Business Studies

Business Studies

You work as a business analyst for an online gaming company. Your boss has asked you to carry out some analysis and produce a report for the newly appointed director of the Analytics Department concerning adoption rates (i.e. percentage of people purchasing an annual subscription) for an online multi-player game introduced last year. This is a game which the department expects to be very successful and increase significantly the competitiveness and presence of the company in the online gaming market. The game was first introduced last winter and is targeted to people of all ages, and from all parts of society. To be able to play and participate in the online community users need to pay an annual subscription fee.

To promote the adoption of the game the past few months there has been a concerted advertising campaign throughout the country. Part of the campaign included setting up demonstration centres so that customers can try the game prior to making a purchasing decision. As the cost of this type of promotion is high, one demonstration centre was set up in every city, of which there are 32.

However, the new director (Robert Vans) believes that so far the adoption rate for the new game has been very disappointing. The target for this year had been to reach an adoption rate of at least 25% however, he has heard that many cities may have fallen a long way short of this target, despite the considerable advertising expenditure.

He would therefore like you to write a report addressed to him, containing an analysis of the information he has regarding this year’s adoption rates, and has outlined his requests and concerns in a letter which is shown in Appendix 1 at the end of this document.
General advice

It is very important to you that you produce an impressive report. Mr Vans is an important and influential person and, perhaps even more importantly, he is suggesting in his letter (see attached) that he may wish to show and discuss your report with the board of directors.

You will see that Mr Vans has asked you for some specific information but is rather more vague about the best way to analyse some of the issues – although these are important issues to him, he isn’t sure what type of analysis might be best. Therefore it is up to you to decide which analyses you think he would find useful and it is also up to you how to display the results.

You will also see from the letter that Mr Vans has asked you for some advice about a more detailed study he is planning to undertake. Again make sure you answer the specific questions but feel free to add in any advice that you believe he would find useful. However, ensure that your advice relies on the analysis of the data that you have been provided with and is not pure speculation.

Your report should be written according to the guidelines given in the Week 6 lectures and the document “Advice on writing reports” (on Moodle). This is important – a report that contains accurate calculations but does not convey them in an appropriate way may not receive a very high grade (rightly so, because you would run the risk of being sacked!).

Your report should not need to be more than about ten pages long. If you make it a lot longer simply in order to include every analysis you can think of, whether or not it could be useful, then you could end up with a low grade. So please be selective.
It would be possible to use techniques beyond those taught in this module (for example multiple regression). While this would not be technically wrong, and you will not be marked down for doing so correctly, it is not necessary for this case, so please confine yourself to techniques taught on MSCI 100/110.

Your grade will be determined by:
• the relevance and accuracy of the analyses you undertake and the way in which you explain them, present them and draw conclusions from them (60% weighting)
• your advice on the sampling issue (15%)
• the report’s structure and general professionalism including clarity and the quality of English (25%)
General instructions

Please write a management report according to the requirements set out and submit it electronically by the deadline specified in the email that you receive.

This coursework is to be done as an individual piece of work. While it is only natural that you will discuss the coursework exercise with other students, this must not go beyond general discussion. All your analysis and the whole of your report must be your own work alone. Collusion between students and plagiarism are regarded as very serious offences and will be penalised severely. Software designed to detect plagiarism and collusion will be used.

Late work without an agreed extension will be penalised according to the University rules. Extensions may in certain rare circumstances be given but to obtain an extension you must download the extension request form from the Management Science department FAQ on Moodle, fill it in and submit it to the undergraduate secretary, Helena Greenwood.

You are strongly advised to make back-up copies of your work during the project – loss of work or delays caused by computer or printer problems will not be accepted as a reason for an extension.
APPENDIX 1 – LETTER FROM ROBERT VANS

From : Robert Vans To: xxxx
Director of Predictive Analytics Business Analyst
Department of Analytics
22nd July 2013

Dear xxxx

I would greatly appreciate it if you could write me a brief report concerning the matters described below.

As you know, we have just completed an extensive advertising of our company’s new multi-player online game. In the attached Excel file (game_data.xls) I have entered the number of annual subscriptions obtained from each city. Unfortunately this is all the information which is disappointing. Nevertheless, I hope that this information will help to inform us how to proceed in the future.

Please can you display this information in a suitable manner so that the overall picture can be easily seen? I have also inserted the total population of each city; so please can you use this also to show the adoption rates in each city? I really need something that gives an overall picture at a glance if possible, not only for my own benefit but also because I will be wanting to show this the board of directors of our company. So please give us diagrams and charts rather than just large tables of numbers. However, some numbers are of course important, and so it would be helpful if you could include useful averages and measures of variation alongside these diagrams, charts, graphs etc.

I suspect that the data may show rather different adoption rates for different cities, and I would like to find out the reasons for this. Please therefore can you try to dig a little deeper and present further diagrams, graphs, charts etc. that might help explain this variation. Three theories have been put to me:

1. The different age distributions in different cities may have an effect. Are older people more likely to purchase annual subscriptions? Are parents more likely to buy the game for their children? We really don’t have much of a clue about this.
2. People living in cities where there was a higher rate of adoption last year are more likely to come forward to obtain an annual subscription this year.
3. Because of the time involved in commuting to the demonstration centres, the adoption rate may tend to be lower for cities with high average commuting time.
Please can you test these theories? I have included some information in the Excel file that should help you with this.

Also, as part of an attempt to get to know the areas better and why they have had different adoption rates so far, I intend to spend some time based at some of our demonstration centres. However, I won’t have time to visit more than about ten of them, and so I was wondering how I should choose which centres to visit.

I’m wondering if you could advise me on this matter, please? I want to make the choice at least partly at random, to avoid bias, and also so that no centre manager feels that he or she is being picked on (or overlooked) intentionally, but I also want to ensure that I see a representative sample of centres, especially with regard to adoption rates.

What do you think? I vaguely remember from my student days learning about cluster samples and quota samples and systematic samples and stratified samples and simple random samples …. I can remember the names but I can’t remember what they all mean.

Please can you therefore recommend a sampling method to use for this survey, or perhaps some different alternatives, together with any pros and cons? Please be as precise as you can about the exact way in which I should choose my sample.

Regards

Robert Vans
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