Business Strategy Game Strategic Intent

The strategic intent of Elite Shoe Company is to continue to be a cost leader. Our intent is to obtain a large market share of the private label segment, wholesale segment and internet market. Elite Shoe Company produces shoes at fair quality, but at excellent prices. Our goal for the future is to expand our capacity to meet the demand for our shoes. We have recently upgraded both of our factories in order to increase capacity. Elite Shoe Company upgraded our North American plant with option D in order to increase our worker productivity. For our Asia-Pacific plant, we upgraded the factory with option A, which reduced our reject rate by 50% It is our intent that in the future we build a plant in either Europe-Africa or Latin America. Elite Shoe Company intends to continue to expand our production capacity to meet the demand of our shoes.

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Ethics Essay

RMI Research Paper
November 24, 2014
We live in a society in which marijuana is readily available for anyone to buy. The drug is illegal, but is not heavily enforced as the nation becomes more and more accepting of the drug. The individuals who are currently profiting off of the drug are illegal Mexican cartels and other illegal growers. Even though I personally do not use the drug, I believe its legalization could prove advantageous for America and all of its citizens. I support the legalization of marijuana so America can begin to make tax revenue off of the drug and the many other advantages it would offer our country.
America spends billions of dollars incarcerating its citizens for the use of marijuana. In 2013 alone, 750,000 people were arrested due to marijuana (Drucker, 2014). The Huffington Post reported that in 2013 alone, the American government spent a total of $20 billion on enforcing marijuana laws. Jeffrey Miron conducted the study that reported the high spending on enforcement; he argues that $20 billion is an incredible amount of money to spend on a drug that does little harm to its users (Sledge, 2013). I believe that we should eliminate those high enforcement costs and instead tax the drug and turn it into a profit.
It is astonishing to many people that marijuana is illegal and alcohol is legal and readily available. Alcohol is also known to kill individuals who consume it while marijuana has not killed anyone for overdosing on the drug. In 2013 alone 2.5 million people were killed by alcohol (NCADD, 2013). That is an incredibly alarming amount of people. It can be argued using Bentham’s Calculus of Pleasure that marijuana brings a high level of happiness to individuals (Mappes, Zembaty and Degrazia, 2012). The effects of the drug are know to be intense, the duration of those effects are for several hours, the certainty that the “high” will occur after smoking is certain, the immediacy is almost instant, the purity of the drug would not be nearly as questioned if America made it legal, and the extent would be great because every American would benefit from tax revenue. If marijuana was legalized individuals would have to use the doctrine of the mean to determine the correct balance of using the drug (Mappes, Zembaty and Degrazia, 2012). I think this would not be an issue as most individuals of society only consume alcohol at appropriate times. It is appalling to many that alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal when it could bring so many benefits to society.
I believe that marijuana legalization can also be argued using utilitarianism. Utilitarianism aims to produce the greatest amount of good for the most amount of people (Mappes, Zembaty and Degrazia, 2012). Currently 52% Americans support marijuana legalization and that number continues to rise (Sledge, 2013). Marijuana legalization would bring the most amount of happiness to Americans because a majority of us support its legalization, 750,000 individuals would not be incarcerated on a yearly basis, money would not need to be spent on enforcing the drug and the federal government would be able to make billions of dollars of tax revenue off of the drug. Individuals who smoke the drug would be happy because they get to smoke marijuana, while the rest of society would be happy because we would be taxing them greatly. It can be argued through utilitarianism that marijuana should be legalized in America.
Opponents of marijuana legalization may make several good arguments as to why you should not support legalization. These opponents might argue that marijuana legalization will lead to other drugs being readily accepted in society. I would counter that argument with the end of prohibition did not lead to the significant rise in use of other drugs, why would this be any different? Marijuana is already readily accepted in society, why not profit off of what is already occurring? More harsh drugs like cocaine are not readily accepted in society like marijuana and their harmful affects are well known. Does drinking alcohol lead to people using meth? For those reasons I would argue that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Opponents of marijuana might argue that they are concerned that the drug may get into the hands of children. I am proposing a 21 year old age limit, just as alcohol. Some teenagers will be able to get their hands on the drug, just as some teenagers are able to get alcohol. It would be the job of police officers to cite any children with the drug and also the stores to make sure that the purchasing individual would be 21. Some teenagers will have an older friend buy the drug for them, but if that teenager is so dedicated to getting the drug he would be able to get it from a dealer if it was illegal.
A common argument against marijuana is that the drug id mind altering. Examples of “mind altering” include euphoria, hallucinations, panic or paranoia. I would argue that marijuana does not make individuals hallucinate or panic. I argue that your daily cup of coffee is mind-altering, should that be illegal? Marijuana brings a sense of euphoria to the individuals that use it. Should not that effect be celebrated instead of cited as a reason in which it should be banned? The morning cup of coffee full of the drug caffeine brings euphoria to individuals and yet it is celebrated in society and is completely legal.
A commonly cited fear of marijuana legalization is that it will lead to addiction among its users. Shapiro states that “No drug is inherently addictive”. The factors that determine if an individual will become addicted are individual predisposition and social environment (Mappes, Zembaty and Degrazia, 2012). We can control the social environment which would reduce the chance an individual becomes addicted. Individual predisposition is something that we would not be able to address, but we can use part of the tax revenue to create support services for these rare individuals. Roger Roffman of the New York Times states that only 9% of marijuana users resulted in a dependence of the drug and he argues that number will not change with legalization (Roffman, 2013). I believe that number will actually decrease because we would be able to establish support systems for the low number of individuals who do develop a dependence. Dependent individuals would be able to receive the help that they need. The framework of the system would be able to evolve is the system becomes more established. 9% of individuals developing a slight to severe dependence to marijuana pales in comparison to the benefits that would be added to society.
Marijuana legalization would also be good for society because it would decrease criminal activity while creating more jobs for society. Steve Fox from the New York Times argues that the marijuana market which was once underground, has been taken out of the hands of criminals and drug cartels. In addition to taking the market from criminals, it has created 10,000 legal jobs just in Colorado (Fox, 2013). If marijuana was legal federally, imagine all of the jobs that it would create. It is incredible that 10,000 jobs were immediately created in a developing market in one state. The amount of jobs that America would be able to add to its economy would be substantial. Taking the jobs away from criminals and giving those jobs to hard working Americans would add great utility to society.
I argue that marijuana be legalized on the grounds of utilitarianism. Legalization of marijuana would have a great affect on society and would make everyone happier. The legalization of marijuana will add tax revenue, create thousands of jobs, eliminate enforcement costs, reduce criminal activity and will allow individuals to legally use a drug that is already widely accepted. Close to 1 million Americans are arrested every year for marijuana when this is not necessary. Marijuana is much less dangerous than alcohol and will give adults a legal option to use the less harmful marijuana. Society could improve the marijuana distribution system as it ages and works its kinks out. Marijuana is commonly cited as a gateway drug when this is not true. Instead of banning marijuana, society should legalize it and reap the economic and utilitarian benefits that the drug offers.
Sources Cited
Sledge, Matt. “Marijuana Prohibition Now Costs The Government $20 Billion A Year: Economist.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 20 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

Mappes, Thomas A., and Jane S. Zembaty. Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

“2.5 Million Alcohol-Related Deaths Worldwide- Annually.” NCADD. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Fox, Steve. “Problems Are Exaggerated in Unfair Coverage.” New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2014.

Drucker, Ernest. “Learn to Make Marijuana Safer, but Keep It Legal.” New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Sabet, Kevin. “Marijuana Is Now Big Business.” New York Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

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Strategic Management Company Report

Ryan Kessler
Company Strategy Report

Eastman Kodak currently employs a cost leadership strategy. Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization defines cost leadership strategy as an “integrated set of actions taken to produce goods or services with features that are acceptable to customers at the lowest cost, relative to those of competitors (Ireland and Hoskisson, 2013.” The evolution of the photograph industry and Kodak’s failure to evolve with the industry has forced the company to change its strategy. Kodak once used a differentiation strategy in which its cameras were more innovative than others and that is what sold product. Kodak has streamlined operations by selling off non-essential assets and their imaging business (Kodak, 2014). Kodak is now focused on cost leadership strategy in which it cheaply sells printers in order to turn a profit off of consumables like ink (hubpages, 2011). The cost leadership strategy could prove valuable for Kodak by helping them gain market share of the printing business. The risk of Kodak using a cost leadership strategy could be competitors innovations could render their product useless. An example of this could be a competitor such as HP creating a paperless system that makes Kodak printers obsolete. Kodak’s business level strategy is cost leadership.
Kodak current Corporate Social Responsibility includes an environmental strategy called “Kodak Cares” which is used to limit environmental impact and an employee well being program called the Kodak Employee Safety Program. Kodak Cares products have a small green leaf on the outside of the packaging that informs you that the product is highly efficient and eco-friendly. The Kodak Cares Products are designed to use little to no chemicals, energy efficient and to save ink. The Kodak Employee Safety Program is set in place to attempt to eliminate all work-related injuries, offer several health plans for employees and offer guidance to employees that are in mental distress (Eastman Kodak, 2014). A deeper look into Kodak’s past reveals a failure to duty in Corporate Social Responsibility, more specifically environmental factors. Kodak dumped waste into the Genesee River and other areas in Rochester causing disastrous amounts of pollution. The damage that Kodak caused is considered the most extensive groundwater and soil contamination ever found in Rochester. Much of the pollution was caused from silver that was used to make photographic paper. Kodak has spent millions on cleaning the pollution and is setting aside $49 million dollars in a trust for future clean-up (USA Today, 2013). Kodak’s CSR is focusing on providing a safe environment for its employees to work in and create environmentally friendly products. Kodak’s current environmental CSR is in stark contrast to the pollution it caused in the Genesee River and resulting damage.
Kodak is currently a very financially weak company. The company has streamlined its operations by selling off of its consumer imaging and document imaging business. Kodak hopes that this will make the company “financially leaner” (Kodak, 2014).The chart located at the bottom of the paper demonstrates the downfall Kodak and how it has been on a slide since 1982. The chart shows how the companies stock price, revenues, earnings and local employment have drastically declined for the last 30 years (RBJ,2010). The result of the company streamlining operations has been shrinking liabilities and assets. The company had assets of $4,321,000,000 in 2012 compared to $3,200,000,000 in 2013 (Kodak Investor, 2013). In the last available quarter (2Q 2013), Kodak reported an operating loss of $26,000,000 and a net income of ($62,000,000) Yahoo Finance, 2014). The stock price of Kodak is currently $18.53 which is a significant drop from the $37.20 that Kodak was worth on January 9, 2014 (Nasdaq, 2014). Kodak is currently contracting and is fighting to stay alive. A direct competitor to Kodak, Canon currently has a stock price of $31.09, nearly double that of Kodaks (Yahoo Finance). Kodak is currently in poor financial shape.
Kodak used to be an industry leader in innovation. Kodak owned patents and conducting research that allowed it to be the most innovative photography company. New technologies have made Kodaks past innovations irrelevant which is a large part of Kodak’s financial problems. Charles Mees used to inspire his employees to go into the public spheres to share their innovations and helped foster wonderful ideas (medium, 2014). Mees led the company to great innovations, but he is long gone and the company is headed towards a new path. Kodak must once again become an innovator, but this time with printing and commercial imaging. Kodak must do this by creating the most efficient printers using materials, deposition and imaging sciences.
My recommendation is that Kodak adopt an integrated cost leadership/differentiation strategy. Kodak needs to invest in its future by spending heavily in research and development. Kodak currently cheaply sells printers and then makes its money off of selling ink. The company must continue to expand in the printer business and differentiate itself by producing the most efficient and environmentally friendly printers and inks. In the past, Kodak was wildly acceptable because it had the most innovative technology and best product. The company can return to past greatness by becoming an innovator once again. The company must also prove to customers that it truly has a great Corporate Social Responsibility. If the company can prove to businesses that it provides printing and imaging services to that it is the most environmentally friendly and efficient. If Kodak proves this to customers, it will gain market share and begin to dominate the industry. The company already offers its inks very cheaply, if the company can prove that their products are the best companies will not have a reason to not begin to use Kodak products. The value associated with the name Kodak will also help the company penetrate the market. Kodak would differentiate itself from competitors by creating a unique value by saving the customer money with efficient, cheap inks while also making the businesses good for using eco-friendly ink. Kodak can return to former greatness by adopting an integrated cost leadership/differentiation strategy. The company must continue to sell its inks and printers cheaply, but must differentiate itself from customers by providing unique efficiency and demonstrating how dedicated Kodak is to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Work’s Cited

Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisso. (2013). Strategic Management: Competitiveness and Globalization. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Our Company. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2014, from http://www.kodak.com/ek/us/en/about.kodak.top/ourcompany.htm

“The Rise and Fall of Eastman Kodak, an Emblem of American Business Excellence’. (2011, October). Retrieved from <http://socsyc.hubpages.com/hub/the-rise-and-fall-of-eastman-kodak-an-emblem-of-american-business-excellnce&gt;

“Kodak CSR.” Kodak stewardship. N.p.,n.d. Web 21 Sept. 2014. <http://www.kodak.com&gt;

Orr, S. (n.d.). Kodak Taking Steps To Hand off Environmental Concern. Retrieved November 1, 2014.

Kodak Financial chart. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2014. <http://www.rbj.net/!userfiles/image/Kodakcharts1982-2010.jpg&gt;

KODK Income Statement Eastmn Kodak Company Common NE Stock – Yahoo! Finance (n.d.). retrieved October 17, 2014.

Hendrix, J. (2014, February 3). Three insights from Kodak could Save your business. Retreieve October 27, 2014, from https://medium.com/@justin hendrix/three-insights-from-kodak-could-save-your-business-727207bcfaa2

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War and Religion Essay

Ryan Kessler
War and Religion, Fall
12/2/2013
Christianity: War and Peace

Religion throughout the ages has been an epicenter for violence. Different groups have fought other groups over religious differences that has resulted in countless deaths. Christianity is a religion that has a history that is intertwined with violence. An example of this is the Holy Wars that popes would call for also known as the crusade. Christianity has also promoted peace while bringing people together. Christianity is a religion that has been a reason for violence in the past, but also has promoted peace bringing many different kinds of people together and doing a lot of good for the world.
The bloody past of Christianity is well known. It is well known that the popes called for the crusades that resulted in thousands being slaughtered. The first Crusade occurred in 1095 when Pope Urban II demanded a Holy War. These wars were particularly gruesome and killed many. Crusaders first arrived in Jerusalem in 1099 when they brutally slaughtered 40,000 people. The region had been peaceful for over 400 years as Jews, Christians and Muslims had lived side by side without any major conflict (Armstrong, 1998). The crusaders not only spelled the end of this peace, they annihilated thousands of people in the name of religion. In modern society, Christians refer to themselves as peaceful people that would not kill anyone. This however is not true of the past as thousands of people were slaughtered in the name of Christianity. The Crusades is the violent reality of the past, but there are many modern examples of how religion has been a driving force behind peace.
The greatest role model for Christians towards being peaceful came in the form of their savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus never used violence against any of his opponents and instead spread the message of peace and love. Jesus always believed in forgiveness as no human lives without sin and no person is unworthy of forgiveness. Even in the imminent face of death, Jesus forgave his oppressors and never passed judgment upon any individual. Jesus taught individuals to “love their enemies”, a powerful message from a man who had to come to terms with crucifixion. The death of Jesus Christ did not silence Jesus’ message of peace, it helped spread it. Jesus’ peaceful message was carried on from his disciples and spread to the world. Christians now measure over 1.5 billion people and have members that reside in every nation in the world. The message of peace that Jesus Christ instilled in Christians has been spread throughout the church and now reaches over a billion people (Coward, Harold and Smith, 2004, page 149.
Christianity has promoted peace and has brought people from many different facets of life together bad has proven a force in peacebuilding. Christianity has been a large reason for peace being brought to areas of Algeria, Albania, Burundi, Guatemala and Kosovo (Coward, Harold and Smith, 2004, page 147). The Pastor and the Imam are an example of Christianity bringing peace in Africa. Many Christians refuse to kill or join the military because they believe it goes against their religion; Christian pacifism has been a strong element to the religion. Throughout history Christian leaders such as “Saint Francis, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Desomond Tutu and Dorothy Day”, were known as Christians who were fighting for peace even if it meant sacrificing their lives (Coward, Harold and Smith, 2004, page 149). Christianity has been a powerful tool in bringing individuals together and promoting peace.
Christianity played a large role in the accompanying violence that occurred with apartheid and the subsequent peace and reconciliation that would take place afterward. The Dutch Reformed Church provided discriminatory practices that helped start the beginning of apartheid. Apartheid was a racist set of laws in South Africa that made Blacks second class citizens. Apartheid was made up of the Population Registration Act of 1950, The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949, The Immorality Act of 1950, The Black Abolition of Passes and Coordination of Documents Act of 1952, The Group Areas Act of 1950, The Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953 and the Bantu Education act of 1953. The combination of these laws was known as Apartheid and Christianity played a major role in enabling it. The Dutch Reformed Church, a form of Christianity, altered bible verses in order to instill a religious nationalism in the white South Africans known as the Afrikaners. Theologian Abraham Kuyper supported apartheid and justified his beliefs by stating that “the creator recognized certain spheres of human activity that had identities and intrinsic organic orders that set them apart.” Kuyper is justifying the violence and oppression that occurred against the black community by saying that the white Afrikaners have identity and naturally are superior to blacks. Christianity played a large role in bringing an end to apartheid by having its many churches oppose and speak out against it as the DRC was the only church which endorsed it. The World Council of Churches supported the Cottesloe Consultation in Australia which protested against apartheid in South Africa. The process was long and arduous, but the South African government adopted 17 resolutions paving the long road for apartheid to end in 1994. Apartheid is a great example of both violence and peace in Christianity. The Dutch Reformed Church played a large role in inspiring Afrikan nationalism that implemented an ideology that the white citizens were inherently superior to the black citizens. Apartheid was a very violent period in South Africa and the black citizens known as “Africans” were oppressed (Johnston and Sampson, 1998). Desmond Tutu a black South African Anglican Bishop. Tutu used his learnings from Christianity to spread his message of peace and call for an end to apartheid. Tutu played a strong role in the end of apartheid and offered a platform where the African message could be heard (Biography, 2014). Christianity also played a prevalent role in the expulsion of Apartheid by supporting the Cottesloe Consultation in Australia which protested Apartheid.
Martin Luther King Jr. is another great example of how Christianity may be a driving force behind peace. King was a Baptist priest who fought for the rights of African Americans in the 1950s and 60s. King not only fought for these rights, but he did so in a peaceful manner. Religion was a large driving force behind how King conducted himself. Peaceful protests, marches and powerful speeches were the tools King used to accomplish his mission. Even when King and his followers faced violence from police in Birmingham, Alabama, they never faltered and they never resorted to violence. King used his Christian religion to portray a powerful message to his followers that equality could be achieved through peaceful protests and they would rise above the violence that they faced. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism that was achieved through peace. King accomplished many great things in his life which was ended in 1968 due to assassination (Carson, 1957). It is important to note that King’s message did not die with him, his message was spread and his peaceful protests paved the way for equality to be achieved. Martin Luther King Jr. used his Christianity as a platform in which he could share with his followers the meaning of peace and love, and how they could attribute those teachings towards equality.
Christianity is a religion like so many others that has been intertwined with both violence and peace. Christianity has been the cause of much violence and many have been killed in the name of Christianity. Peace has also been achieved through Christianity. The most famous example of violence in Christianity is The Crusades. Christian leaders have used their religious teaching to help spread a peaceful message and to achieve great tasks. Jesus helped spread the peaceful message of Christianity through his actions, his forgiveness and his thoughts that you should never pass judgment on other individuals. Christianity played a role in the rise of Apartheid through the use of twisted biblical verses that gave Afrikaners an ideology that they were superior to black South Africans. Christianity also played a strong role by supporting the Cottesloe Consultation in Australia and through Desmond Tutu’s Christian message. Martin Luther King Jr. used Christianity as a platform for his peaceful protests against inequality against African Americans. Christianity is a religion that is intertwined with violence and peace.

Sources Cited
Coward, Harold, and Gordon S. Smith. Religion and Peacebuilding. Albany: State U of New York, 2004. Print.
Johnston, D., & Sampson, C. (1994). Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft. New York: Oxford University Press.
(n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from http://www.biography.com/people/desmond-tutu-9512516#synopsis
Armstrong, K. (2001). Holy War The Crusades and Their Impact On Today’s Society. New York: Macmillan.
Carson, C. (1957). Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery story. Boston: Beacon Press.

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Resume

Ryan Kessler
400 The Fenway (661) 714-5770
Boston, MA 02215 kesslerr@emmanuel.edu
EDUCATION
Emmanuel College, Boston, MA Graduate in May 2015
Bachelor of Arts, Business Management
Minor in Organizational Leadership
Cumulative GPA: 3.286
Current member of Dean’s List
Relevant courses taken
Financial Management, Operations Management, Strategic Management, Leadership at Work
Financial and Managerial Accounting, Organizational Behavior, Principles of Marketing
Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Legal Environment of Business, Healthcare Economics
WORK EXPERIENCE
Ameriprise Financial, Wellesley, MA 2015 Spring Semester
Paid intern as a Financial Planning Specialist for Fortune 500 company
Assist financial advisors in preparation for client meetings
Create financial reports via client information
Analysis of client financial portfolios
Research emerging stocks and mutual funds that may benefit clients
Nutraclick, Boston, MA 2014 Fall Semester
Paid internship with sales team
Advise clients of what product will be most effective based off of client needs
Independently resolve customer issues
Sunglass Hut, Valencia, CA 2014 Summer Season
Sales Associate
Sales of high-end fashion sunglasses
Provide customers with a distinctly wonderful experience
Organizations
Emmanuel College, Alumni Association, Boston MA
Senior Ambassador to the California Alumni Association September 2012 –Present
Welcome new students and help organize meetings with current members
Keep in contact with alumni members in California
Emmanuel College, NCAA Division III Men’s Volleyball Team August 2011 – Present
Team Captain
Emmanuel college Business Club September 2011-Present
Regularly attend and actively engage other members
Relevant skills
Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other computer systems

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Internship Final Essay Company Analysis

Ryan Kessler
04/26/2015
Project/Process Report
Internship class
Type, Industry classification and goals
Ameriprise is a wealth management institution that is for-profit. The SIC code for Ameriprise is 6282 (Nasdaq, 2015). Ameriprise’s purpose is to manage, maintain and grow the wealth of our customers. Our goal is to be the most referred financial institution in America as is noted in our commonly referenced quote, “the finest compliment we can receive is a customer referral”.
Purpose and size
Ameriprise manages wealth through advice given to customers, sale of insurance and the investments we make on behalf of the customer. Ameriprise became known by that name in 2006, but has operated under several different names dating backs to the late 19th century. The office I work at for Ameriprise is located Wellesley, Massachusetts, but we have offices all over America. Ameriprise has approximately 10,000 financial advisors throughout the United States (Ameriprise, 2015).
Socioeconomic impact and trends
Socioeconomic factors have a great effect on the business. When people have more money, they will invest more. Investing more is good for the client’s retirement goals and for Ameriprise. When the economy is not doing well, less money gets invested and Ameriprise’s revenue and number of referrals shrinks. Current trends in the company include investing in real estate investment trusts also known as REITs. A large number of people will invest in a mutual fund that involves real estate properties such as office space. These mutual funds known as REITs have become very popular and very profitable.
A bright future
The newest news article I could find was about rising profits by the Wall Street Journal. The article talked about how Ameriprise profits had risen 44% in the fourth quarter from $296 million to $425 million (Stynes, 2015). This article is very good news for Ameriprise and the office I work at, as the article stated that a large portion of this is due to wealth management and financial advisement (Stynes, 2015). The office I work at deals with wealth management and financial advising and I have seen growth in the short amount of time that I have worked there. The office is looking to hire several new paraplanners and advisors.
SWOT (Strengths)
A large company such as Ameriprise financial has many strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ameriprise financials strengths include its strong diversification that it provides for customers. Ameriprise is the largest financial planning service in America and Ameriprise offers different services such as insurance, advisement, investing and annuities. Another strength of Ameriprise is its brand name recognition. Customers feel comfortable with investing their money at Ameriprise because we are a brand name. Ameriprise is a very well recognized company with an excellent reputation. Ameriprise also has a very strong support system for its offices. If any issues arise with one of the franchises, the home office is quick to respond.
SWOT (Weaknesses)
A weakness of Ameriprise is that its stock price should be a lot stronger. The current stock price according to Yahoo Finance is around $127. The stock price has been steadily rising as consumer confidence grows. Another weakness of Ameriprise is that Merill Lynch has a better brand name than Ameriprise. Ameriprise has a strong brand name, but Merill Lynch’s is stronger. This is a significant weakness because it attracts possible clients to Merill Lynch instead of Ameriprise. Advisors working hard will hopefully cause Ameriprise to surpass Merill Lynch in terms of reputation. Every company has weaknesses and Ameriprise works hard to eliminate them.
SWOT (Opportunities)
Opportunities include referrals from satisfied clients. Clients tell their friends when they are satisfied with their advisors. If clients are making good money off of their investments, they tell their friends. Clients also receive financial incentives to refer their friends. A client referral is a strong opportunity to grow your business and portfolio. One referral can lead to another referral and so on. Advisors make more money if they have more clients. Advisors can also sell their clients to other advisors if they wish to do so. The recovery of the stock market has attracted new customers. Confidence in the stock market has been reestablished and a new generation of individuals are looking to invest for their retirement.
SWOT (Threats)
Threats include losing clients to competitors such as Merrill Lynch (Ameriprise, 2015). Many new wealth advisory businesses have opened up as the economy has recovered and these will challenge Ameriprise. Another threat to Ameriprise is advisory businesses that have their own mutual funds. Some clients like the receive advice from companies that have their own funds. Companies such as John Hancock have their own mutual funds that can be invested in. Aging clients is constantly a threat to all advisors. Companies must constantly be recruiting new clients as the next set of clients reaches the age of retirement. Even though Ameriprise faces several threats, the recovering economy has revitalized the company.
Target Markets and Ansoff’s Matrix
The target markets of Ameriprise are individuals with assets or liquid assets that need to plan for retirement or maintain retirement funding. Ameriprise is differentiated compared to competitors due to its large size and diversification of investments. Product positioning offers medium cost to high value. I believe that Ameriprise is in the diversification stage of Ansoff’s Matrix.
Purpose, hierarchy and leadership
The purpose of my office in Wellesley is to offer clients financial advisement and wealth management. The office employees about 20 individuals. The reporting hierarchy is tall of the office. The leadership style of David Allen the owner is participative. Allen cares about your opinion when making decisions, but his word is what goes. The culture of the office if very playful and friendly as long as work is being completed. Safety of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need’s is what motivated the services of Ameriprise. The mission of the office is to grow the funds of client’s while receiving referrals from these clients.

Functional areas
The functional areas that we have at Ameriprise Financial are marketing, advising team and support staff, operations and human resources. All of the departments are essential for the functioning and survival of the company. Marketing reaches out to potential clients and attracts them to the company. They explain the distinct advantages of being an Ameriprise client and why they should join. The marketing team then would have the operations manager set up a meeting between an advisor and the potential client. The advising team and support staff includes the advisors, para-planners and interns. The advisors are the most important aspect of the company because they are what separates us from competitors. We have the best advisors, they are the reason why we are the largest financial advisement company in the United States. The operation staff deals with all daily functions of the company, forms needing to be ordered, printers and technology issues. Human resources is who hires our staff at Ameriprise.
My role
My main role at Ameriprise Financial is to make financial packets that outline the portfolio of the client. This assists the advisors in advising clients and is actually very important in the process. If an intern makes a mistake it could cause the advisor to give the client faulty advice. This could mean actual changes in the accounts of clients. My role as a “Financial Planning Specialist” is to support the functional area of the advisement team. I like to think of the interns as the base in the process. The packets are what the advisors use to build upon and the packets are a small book.

Explanation of process
Many steps go into the building of the financial packet building process. The first thing I do is I go to the advisor’s calendar and find out what client’s are coming in on that day. I select a client and print out all of the information on their account. This will give me figures on how their accounts are doing. I go on to morning star that gives an in-depth analysis on all of the securities that a client has. I export the report and print out all of the information. I then go into the client’s goal tracking report and update the information using the reports I have printed. I run life insurance quotes and disability insurance quotes for the client. I then label each security as either a bond or an equity. I then find out the ratios their assets are. The accounts could be made up of equities, bonds or REITS. I then find the PMT for this year and 3 previous years. The target allocation versus morning star allocation is then assessed. I write out certain information about the client on the packet such as age, name and spouses. I find out the year to date percentage on the accounts. If the client has 529 plans I must call the bank to find out yield information and contributions. The final step is for me to see if I need to make any other notes on the packet for the advisor. I found it really difficult to get the hang of creating the packets. I still have issues with the packets on occasion, so I do my best to ask as many questions as possible.
Other responsibilities
Another responsibility that I occasionally deal with is dealing with checks. A client will send us a check to deposit into a certain account or to invest in a fund. My job is to validate and frank the check. I deposit the check into our system under the correct account and client. I scan the check into our system so we have a back-up record of the check. The para-planner would then take that money and invest it or do whatever the client asks us to do. I find depositing checks into accounts a fun shake up to the day every now and then. Timelines are not necessary for these projects because they are both completed in under an hour.
Tools used
In the process of creating packets I use several different tools. I use the Ameriprise systems client viewer and contact manager. These tools allow me to gather information about the client that is essential in the process of building packets. Every client has a detailed excel profile that must be updated as new information becomes available. The last tool I use is Morningstar. Morningstar gathers the information about the accounts and securities that they own. These are the tools that I use to create packets.
Solo or as a team?
The packets that I complete are mostly by myself, but occasionally I will work with a para-planner or advisor. When building a packet I will ask the advisor if they want anything special researched on the client portfolio. The more detailed your notes are, the more useful it is to the advisor. The packets or mostly a solo project, but sometimes advisors will have special requests on the account.
Recommendations to improve internships
I really feel that I learned a lot from Ameriprise. I had interned at Nutraclick and was disappointed with the experience. I did not learn any new skills at Nutraclick. At Ameriprise I learned an immense amount of information and acquired several new skills. Ameriprise uses corporate videos to initially train its employees. I feel that these videos do a good job of teaching the employee some company history. I think that Ameriprise can do a better job with hands on training. Besides the videos, I was trained by watching another intern work. I think this is a fine way of training someone, but everyone is always so busy that they do not do a good job of explaining themselves. I felt lost for the first month because I was just trying to see how things worked. I feel that I would have caught on faster if Ameriprise employees had been more interactive with me. I recommend that the paraplanners and advisors really spend some time training the interns.
Recommendation for Streamlining project
The project I worked on throughout the year was building packets that outlined the financial portfolio of the client. These packets allow the advisors to understand the financial position of the clients. Each packet that I build takes approximately 1-2 hours depending on the type of accounts that the client has. I feel that the packets could have been streamlined in several different ways. For the packet you have to print out many different pages. I believe that the non-client specific papers should be pre-printed to save time. I also feel that some of the client specific forms could all be printed at once through a computer program. Much of the time spent on the packets is looking through the financial portfolio and printing out different forms. I imagine that a computer program could be written to print all of these pages at once. This would save a significant amount of time and make the office more efficient.
Organizational changes
Ameriprise is a very organized corporation. I do not feel that any organizational changes need to be made. If a franchise had an issue, Ameriprise support staff was one quick call away. I did not feel as if any organizational changes needed to occur. I do believe that at my office better communication needs to occur. Sometimes I saw the owner yell at employees over issues that could have been solved through better communication skills. This would have solved several issues that I saw at the office. That is my one recommendation is to use better communication skills. Too often I saw employees yell at each other and other forms of break downs of communication.
Project impact and benefits
Packets are essential to the function of the office. Without the packets being completed, advisors cannot meet with clients. At the end of the internship I had established myself as one of the best at completing the packets. I believe I have a superior focus and drive for success than some of the other interns. I had a significant impact on the efficiency of the packets. At the end of my internship I was able to complete about 6 of these packets in a day. As our office expands it is essential that these packets are done in a timely manner. Without the completion of packets, the office can not expand and acquire new clients. I think I played a role in helping the office run smoothly and supporting the advisors and para-planners.
Ameriprise benefitted from the packets being complete because it allowed the advisors to be more efficient. The advisors would not have to waste time looking up all of the packet information. Instead the information is a that the finger tips of the advisor. The information is all in one place and allows the advisors to deal with more clients. This brings in extra revenue and profit for the advisor. Interns have an indirect impact on the financial success of the company. I like to think of the work I do with Ameriprise as important groundwork. It can be equated to building the foundation and the para-planners and advisors build the house. Without the foundation, the house will fall.

Sources cited
Stynes, Tess. “Ameriprise Financial Profit Rises 44%.” WSJ. Wall Street Journal, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

“Ameriprise.” Ameriprise.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
“AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. (AMP) Stock Report – NASDAQ.com.” NASDAQ.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.

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Internship report part 2

Ryan Kessler
03/18/2015
Project/Process Report Phase 2
Internship class
The functional areas that we have at Ameriprise Financial are marketing, advising team and support staff, operations and human resources. All of the departments are essential for the functioning and survival of the company. Marketing reaches out to potential clients and attracts them to the company. They explain the distinct advantages of being an Ameriprise client and why they should join. The marketing team then would have the operations manager set up a meeting between an advisor and the potential client. The advising team and support staff includes the advisors, para-planners and interns. The advisors are the most important aspect of the company because they are what separates us from competitors. We have the best advisors, they are the reason why we are the largest financial advisement company in the United States. The operation staff deals with all daily functions of the company, forms needing to be ordered, printers and technology issues. Human resources is who hires our staff at Ameriprise.
My main role at Ameriprise Financial is to make financial packets that outline the portfolio of the client. This assists the advisors in advising clients and is actually very important in the process. If an intern makes a mistake it could cause the advisor to give the client faulty advice. This could mean actual changes in the accounts of clients. My role as a “Financial Planning Specialist” is to support the functional area of the advisement team. I like to think of the interns as the base in the process. The packets are what the advisors use to build upon and the packets are a small book.
Many steps go into the building of the financial packet building process. The first thing I do is I go to the advisor’s calendar and find out what client’s are coming in on that day. I select a client and print out all of the information on their account. This will give me figures on how their accounts are doing. I go on to morning star that gives an in-depth analysis on all of the securities that a client has. I export the report and print out all of the information. I then go into the client’s goal tracking report and update the information using the reports I have printed. I run life insurance quotes and disability insurance quotes for the client. I then label each security as either a bond or an equity. I then find out the ratios their assets are. The accounts could be made up of equities, bonds or REITS. I then find the PMT for this year and 3 previous years. The target allocation versus morning star allocation is then assessed. I write out certain information about the client on the packet such as age, name and spouses. I find out the year to date percentage on the accounts. If the client has 529 plans I must call the bank to find out yield information and contributions. The final step is for me to see if I need to make any other notes on the packet for the advisor. I found it really difficult to get the hang of creating the packets. I still have issues with the packets on occasion, so I do my best to ask as many questions as possible.
Another responsibility that I occasionally deal with is dealing with checks. A client will send us a check to deposit into a certain account or to invest in a fund. My job is to validate and frank the check. I deposit the check into our system under the correct account and client. I scan the check into our system so we have a back-up record of the check. The para-planner would then take that money and invest it or do whatever the client asks us to do. I find depositing checks into accounts a fun shake up to the day every now and then. Timelines are not necessary for these projects because they are both completed in under an hour.
In the process of creating packets I use several different tools. I use the Ameriprise systems client viewer and contact manager. These tools allow me to gather information about the client that is essential in the process of building packets. Every client has a detailed excel profile that must be updated as new information becomes available. The last tool I use is Morningstar. Morningstar gathers the information about the accounts and securities that they own. These are the tools that I use to create packets.
The packets that I complete are mostly by myself, but occasionally I will work with a para-planner or advisor. When building a packet I will ask the advisor if they want anything special researched on the client portfolio. The more detailed your notes are, the more useful it is to the advisor. The packets or mostly a solo project, but sometimes advisors will have special requests on the account.

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Interview 2

Ryan Kessler
March 18, 2015
Internship class
2nd interview
Over Spring Break, I visited my uncle in Orange County, California to interview him. My uncle, Jeff Kessler is a senior vice president with City National Bank. I wanted to interview my uncle because I have the utmost respect for him. My uncle is one of the hardest workers I know along with my father. I also wanted to know what exactly he did and how he got to the position he is in. I also was curious about compensation as I know that he is near retirement and is making more money than he ever has before.

R: What do you do exactly?
J: Companies will come to City National Bank wanting a loan and I analyze the deals. I determine what percent interest makes sense for us and the company. I analyze the ability of the company to pay back these loans. We are dealing with multi-million dollar loans so no decision is taken lightly.
R: How long have you been with the company?
J: I have been with City National Bank for a total of 25 years in a variety of different positions.
R: What advice would you give to a recent college graduate?
J: You should work under the smartest person that you can. Those are the people that you will learn from and can use those skills in the future. I worked under some really smart people and tried to learn as much as possible from each one of my bosses.
R: How long did you stay at each position?
J: I recommend that you stay at each job until you can no longer learn anything new from the job or you boss. I cannot stress how important it is to do that and advantageous it was for my career
R: Who was the most influential person in your career?
J: A man named Ben who was important in helping to turn the bank around. Ben was one of the smartest people I have ever met. Ben sat through a meeting completely quite and the bank was about to accept the deal. In front of the CEO, Ben tore up the deal and explained why the bank would not be doing the deal. The man was a complete genius and I knew I wanted to work for him and learn as much as I could.
R: What was the biggest lesson you learned when you were new in the company?
J: I learned that you have to always be calm with people. I have seen very important people with the bank be fired by human resources because they lost their temper and yelled at an employee. You must always treat people with respect and never raise your voice. You must never make a decision out of anger either. A great creditor quit in anger after he was told he was not a good employee by human resources. The creditor knew he was great, but he made a rash decision because he was not liked by a human resources executive. The decision cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock options.
R: I know that in your field you do not get a pension, how have you planned for retirement?
J: I recommend that you start investing in your 401k as young as possible. That money will gain more dividends than if you invest later in your life. Companies will also usually match a percentage of your 401k contributions, which is kind of like free money. I also do not spend a dime of my bonus, it immediately goes towards retirement. I also recommend that if your company has stock options you take advantage of them. Stock options have proven extremely valuable for me.
R: How did you get your promotions?
J: I actually never applied for any of them. I worked hard and proved myself to my bosses and my peers. I was always offered promotions by people who wanted me to work for them from a different department of the bank or someone who had seen me work. You truly have to invest in your career and be willing to hard to prove yourself to the company.
R: That is all the questions I have today for you. I truly appreciate the time and cannot thank you enough.
J: No problem, I hope that I provided you with some information that will prove useful in your future.

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Journal 2

Ryan Kessler
Internship homework
Journal #2
March 18, 2015
On my midterm review, my supervisor wrote that I was progressing very well in every area. Yvonne Franklin, my supervisor wrote that I often like to learn new tasks and am doing very well. I was rated as “above average” in every category of the review. I asked my supervisor if she would like to discuss the review with me. Franklin responded by saying “No, you are doing well. Nothing to discuss.” I felt good when I heard that. It is always very positive to receive validation from your supervisor.
My learning outcomes have been in several areas. The first learning outcome I have received is I have become much more comfortable on the phone. Often, I will have to call someone from a bank to get information on one of our clients accounts or to call Colombia Learning Center to ask for a snapshot of a fund. I was at first very uncomfortable doing this, but now I do it with ease. My second learning outcome has been my development with the packets. The main task in the internship is to create packets that assist the advisor in gathering information to best advise the client. I have developed nicely in this area as these packets are rather complicated. I used to struggle with the packets, but I am starting to get the hang of it. I have also become more flexible. I will be doing a task at work when a supervisor will need me to complete a task for them first. It is important to be flexible in a work environment and always be ready for curve balls. I feel like I have learned a lot in those three areas.
My goals for the rest of my internship are mainly to continue my development in packet creation. Packets are what interns create to assist advisors in advising their clients. Advisors look through the packets and see different ratios and reports and see how to best advise the client. I still have a lot to learn about building packets. I am sometimes frustrated because I have to ask so many questions to others. All of the other interns have been there since at least the beginning of the year, so I find myself knowing much less than all of them. It is frustrating, but I continue to develop and get better. My goal is to get a better feel for the packets and the overall internship. I can not believe it will be over in less than two months. I still have so much I can learn from them.

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Book Report

Ryan Kessler
Internship report
April 1, 2015

1. The book I read is called “Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right”. The book is written by Joseph Badaracco Jr. The book is broken up into nine different sections that tells you a story in each section. In the story, a manager is always faced with a very difficult decision. The decision is always difficult because it does not seem that any of the options are wrong. Managers are put in uncomfortable positions as they are forced to make difficult decisions. Morals, ethics and loyalties are tested in each of the stories. The target audience is college students and individuals who are the work force. The purpose of the book is to show individuals that the correct answer is not always so clear cut and that sometimes you will have to make a decision where not everyone wins. “Defining Moments” focuses on how each character in their book has their identity shaped, their morality tests and shapes their character. The book is made up of many different stories, I will summarize a few of them.
“Dirty Hands”, the story of Rebecca Dennet the manager of a branch of a major bank. Dennet is told by her superiors that a large amount of her employees are going to be laid off. The superiors tell Dennet that the information must remain confidential while paperwork and final procedures are being completed. Dennet understands and agrees to the terms laid out by her superiors. Dennet is faced in a tough situation when a worried employee asks her about their job security. Dennet is faced with a dirty hands decision because she does not want to lie to her employee, but if she tells the employee the truth she could jeopardize her career. The issue is complicated and troubling as it is not an intellectual issue.
Steve Lewis is a wall street analyst that is on the way up. Lewis is a young analyst with a very bright and promising future. Lewis’ company invites him to a very important conference in St. Louis, not because they want him to contribute but because of his skin color. Lewis was confused why he was invited to the conference as analysts are not invited to conferences until his coworker explains that he was invited because he is black. Being used as a token to achieve success is not an idea that sounded appeasing to Lewis. Lewis weighs the decision deeply in his mind. Lewis thinks about how he wants the be a partner at an investment banking firm, but also what is important to him. Lewis reflects on how his parents raised him. A time when Lewis’ parents made a reservation at a restaurant that would not seat African Americans stuck out in his mind. The restaurant said that the reservation was lost even though the restaurant was mostly empty. Lewis’ parents went home and made a reservation under his maiden name and came an hour later to the restaurant to finally be seated and dine at the restaurant. Lewis wanted to be a successful investment banker, but not at the consequence of sacrificing his morals. Lewis decided that he would not attend the convention because he was not invited as an intellectual or for his insight, but as a visual. The morals that Lewis believed in were tested and proved to be the way in which he would live his life.
Peter Adario is a manager that is faced with a very difficult decision. A single mother puts in about 60 hours a week for the company. The employees work quality has slipped up as she has had to call out of work several times to accommodate family obligations. The employee is doing her best, but she is also failing to complete her obligations to the company. The employee is also getting into arguments with her direct superior. The superior decides that she would like to fire the employee. Adario believes that a solution can be worked out. Adario sets up a meeting, that he believes to be very informative. Adario feels good about the meeting, feeling that all of the issues have been worked out and he has done a good job as a manager. Adario is very confused and frustrated to learn that another supervisor has fired the employee. Adario feels that all of his hard work is all for not.
2. Two of the stories really stood out to me. Stevens is a butler who is at the pinnacle of his career. The butler feels he is so close to greatness, but needs a defining moment to separate himself from other butlers. Stevens is the butler to Lord Darlington who is presiding over a very important conference. Darlington is dealing with very important negotiations about lessening sanctions against Germany post the Great War. Stevens feels that everything must go perfectly for the conference to be successful. Stevens learns during the meeting that his father has passed away upstairs. Stevens decides to stay on the floor as a butler and not go to “close his father’s eyes”. I thought that Stevens made a really tough decision that he thought was best for his career. Stevens was also comforted by the fact that he believed his father would have wanted him to stay on the floor. I thought it was a really difficult situation and Stevens persevered. It would have been easy for him to crumble, but instead he shined.
The second story that really stood out to me was the difficult decision by the CEO of tylenol to pull all of their product off of the shelf. Someone had been slipping poison into tylenol and had killed several people. The decision cost the company millions of dollars, but was the right thing to do. The decision possibly saved lives and preserved the reputation of the company. The decision helped the long term success of the company. It was certainly difficult from a short term financial aspect to recall all of the product, but it proved that tylenol cared about their customers. Tylenol proved that they have strong morals. I respect this decision by the CEO because it was certainly met with some internal questioning, but the CEO cared about the long term success of the company.
3. I think that Defining Moments will be most useful the young professionals. I think that young professionals will find this book most useful because it will help them understand some of the difficult decisions that their manager is forced to make. The young professional could learn about a lot of the moral lessons that are offered in the stories and how identity is revealed, tested and shaped. A young professional can also be become better prepared for when they become a manager by reading Defining Moments.
4. Defining Moments received information from interviews with the individuals that the stories are about and literature documenting these stories. Badarocco had to search to gather stories that embodied defining moments. Badaracco then interviewed these individuals and researched collaborating literature.
5. A major focus of the story is revealing, testing and shaping. One suggestion I could make for Badarocco to make during a revision of “Defining Moments” is to include a couple stories that better embody all three for one individual. Badarocco had stories that related to all three, but I would like to see a story that had all three. I would like to see a story that has a separate event that reveals, tests and shapes an individual. I would like to see three different events for one individual and how those events impacted their career.
6. I think the most impactful decision in Defining Moments is Steve Lewis deciding not to attend the St. Louis convention. Lewis’ financial company wanted to use him as a token black man. Lewis wanted to become a successful banking partner and going to the meeting would be good for his career. I think Lewis’ decision to not go to the meeting is the most impactful in the book. It gives the lesson to not lose yourself trying to make it to the top. Lewis could have gone to the meeting, helping his career, but he would have had to sacrifice his morals. Every young professional wants to make it to the top, but it is important to remember that you have value. Lewis realized that his value relied in his financial skills, not the color of his skin. Lewis knew that he would make it without just being used to show that the company had blacks on staff.
7. I really enjoyed Defining Moments and would rate it is an A-. I think it is full of stories and lessons that people can relate to. I thought that the book being separated into chapters that each had a story was great in keeping thoughts and stories organized. I thought that the stories were all convincing and relatable. I am sure that I will face a very tough decision in my career, Defining Moments has given me an idea of how I want to approach that situation. I want to be true to the values that I believe to hold dear. Defining Moments is very readable because all of the stories are really interesting and have a very strong message.

Sources Cited
Badaracco, Joseph L., Jr. Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose between Right and Right. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1997.

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