, and “how”. NO “why”.
    This section should be very specific (100% clear).  It must be actionable.  The reader should be able to read this and know how to carry out this recommendation.
    Most cases will require more than one recommendation.

Basis for Recommendation
Here the reader learns WHY each recommendation is the UNIQUE right thing to do.
    2-3 solid reasons are typical.  Any other action should seem less appealing.
    This section flows from introduction and flows to the original recommendations.
    Support includes impact on profit, share, AND anything else affecting long-term business goals.
    Shows how the recommendation will put the firm at a competitive advantage or is simply a competitive necessity.
    The goal is to read the basis and conclude the recommendation.

    Outline other alternatives that were considered but not selected.
    Discuss risks and key assumptions of your recommendation.
    Is the analysis thorough with key alternatives fairly considered?
    Risks associated with recommendation are properly addressed?

    Orient to the reader
    Specify date and action needed (what will be done, by whom, and by when)

7 Exhibits
An Exhibit can be a graph, grid, or a strategic tool.
    List assumptions used in calculations. Do not assume that the reader can read between the lines. So, make every assumption explicit.
If using a strategic tool, summarize your finding in either the exhibit or the Issues & Analysis section of your memo.
Exhibits should have Title, sources, footnotes to calculation.  The point of the Exhibit should be instantly clear to the reader.
Exhibits should be cited in the proper order (i.e., do not cite Exhibit 4 first in your Memo and then Exhibit 2).

Every memo may not include every element described above.  The specific case will dictate what must be included.  An example is provided attached

The criteria for grading individual written case analyses include:
• Identification of key problems/strategic issues.
• Demonstrate that you can use the tools and techniques of strategic management presented in your textbook. Both breadth and depth of analysis will be evaluated.
• Present realistic workable, well-supported recommendations for action.
• Use good communication skills. Each case should be written using good grammar and formatted to meet APA requirements. Mistakes, bad grammar and lack of format will reflect in your score on the assignment. Proof read all assignments. Don’t rely on spell check to correct all mistakes. Properly document all sources of references—no exceptions.
• Evidence of adequate preparation, pride of workmanship, and display of professional attitude and approach. See Appendix A for detail requirements and a sample memo. Use these as you prepare your Recommendation Memo.


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